News and Views on Africa from Africa
Last update: 1 July 2022 h. 10:44
Subscribe to our RSS feed
RSS logo

Latest news

18 October 2004 - Shalom House

14 October 2004 – The Security Council is considering holding a meeting next month in Kenya, where peace talks to resolve the long-running civil conflict in southern Sudan are taking place, to stimulate the two parties towards striking a final peace agreement.

Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry of the United Kingdom, which holds the rotating presidency this month, told reporters today that Council members have discussed the possibility of travelling to Nairobi between 17 and 19 November.
He said United States Ambassador John Danforth had proposed the Kenyan visit to act as "a catalyst" for progress at the peace talks between the Sudanese Government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).
More than 2 million people have been killed in southern Sudan since the conflict began in 1983, while a separate conflict engulfing the Darfur region of western Sudan has claimed thousands of lives since last year and displaced at least 1.65 million people.

Mr. Jones Parry said that while many of the details of a trip to Nairobi had not yet been worked out, the Council's 15 Members "were very open to the idea."
"It should underline the potential support of the international community for what is happening in Sudan positively, and what would be available if Sudan could sort out the different peace processes and move forward," he said.
Mr. Jones Parry stressed that a visit was unlikely if any of the parties tried to use it "as an excuse not to make progress. Quite the opposite - a visit would be predicated on the assumption that there would have been progress."

UN spokesperson Denise Cook said today that the future financing of security forces in southern Sudan is the only remaining issue separating Khartoum and the rebels in the permanent ceasefire talks in Kenya.
Sudanese First Vice-President Ali Othman Taha and SPLM/A Chairman John Garang are participating in the talks on a permanent ceasefire.
Ms. Cook said the question of financing the SPLM/A forces was the only pending issue between Khartoum and the rebels, whose negotiations are being mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a grouping of countries of the region.

The UN's Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs in Sudan, Taye Zerihoun, also urged the two sides to expedite their negotiations so they can strike a comprehensive peace agreement as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has begun a programme with two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to promote the rule of law in the strife-torn Darfur region of western Sudan.

During the past week the project - which aims to encourage greater dialogue on the rights of women and to use traditional methods of conflict-resolution - has encompassed almost 300 police officers, private and government lawyers, local sheiks and civil society members.

Reintegration of child soldiers in Sudan: the challenges
News item 05 October 2004
Peter was 9 when he joined the army. He fled after seeing his mother and father killed, and his brother and sisters abducted.
Martin Dawes: DSC00288/SUDAN
About 20,000 children have been demobilised from the ranks of southern Sudanese rebel forces since 2001, according to UNICEF. An article published this week in the journal "Forced Migration Review" (Oxford University, UK) summarises a major evaluation of child demobilisation in Sudan commissioned by UNICEF.

According to the report, although complex and problematic, many of the demobilisations in southern Sudan were "relatively straightforward". Future child demobilisation, especially from government or government-allied forces in the event of a north-south peace agreement, will present new and "enormous" challenges. Rough estimates suggest there may be several thousand combatant children remaining with various armed forces in the country. Many of them are thought to be southerners who have been involved with government or associated forces in the 21-year civil war.

Local leaders in southern Sudan interviewed in the study say they do not expect problems absorbing these new children. "They are all our children... it isn't their fault they have been fighting for the enemy... they were abducted... they had to eat." However, on further reflection, community leaders express concern about pressure on services, especially education; culture and religion, criminality and other possible problems that could crop up as the children return.

In response to this issue, UNICEF believes; The key to reintegrating former child soldiers and preventing their re-recruitment is long-term investment in education, psychosocial support, vocational training, and support for families and communities. The particular vulnerabilities and capacities of s must be taken into account in prevention, demobilization and reintegration programmes for child soldiers. Since the mid 1980s, UNICEF has been regularly involved in the demobilization of child soldiers, playing a key role in advocating and securing their release from armed forces and groups.

Notes: The article can beaccessed online at:

For more information, photos and interview requests, please contact: Shima Islam, UNICEF UK Press Office on 020 7312 7614
Contact the editor by clicking here Editor