Updates from the field
Updates from New York
Local Civil Society Engagement in the UN-Led MRM: An Example from South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo
Between July 5 and 19, 2012, thirty-three child soldiers were released from a breakaway faction of the Forces Républicaines et Fédéralistes (FRF), an armed group active around Minembwe in the Eastern province of South Kivu, DRC. The children had been with the armed group for at least two to three months. The demobilization operation was made possible after a community-based organization (CBO) established a dialogue with the armed group, which had been recruiting children between the ages of 14 and 17 among its own Banyamulenge community (an ethnic Tutsi population living in Eastern DRC) for some time.
United Nations Arria Formula Meeting on the Issue of “Children and Armed Conflict: How to Put More Pressure on Persistent Perpetrators”
On July 9, 2012, Watchlist participated in an Arria formula meeting on the issue of “Children and Armed Conflict: How to put more pressure on persistent perpetrators”. The meeting provided the opportunity for NGOs to exchange views with UN Security Council Member States on how to accelerate pressure on parties to conflict that commit violations and abuses against children and who have been listed in the annexes of the Secretary General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict for five or more years (“persistent perpetrators”). In preparation for the event, Watchlist prepared a short briefing note, Working Methods: Strengthening the Impact of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. The briefing note evaluated the use of the Toolkit of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and the time it has taken to negotiate country-specific conclusions. Watchlist stressed the importance of ensuring that country conclusions be adopted in a timely fashion and that the full range of tools in the Toolkit be used. Delays in the Working Group’s deliberations also contribute to creating an accountability gap.
In addition, Watchlist organized a New York visit for its local partners from Nepal and Burma in order for them to participate in the meeting. The representatives from the partner organizations prepared statements on the current situations their respective countries are facing in terms of addressing the issue of persistent perpetrators, specifically highlighting the issue of accountability. An overview of the Arria formula, including partner statements can be found here.
Selection of the New Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict
On July 13, 2012, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon formally appointed Ms. Leila Zerrougui as his next Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC). Ms. Zerrougui, of Algeria, will replace outgoing SRSG Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, who left her post on July 31, 2012. The appointment process was swift and inclusive. This not only demonstrates recognition of the importance of the SRSG’s mandate, but will also allow for a fast and direct handover, in stark contrast with the previous appointment process, in 2005, which was very lengthy. Both of these factors were key components to Watchlist’s advocacy campaign on the selection of the new SRSG conducted earlier this year.
Click here to read Watchlist’s press release on Ms. Zerrougui’s appointment and learn more about Watchlist’s advocacy campaign for the next SRSG.