The accord, signed by UNICEF Representative Stephen Adkisson and Chad’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Djidda Moussa Outman, follows on Chad’s commitment at the Paris Protocols, agreed on 6 February 2006, to demobilize children enrolled in armed forces and groups.
Today’s agreement is a significant step in the implementation of the Paris Protocols.
“UNICEF places the utmost importance on the protection of children, especially those affected by conflict,” Adkisson said.
He said that UNICEF’s support in the demobilization and reintegration of children will be carried out on two levels.
UNICEF will help the government prevent the recruitment of children into armed forces and ensure their liberation and reintegration.
It will assist the government with a national programme to release children from armed groups, offer them support and then, reintegrate them into their communities. The programme will also benefit Sudanese children who can be returned to their country of origin.
Chad’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs reiterated his country’s commitment to the Paris Protocols and said his government will work with partners, including UNICEF, to help children formerly involved in armed conflicts, reintegrate into society.
Some 300 child soldiers were identified less than a week ago in the region of Guera.
According to informed sources, the rebel group, Forces Unies pour le Changment, which recently signed a peace agreement with the government, has more than 1,000 child soldiers in its ranks. Negotiations are under way for their demobilization and their return to civilian life and in their families.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For further information, please contact:
Cifora Monier, UNICEF Chad, +(235) 6294150, firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF NY, 212 326 – 7426, email@example.com