10th of March 2011 – Japan contributes over US$3 million for protection of children in Sudan
Khartoum – The Government of Japan has made a generous contribution of USD 3.1 million to address issues relating to protection of children in Sudan. The grant will address three major areas of concern where the protection of children is at stake: association of children with armed forces and groups, the risk of landmines and unexploded ordnances and violence including gender based violence.
In Sudan, children continue to be associated with armed groups and armed forces. Since the beginning of the child DDR program, more than 4000 children have been demobilized and registered in cooperation with the DDR Commissions in the North and South. Some of these children, together with other vulnerable children affected by conflicts are currently enrolled in reintegration program while others are awaiting enrollment or in need of additional support.
Children continue to be seriously affected by the impact of landmines and unexploded ordnances. In 2010, at least 21 children were killed and 65 injured – some of them seriously – as a result of being victim to landmines and unexploded ordnances. Moreover, thousands of children remain unable to move and play freely in their villages or pursue their normal activities as children.
Sudanese children also suffer from multiple protection risks including violence, sexual abuse, child abuse as well as the psychosocial effects of the conflict. Many children as well as their parents and communities lack the awareness of different forms of protecting children from abuse, which makes them vulnerable.
With the help of the Japanese grant, UNICEF, together with its government counterparts, will address these issues over the coming year.
The contribution will be used to provide psychosocial support and reintegration services to over 1,000 children who have been separated from their families due to conflicts or emergencies. Through the mainstreaming of psychosocial approach in schools, over 160,000 children living in conflict affected areas will benefit across Sudan. Through an inclusive community based approach, UNICEF aims at ensuring that those children are linked with appropriate services, provided with assistance to recover from the psychosocial impact of war, are assisted to reintegrate into their families and communities and that awareness on protection issues, including on prevention of recruitment, is raised in their communities.
“Children have the right to the care and protection of a family. But due to war and other emergencies many children are separated from their families and communities and face serious risks to their lives and wellbeing. They must be reunified with their families and supported in order to regain their lost childhood. They must also be protected from all forms of violence including gender based violence. The contribution from Japan will be instrumental in strengthening the work of UNICEF and its partners across all these areas of child protection.” said Nils Kastberg, UNICEF Representative to Sudan.
The Japanese government’s contribution to enhance the protection of children Sudan also includes Mine Risk Education, affirming Japan’s continued commitment to support the people of Sudan to recover from the effects of armed conflicts. With this contribution, UNICEF will raise awareness of the risk of landmines and unexploded ordnances to over 120,000 people through the dissemination of communication material, training of teachers in mine risk education and directly reaching communities with educational messages.
“With UNICEF, Japan has supported Sudan’s National Immunization Program for the past 10 years, and I am glad to note that cooperation among UNICEF, Government of the Sudan, JICA and other partners, has been expanding to other important areas. This project highlights varieties of collaboration, such as DDR program, vocational training with JICA, and mine risk activities with AAR JAPAN, to name a few,” said Japanese Ambassador Akinori Wada at the signing ceremony.