From 22nd to 24th October, Geneva Call conducted several training sessions on humanitarian norms for 33 high-level officers, military commanders and legal advisers from four Sudanese armed non-State actors (ANSA). It is the first time that these four ANSAs received training together.
All of them are signatories to Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment banning anti-personnel (AP) mines: the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N), the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army – Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM/A-AW) and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army – Minni Minnawi (SLM/A-MM).
The training started with a first session on the obligations under the Deed of Commitment banning AP mines. Several sessions on child protection and the prohibition of sexual violence in armed conflict followed. In the discussions, participants shared the challenges faced in implementing international norms related to child protection and gender issues.
For example, they highlighted the difficulty to take in charge demobilized child soldiers and to return them to their families. They also pointed out the challenge in assessing the age of new recruits. As far as gender-based and sexual violence issues are concerned, the main challenge is cultural and in remote areas of Sudan, the level of education is very low. As a consequence, ANSAs find difficult to raise this topic with combatants and communities.
More exchanges on these issues are planned and may lead to new signatures of Deeds of Commitment. 700 illustrated booklets containing the main provisions of the three Deeds of Commitment were distributed for further dissemination to rank-and file combatants.
All these ANSAs are involved in military operations against the Sudanese government armed forces.