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Rebel groups commit to protect children in Darfur

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May 28, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - Darfur main rebel groups Thursday agreed on the need to exert more efforts to protect children in the conflict-affected areas and to adhere to the existing international standards.

In this photo extended to Sudan Tribune, JEM’s Gibril Ibraim, SLM Abel Wahid al-Nur and SLM Minni Minnawi pose for a picture at the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution in Stadtschlaining, Austria, 27.28 of May 2015

Leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Sudan Liberation Movement - Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM/AW) and Sudan Liberation Movement - Minni Minnawi (SLM/MM) made their commitment in at the end of a consultations meeting held in Stadtschlaining, Austria, on 27-28 May.

As parties to the conflict, we acknowledge that "we also bear responsibility for the protection of children in Darfur/Sudan. We, therefore, pledge to continue to make every effort necessary to prevent members of our Movements from perpetrating any grave violations against children".

"We hereby renew our commitment to adhere to the applicable international legal standards and norms including Security Council resolutions on children and armed conflict".

The meeting was attended by the leaders of the three rebel groups Gibril Ibrahim for JEM, Abdel Wahid al-Nur and Minni Minnawi for the SLM groups.

It was organised by the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) in coordination with the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC).

The joint statement stressed that protecting children is an individual and collective responsibility and should be part of an early engagement and not await a formal comprehensive peace agreement by all parties to the conflict".

The rebel groups also expressed readiness to engage in follow up consultations until a comprehensive peace agreement is reached.

The parties are prepared to remain actively engaged in follow-up consultations including with the participation of other actors until a comprehensive peace agreement is realized

In July 2010, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) signed a child protection agreement, which includes ending the recruitment of child soldiers in Darfur, with the Justice and Equality Movement.

(ST)

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