Looking forward to this week’s exploration of issues related to children in and affected by armed conflict – the subject on which I have the honored of serving as a Special Adviser to Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. (My prior posts on this issue here.)
The occasion is a 2-day event entitled “Children and Armed Conflict: Strengthening Implementation of the UN’s Children and Armed Conflict Agenda,” cosponsored by the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at New Jersey’s Princeton University and by the New York-based nongovernmental organization Watchlist on Children & Armed Conflict.
The program begins at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, December 12, 2013, with a public, plenary session – a panel discussion on “UN Efforts to End Grave Violations against Children in Conflict Situations.” Speaking will be:
► Ambassador Sylvie Lucas, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the United Nations and Chair of the Security Council Working Group for Children and Armed Conflict.
► Under Secretary-General Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.
► Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière, formerly the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations. The first Chair of the Security Council Working Group for Children and Armed Conflict, de la Sablière is the author of a pivotal report on this subject.
► Jo Becker, Advocacy Director of the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch.
Then on Friday, December 13, will be a closed workshop, at which representatives of states and intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations (as well as academics like myself) will examine the issue of children and armed conflict. Particular emphasis will be placed on the monitoring and reporting process launched U.N. Security Council Resolution 1612 (2005) and succeeding resolutions, overseen by the Special Representative Zerrougui, and watchdogged by NGOs.
At the core of the U.N. process are efforts to combat the 6 Grave Violations, a half-dozen offenses against children deemed especially reprehensible. Commission of these offenses, by state and nonstate actors alike, may result in action within the U.N. framework. The 6 are: killing or maiming of children; recruitment or use of children as soldiers; sexual violence against children; attacks against schools or hospitals; denial of humanitarian access for children; and abduction of children. (credit for AP photo)