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A United Nations expert issues warning about the recruitment of children by armed forces in Sudan.
Africa World News

A United Nations expert issues warning about the recruitment of children by armed forces in Sudan.

According to Siobhán Mullally, the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia have allegedly been targeting unaccompanied children and children from impoverished families in the outskirts of Khartoum and other areas.

She cautioned that women and children in particular have been forcefully recruited.

According to reports, girls have been taken from Khartoum to Darfur against their will for the purpose of sexual exploitation, including being forced into sexual slavery.

As of now, approximately 9,000 individuals have lost their lives and over 5.6 million have been displaced due to the ongoing conflict between military government forces and the RSF. Additionally, 25 million people are currently dependent on humanitarian assistance.

Children ‘easy targets’

Ms. Mullally expressed concern over the worsening humanitarian conditions and limited availability of food and essential services, which make children, particularly those without adult supervision and those living on the streets, vulnerable to being recruited by armed groups.

The expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council emphasized that enlisting children in armed groups for any type of exploitation, such as combat roles, is a severe infringement of human rights, a grave offense, and a breach of international humanitarian law.

Regarding concerns that children may be resorting to joining armed groups in order to survive, Ms. Mullally stressed that the age of a child, defined as any individual under 18 years old, is not a relevant factor in determining consent. Additionally, it is not required to demonstrate the use of force in these situations.

Urgent action needed

She expressed worry about the children’s lack of access to humanitarian aid.

She urged all involved parties in the conflict to resume peace negotiations and come to a thorough ceasefire understanding that would permit the secure distribution of aid and guarantee accountability for reported violations.

Ms. Mullally emphasized the need for prompt action to address critical issues and implement measures to stop child trafficking. She also stressed the importance of providing adequate protection to child victims and children in vulnerable situations, such as displaced, unaccompanied, and separated children, refugee children, and children with disabilities.

Independent experts

The UN Human Rights Council selects Special Rapporteurs who are a part of its Special Procedures. These experts are responsible for monitoring and providing reports on particular themes or situations in countries.

They work in their own role, are not employed by the UN, and do not get paid.

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