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UNICEF signs agreement with Sudanese government and partners to work together to protect children in Sudan

KHARTOUM, 23 December 2008 - UNICEF welcomes the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW) and UNICEF on 22 December as an important commitment to strengthen the effective protection of children in Sudan.

The Memorandum builds on the significant achievements of 2008, which include the endorsement and adoption of the new Sudan People’s Armed Forces Act that sets the minimum age of recruitment into the armed forces in Sudan as 18 year years of age and stipulates the contribution of the Armed Forces and NCCW with UNICEF’s assistance in supporting the realization of the rights and enhancing the protection of children in Sudan.

This is considered a remarkable step forward and a significant commitment in implementation of the International and Regional Treaties and Conventions in Sudan related to children.

The Memorandum is the outcome of an initial and successful cooperation between UNICEF, NCCW and SAF which began in early 2008 with the training of 180 SAF officers in the Darfur states and in Khartoum State. 

“Sudan is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as other international and national instruments that are designed to protect women and children. However, the signing of this Memorandum increases the potential for implementation, and thus strengthens protection of children and prevention from recruitment into armed forces,” said Ted Chaiban, outgoing UNICEF Representative. “UNICEF therefore warmly welcomes this important development and congratulates the government of Sudan for its efforts on behalf of children.”

Within the framework of the Memorandum, collaboration will be extended to the establishment and strengthening of a Child Rights Unit within Sudan Armed Forces with the specific mandate to enforce the new Sudan People’s Armed Forces Act of 2007 and to ensure the implementation of all its articles related to children. The Unit will be responsible for developing the capacity of SAF members and to raise awareness through training of members of the SAF on child rights and child protection to implement national and international legislation ratified by Sudan. Both NCCW and UNICEF will provide technical support for the newly established Child Protection Unit within SAF and the development of a curriculum for training on child rights and protection in line with the Armed Forces Act. UNICEF will also support the Unit with more specialized training as well as financial support to ensure the realization of the Units and its crucial mandate to enhance the protection of children.

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:
Suhair Abdel-Sayed, UNICEF Sudan, Telephone: +249-83-471835-7 (Ext. 609), E-mail: sabdelsayed@unicef.org




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