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Rebels in Sudan's Darfur region and the United Nations have signed a deal to protect children from being used as soldiers in conflict zones.
The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, an independent mediation group based in Geneva, says Darfur's Justice and Equality Movement, or JEM, and the United Nations Children's Fund-- UNICEF have signed a deal to protect children.
Dennis McNamara, Humanitarian Adviser, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, said, "I'm very pleased to say that the dialogue that has been long and detailed has finally resulted in a very concrete and important outcome which is the signing of this agreement."
Under the agreement, UNICEF will have full access to all JEM locations to verify that children are not being exploited and used as soldiers.
Nils Kastberg, UNICEF Director for Sudan, said, "When you see in the agreement that we are talking about child protection, and the protection of children is it because we want to cover up and not talk about child soldiers? No. It's because we want to cover the entire spectrum of issues in which we want to ensure and enhance the protection of children."
U.N. officials cited evidence that the JEM and other rebels recruited child soldiers in the conflict in 2003 for seeking more autonomy.
It's hoped the signing of this new agreement will stop children from doing adult jobs in conflict zones.