UN says children in Sudan will no longer be sentenced to death
(Khartoum) - The United Nations says the Government of National Unity has announced that children will no longer be sentenced to death.
Addressing a press conference in Khartoum on Sunday at the end of her visit to Sudan, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Madam Radhika Coomaraswamy, said she was assured by the GONU Ministry of Justice that children in Sudan will not be executed for crimes which carry the death penalty.
[Radhika Coomaraswamy]: “We were also concerned about the protection of children in the recent inter-tribal conflicts in the south and also issues related to capital punishment and the death penalty for children. Finally, we got a commitment today from the Ministry of Justice that there will be no execution of children. I am announcing it because he made it very clear and if we can prove that these were children, especially in the Justice and Equality Movement, there will be no executions. With regard to inter-tribal conflict you know that 370 children have been abducted over the last few months. We were told this is a practice associated with cattle raiding and because of the presence of small arms there has been terrible bloodshed."
Madam Coomaraswamy said the GONU Justice Minister, Abdul–Basit Sabdarat Saleh told her that the six child soldiers who were arrested during the Justice and Equality Movement’s attack on Omdurman on 10th May last year and who are currently on death row, will not be executed.
[Radhika Coomaraswamy]: “We have six I think who were from JEM on death row. Now the issue is that the government claims that the military tribunal has found that four of them were not children but the assessment of the international agencies is that they are children, so there is this issue. But I was assured today by the Minister of Justice that they will not be executed. So I hope that will be true, we hope that this commitment will be kept. Secondly, with regard to the recruitment policy of the Sudan Armed Forces, there is no active recruitment from the top level, but there are child soldiers in the region, especially in Darfur. We have some data showing that there are children that have not been recruited but have been present in the camps in Darfur. That is why we are having a dialogue with them, with a possibility of drawing up an action plan as well. With regards to JEM, we have information that they are recruiting. In fact, we have data that everyone is continuing to recruit but not as much as they were doing at the time of the war.”
Madam Coomaraswamy said there are still large numbers of children fighting with armed groups in Sudan, saying that she had received statements indicating that these groups recruited child soldiers between September 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009.
Labels: Child soldiers