Upper Nile holds workshop to remove children from army

17 Oct 2013

Upper Nile holds workshop to remove children from army

17 October 2013 - A Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Commander in Pinyikango County, Upper Nile State, today pledged to sign punitive order documents that there would be no more children used under his area of command.

Brig. Gen. Michael Wal was speaking at the end of a five-day workshop held at the brigade’s headquarters in Dolleb Hill Payam (district), as part of continuing efforts to enforce a zero tolerance policy for children in the national army’s ranks.

The workshop, conducted by child protection units from the army and UNMISS, was one of a series of like events across the country to help implement an order signed by SPLA Chief of General Staff James Hoth Mai on 14 August.

The order prohibited recruiting or using children in the army for any purpose and from occupying schools or using their property under any circumstances. Any SPLA member found in violation of the order would face punitive action, the order said.

Participants discussed how the SPLA came to be on the UN Secretary-General’s “List of Shame”, which names all armed groups and forces who recruit and use children, kill and maim, commit sexual violence or attack schools and hospitals in conflict zones. They also talked about what SPLA could do to be removed from the list.

“This time (series of workshops) we should target (sensitize) the barracks outside the headquarters of Division One for the sake of eliminating child soldiers,” said UNMISS Child Protection Officer Timothy Tut.

The workshop also covered topics like the Revised Action Plan signed between the government and UN in March 2012, SPLA rules of engagement and the SPLA code of conduct for child protection.

“There are a lot of things that I have benefited from which I did not know,” said Captain Daginy Dong Kur, a participant. “… I received (a lot of) information that I can give to others in areas where UNMISS (and the army) have not reached.”