Children's Rights: Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement

Chapter II: Power Sharing (Signed at Naivasha, Kenya on 26th May, 2004)

1.6.2.15 The Rights of Children

Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, property or birth, the right to such measures of protection as are required by his/her status as a minor.

Implementation History

2005

Minimum Implementation

Under the guiding principles and directives of the state, the interim constitution, which became effective on 9 July 2005, had provisions for the welfare of children under Article 14. The constitution dictated that education through grade eight be made compulsory, prohibited exploitation of children, and established the legal age of marriages, 10 for girls and 15 for boys. Nevertheless, the government's commitment to children's rights and welfare was uneven and there were significant inequality in access to the health service for children living in different region of the country. The U.S. State Department Human Rights Report suggested that the government-allied militias and rebel forces accepted children into their military camps.1 Under the DDR program, the UNMIS initiated disarmament of some 17,000 children.2

2006

Minimum Implementation

The U.S. State Department Human Rights Report suggested that there were some challenges to the protection of children’s rights--despite commitment from the government regarding children’s rights and welfare.33 Similarly, reports from the United Nations secretary general suggested that children remained vulnerable to recruitment into armed groups.4

2007

Intermediate Implementation

The U.S. State Department Human Rights Report suggested that there were some challenges to the protection of children’s rights--despite commitment from the government regarding children’s rights and welfare.5 Nevertheless, some progress was made in terms of promoting children’s rights. In this regard, the Child Bill of 2006, which prohibits the recruitment of children, passed its first reading in the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly in June 2007. Similarly, significant progress was made in finalizing the draft child rights bill which would replace the Child Act of 2004.6

2008

Intermediate Implementation

The U.S. State Department Human Rights Report suggested that there were some challenges to the protection of children’s rights--despite commitment from the government regarding children’s rights and welfare.7 The Child Act was pending in the National Assembly in 2008.8 Nevertheless, the demobilized and disarmed children were integrated and, in this effort, UNMIS supported UNICEF. Also, on 17 December 2008, the Justice Minister, Abd-al-Basit Sabdarat, issued a decree establishing specialized child attorney offices in a number of Sudan states.9

  • 7. "2008 County Reports on Human Rights Practices- Sudan," U.S. State Department, 2009, accessed January 26, 2012, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/af/119026.htm.
  • 8. "UN Human Rights Expert Concludes Visit to Sudan," States News Service, August 6, 2007.
  • 9. "Child attorney offices established in Sudan," BBC Monitoring Middle East, December 20, 2008.
2009

Intermediate Implementation

The U.S. State Department Human Rights Report suggested that there were some challenges to the protection of children’s rights--despite commitment from the government regarding children’s rights and welfare.10 However, on 29 December 2009, the National Assembly endorsed the Child Act, bringing Sudanese legislation closer into line the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The new Child Act defines a child as a person less than 18 years of age. The Act increases the age of criminal responsibility from 7 years to 12 years of age, and increases in the maximum period of imprisonment for rape to 20 years. The Act also criminalized the corporal punishment of children in schools.11

2010

Intermediate Implementation

The U.S. State Department Human Rights Report suggested that there were some challenges to the protection of children’s rights--despite commitment from the government regarding children’s rights and welfare.12 The UNMIS said that it had continuously tried to secure the release of children in SPLA armed forces.13

2011

Intermediate Implementation

The situation remained stable insofar as children’s rights are concerned. Following independence, a mission of the UN in South Sudan proposed to support “the government in implementing the SPLA action plan to end the recruitment and use of children” as well as to “encourage the government to ratify into law and implement a set of key international human rights treaties and conventions, including those related to women and children.”14

  • 14. "Special report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan," United Nations (S/2011/314), May 17, 2011.