On Sunday, June 21st a group of CPI interns met with Dr. Sima Samar, UN Special Rapporteur for Sudan. Fresh with knowledge from her recent trip to Sudan from May 25 to June 4th, Dr. Samar provided the group of interns with great insight and important information about issues on the ground.
Although Dr. Samar expressed disappointment in the recent decisions of the Human Rights Council to replace the Special Rapporteur for Sudan with an Independent Expert, she was glad to see that a group of young students and graduates were working on such significant and critical issues, as she remarked, "The young generation are the ones that own the planet ."
Dr. Samar noted that the issue of child abductions is a recurring problem across many different tribes in South Sudan. Attacks from the LRA have only made issues worse by making it increasingly difficult to identify the perpetrators of violent child abductions. Dr. Samar remarked that the Government of South Sudan has little capacity to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions, a critical problem to the successful implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The group of interns was able to ask Dr. Samar about the feasibility of universal birth registration in Southern Sudan, an issue they have been studying for the last 6 months as a possible deterrent to child abductions. Dr. Samar agreed that birth registration is an important step, but there are many other steps that must precede it, such as the development of infrastructure and a sound judicial system.
Dr. Samar provided many examples from her work with women and children in Afghanistan as a model framework for possible action in Sudan. She noted that it would be effective for CPI to work in partnership with local civil society group working to end child abductions. In addition, she strongly encouraged the group of interns to advocate their cause to the U.S. Government.
Although her work in Southern Sudan and with the Human Rights Council has proven to be frustrating at times, Dr. Samar argued that "Southern Sudan does not have a choice, the international community does not have a choice, we must be engaged."
For more information about the meeting and to read the memo submitted to Dr. Sima Samar, please visit the Child Protection International section of this website.