Child protection

Child protection

 

Child protection

UNICEF is the lead humanitarian agency for Child Protection in Sudan. We use our voice and our influence to create a better legal and policy environment for children. This includes ensuring there are adequate, reliable and consistent data of the scale and nature of violence against children, and that such evidence regularly reaches policy and decision makers.

To care for abandoned children and place them with alternative permanent families, UNICEF worked with the Government of Sudan to implement Kafala, a system of foster parenting. UNICEF support resulted in securing homes for more than 3,000 abandoned children. Additional assistance is now in place in Khartoum State, providing services for pregnant and single mothers who otherwise might abandon their babies due to stigma, or risk an honour killing.

UNICEF-Sudan worked on legislation reforms including the Child Act and the Sudanese Armed Forces Law. With support from UNICEF, the Sudan Armed Forces established a Child Rights Unit to educate military personnel on the country’s child protection laws. Also with UNICEF support, the National Council for Child Welfare launched the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action.

We also engage with armed forces and groups for the release of children, and then work with individuals and communities on the child’s reintegration. The Government of Sudan is the last country yet to sign an Action Plan with the United Nations to end recruitment of children into armed forces; UNICEF-Sudan is facilitating negotiation of the plan. Technical committees formed by the Government— representing key ministries, including Ministry of Defense — finalized the action plan. It is awaiting formal signing between the Government and the United Nations.

Systems and Norms to Protect Children

UNICEF supports Community Based Child Protection Networks, a connection of chiefs, community leaders, youth and female representatives who work so that boys and girls receive protection. Communities come together and identify who will be responsible for reporting child violations in a confidential process, and liaise with health and social workers, schools and justice professionals to protect children. Their work can vary, from information-gathering and education to medical referrals and arranging legal advice. School-age street children are the most common issue handled by the networks.

Criminal issues are the domain of the local Family and Child Protection Units, a programme to find community-based solutions to crimes involving children. In a recent year, these units provided services to nearly 17,000 victims, witnesses and offenders of violence and child abuse; most cases involved sexual and gender–based violence. Recently, child victims of trafficking are also supported within these units, especially as Sudan is a country of origin, transit and destination.

We also are active in family tracing, reunifying children with their families. Children are separated from their families when fleeing from conflict, or even when adjusting to life in overcrowded camps that can be home to tens of thousands of fellow Sudanese and refugees. As part of our efforts, UNICEF-Sudan established a national family tracing database. Last year more than 2,000 children were reunified with their families.

 

UNICEF Sudan Child Protection programme

 

 
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