On 2 May 2017, the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict was briefed via video-teleconference by the Co-Chairs of the Sudan Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting on the situation of children and armed conflict in the Sudan. The newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, also attended the meeting.
The Task Force welcomed the opportunity to directly brief the Working Group and provided an update on the latest developments with regard to the protection of children affected by armed conflict in the Sudan. The Task Force acknowledged the progress made with regard to the protection of children while stressing that violations continue to be committed, including killing and maiming and rape and other forms of sexual violence against children in Darfur, while progress has been observed on the issue of child recruitment and use. The Task Force noted a decrease in violations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States while underscoring they did not have access to Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)-North-controlled areas.
The Task Force noted recent progress in gaining humanitarian access to children in conflict-affected areas in Darfur while it continued to be challenged in accessing areas held by SPLM-North and Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW). The Task Force emphasized the importance of humanitarian access in areas held by SPLM-North, SLA/AW and in areas adjacent to areas held by SPLM‑North, particularly in efforts to protect children affected by armed conflict. The Task Force also shared information about progress in the implementation of the action plan for the protection of children from violations to end and prevent child recruitment and use by the security forces of the Government of the Sudan since its signature in March 2016, as well as about developments concerning the signing and implementation of action plans with armed groups in Sudan. The Co-Chairs informed the Working Group about their engagement with the Government of the Sudan and armed groups concerning the protection of children affected by the conflict in the Sudan.
During the discussion that ensued, members of the Working Group expressed their appreciation for the work of the Task Force. They welcomed the steps taken by the Government of the Sudan to strengthen the protection of children affected by armed conflict, in particular through the signing of the action plan in March 2016, and encouraged the Government to continue these efforts and expedite the implementation of the plan. The members of the Working Group also acknowledged progress in the dialogue with armed groups active in the Sudan, including the signing of action plans and other commitments concerning the protection of children impacted by armed conflict.