UNICEF contributes towards the protection of children from all forms of abuse, violence, exploitation and discrimination. By the year 2012, UNICEF in Sudan aims to have supported the establishment of wide-ranging policies and community-based services for children in conflict with the law, victims of violence, abuse and exploitation, children suffering discrimination and those without parental care.
Special focus is made on ensuring access to justice for children (including victims, offenders and witnesses), assistance to children associated with armed forces and groups, support for children without primary care-givers, the ending of harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and early marriage, and the expansion of birth registration.
UNICEF also works with partners to develop new initiatives that better protect children's rights and welfare - including Child and Family Protection Units within the Sudanese police that provide quality health, psychosocial and legal services to women and children affected by crime and abuse, and the establishment of alternative family care programmes that reduce dependance upon institutional care for children deprived of parental support.
Children affected by armed conflict
Children associated with armed forces and groups are being supported through demobilization and reintegration programmes across Sudan. This work also includes the training of armed forces on child protection issues to reduce the risk of new or repeated recruitment of children.
UNICEF also supports mine risk education programmes, focusing particularly on internally displaced persons, returnees and children, often linked to the mainstream education system.
Policy, systems and capacity development
Much of UNICEF's activity focuses around ensuring that laws, policies and procedures are "child friendly" and in line with international standards. This includes support for review of legislation and assistance with drafting and finalisation of key laws such as the Armed Forces Act inSudan (which criminalises the recruitment of children into the armed forces).
UNICEF has launched a major communication campaign in the north of Sudan to raise awareness and understanding of issues including abandonment of babies, sexual and gender-based violence, children in contact with the law, female genital mutilation and cutting, child recruitment into armed forces and groups, and mine risk education.