Sudan: the Justice and Equality Movement pledges against anti-­personnel mines

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), part of the Sudanese armed opposition, has formally pledged to ban anti-­personnel (AP) mines. JEM brings to 42 the number of armed non-­State actors worldwide to have signed Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment banning AP mines. It is the first such movement from Sudan to do so since the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in 2001, before South Sudan became independent.

In signing the Deed of Commitment, JEM agrees to prohibit the use, production and transfer of AP mines, to cooperate in humanitarian mine action activities, and to take necessary measures to enforce compliance. JEM also agrees that Geneva Call and other independent organizations will monitor and verify its compliance.

“Though JEM has no past experience of using any type of mines, and mines are not part of its weaponry”, said Dr. Gebreil Ibrahim Mohamed, Chairman of JEM, “the movement decided to sign this Deed of Commitment banning AP mines because it can imagine the physical, psychological and un-­repairable harm such weapons may cause to innocent lives who are not party to the concerned conflict. JEM is in fact against all means or methods that might directly and indirectly hurt non-­combatants in armed conflicts. As a member of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), JEM calls on the other members of the alliance, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-­North (SPLM-­N), the Sudan Liberation Army-­Abdul Wahid (SLA-­AW) and the Sudan Liberation Army-­ Minni Minawi (SLA-­MM), to also join the ban on AP mines.”

“Darfur has been largely spared landmine contamination”, said Elisabeth Decrey Warner, President of Geneva Call. “Yet, JEM’s commitment to prohibit AP mines is to be welcomed. It is very important considering the increasing levels of instability and weapons proliferation resulting from the conflict in neighbouring Libya. Moreover, there have been reports of new mine incidents in South Kordofan, as part of clashes between the Government armed forces and the SPLM-­N. We hope that JEM’s commitment will encourage the SPLM-­N and other SRF members to follow suit.”

Geneva Call has been in dialogue with JEM on banning landmines since 2010. It has also initiated dialogue on other humanitarian issues, notably the prohibition of sexual violence and the protection of children from the effects of armed conflict.

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Tim Carstairs
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