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Sudan signs UN action plan protecting children from military recruitment

[JURIST] Sudan's State Minister of Social Welfare [official website, in Arabic] on Sunday signed [UN press release] a United Nations (UN) [official website] action plan that will establish new measures to protect children from armed conflict. Under the new agreement, Sudan's national security forces will put an end to child recruitment and release all children currently withheld. The Sudanese government has promised to cooperate with the UN and appoint members to ensure the proper implementation of the action plan. Furthermore, the minister has stated his commitment to strengthening principles of the Child Act of 2010 [text, PDF] and the Sudan Armed Forces Act of 2007 [text, PDF]. With the new action plan, Sudan became the seventh country to join a worldwide campaign to end child recruitment for national security purposes.

Children have been at-risk groups in various conflicts worldwide. Earlier this month, the Myanmar government released 46 underage and child recruits from the military [JURIST report] as part of a UN joint action plan made in 2012. In February UN envoy Leila Zerrougui reported [JURIST report] that children worldwide continued to face human rights violations in 2015, particularly in Middle Eastern and African countries. Also in February, Human Rights Watch declared [JURIST report] that hostiles in eastern Ukraine had damaged or destroyed hundreds of schools, many of which were being used for military purposes. Furthermore, UN human rights experts in Nigeria urged [JURIST report] the government to guarantee the safety of areas liberated from Boko Haram. Also earlier this month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, expressed [JURIST report] "utmost alarm" at the worsening situation in Syria and said that parties were "constantly sinking to new depths" attacking women, children, the sick and the elderly. In August, the UN reported [JURIST report] that the number of women and children being hurt or killed in Afghanistan's war against the Taliban have risen by 23 and 13 percent, respectively.

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