Child DDR

Child Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Program
in South Sudan
Child demobilization started in Southern Sudan in 2001 when Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) became the first rebel movement globally to initiate demobilization of the children from armed forces. Between 2001 and 2004, approximately 18,000 children were demobilized from SPLA and returned home. Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 to date about 4,000 children have been demobilized. However, during the CPA era,

some children have entered into the SPLA from other armed groups which have aligned and brought children with them.

Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and Child DDR
Following the signing of the CPA a more formalized approach to child demobilization was developed. The CPA called for a Child DDR programme to be implemented in Sudan, specifying that all children be removed from armed forces within a six month period following the signing of the CPA, and all separated children be re-unified with their families. The stipulated time period was ambitious and more than five years later, it would suggest that 800 children still remain in SPLA in Southern Sudan. However, during the five years between 2005 and 2010 some children turned 18 or above  and as a result they were/are not eligible for the Child DDR process.

On 20 November 2009 another milestone was reached by signing the SPLA Action Plan with the United Nations regarding Children Associated with the Army in Southern Sudan. In this Action Plan SPLA renewed its commitment to accelerate the demobilization of children still present in its ranks and prevent further recruitment of children.

Southern Sudan DDR Commission and UNICEF
Shortly after signing of the CPA, the Interim DDR Programme (IDDRP) was established, providing the general framework for DDR in the Sudan. The DDR process was to be nationally led and two national bodies were established to implement the program in Southern Sudan and Northern Sudan. In Southern Sudan, the Child DDR Programme was formalized through the establishment of the Interim DDR Authorities which, in early 2006 morphed into the Southern Sudan DDR Commission (SSDDRC). In the North, the Northen Sudan DDR Commission (NSDDRC) is the responsible body for the programme. UNICEF in Southern Sudan is the responsible body within the integrated UNDDR unit (UNMIS, UNDP, UNICEF, and UNFPA) to support the SSDDRC to implement Child DDR activities.

Collaboration with Partner Organizations
Child DDR is a multi-faceted programme with the essential participation of several actors to support disarmament and demobilization activities, and reintegration support.  Internationally these actors include UNICEF, UNDDR, UNMIS Child Protection and international NGOs.  Nationally, the SSDDRC liaise closely with the SPLA, national NGOs,  State authorities and Line Ministries, especially for supporting sustainable reintegration activities.  These include the Ministry of Labour, Public Services and Human Resource Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Gender, Social Welfare and Religious affairs or Ministry of Social Development, and others as identified locally.

Community Involvement
Community involvement is central to the process of Child DDR Programme at several different levels.  The community is important in providing the appropriate environment for demobilized children to return to and the communities need to be prepared and informed to avoid stigmatization of returning children. Children associated with armed forces should access the universal child rights they may have missed before demobilization such as education, safety and life skills.