On 29th August 2013, a delegation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) – a leading force of the armed and political opposition in Sudan – comprising the Deputy Chairman Abdelaziz Alhilu and the Secretary General Yasir Arman, signed the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment for Adherence to a Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines and for Cooperation in Mine Action in Geneva, Switzerland.
The SPLM-N is active in the Sudanese provinces of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. These two areas have been highly affected by the armed conflict that erupted in 2011 between the SPLM-N and the Sudanese armed forces. Anti-personnel (AP) mines have been reportedly used, and mine clearing activities have been hindered by the conflict.
In signing the Deed of Commitment, the SPLM-N agrees to prohibit the use, production and transfer of AP mines, to cooperate in humanitarian mine action activities and to destroy its stockpiles. The SPLM-N also agrees that Geneva Call and other independent organizations will monitor and verify its compliance with the Deed of Commitment.
“In compliance with our pledge, we will destroy all AP mines in our possession as soon as possible. These mines were captured during military operations”, said Abdelaziz Alhilu, Deputy Chairman of the SPLM-N. “We are also ready to cooperate in other fields of humanitarian mine action and call upon the international community to assist us in this endeavor” he added. Geneva Call President, Elisabeth Decrey Warner, commended the SPLM-N for its humanitarian commitment and underlined that “every time a mine is destroyed or not laid, innocent lives are saved.”
Geneva Call is also in dialogue with the SPLM-N on other humanitarian issues, notably the protection of children in armed conflict.