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Watchlist Newsletter 
July 2016

Updates from New York

Hospitals are (Also) Under Attack—Resolution 1998 Five Years Later

The last pediatrician in Aleppo, Syria was killed and the emergency room and pediatric unit destroyed when a government air strike hit Al-Quds Hospital on April 28, 2016. Since then, shelling and airstrikes targeting civilian areas in Aleppo have continued. Where have people injured during the attacks, particularly children, gone for life-saving treatment? And what steps have been taken to protect Al-Quds and other hospitals from attack?
One step was already taken five years ago, on July 12, 2011, when the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1998. Specifically focused on children and armed conflict, Resolution 1998 made state and armed non-state actors that carry out attacks against schools and hospitals eligible for inclusion in the Secretary General’s list of shame published in the annual report on children and armed conflict. Since then, 12 parties from 7 countries have been listed for attacks on schools and hospitals and there has been a widespread increase in awareness amongst practitioners and the public of the prevalence and scale of targeted attacks. However, attention has predominately focused on attacks on education and actions that can be taken to protect education from attack. Comparatively much less is known about attacks on hospitals and health care and the impact of these attacks on children. 

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Workshop on Children and Armed Conflict, Addressing Child protection in Conflict Mediation: Developing Tools for Mediators

On June 8, 2016, Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict and the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination convened an all-day policy workshop entitled “Addressing Child Protection in Conflict Mediation: Developing Tools for Mediators” at The Princeton Club in New York City. Building upon the initial workshop in 2014, the objective was to re-convene mediation and children and armed conflict (CAC) experts to begin the process of developing a tool for mediators to better facilitate the integration of child protection provisions in ceasefires and peace agreements. Among the participants were leading UN agencies working on child protection, members of the Mediation Support Unit at the UN’s Department of Political Affairs, and representatives from relevant Member States, civil society organizations, and think tanks. In two closed working sessions, participants identified possible entry points for CAC-related issues in negotiations or peace processes, and decided upon the areas that a checklist or ‘tip sheet’ for mediators should cover. Following the workshop, a smaller technical working group was created to draft the checklist based on the items identified in the two working sessions. Following a consultative process in the coming months, Watchlist and partners plan to launch the final product during the 71st UN General Assembly’s Rights of the Child Days in mid-October 2016

Update from Washington

US State Department Issues Child Soldiers Prevention Act List for 2016
On June 30, 2016, the United States Department of State published the Child Soldiers Prevention Act List, included in the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, identifying foreign governments whose armed forces or government-supported armed groups are complicit in the recruitment and use of children. The 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) prohibits the US Government from providing certain types of military assistance to those foreign governments included on this list, unless issued a waiver, for the following year. The 2016 list includes 10 countries: Burma (Myanmar), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
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Children and Armed Conflict Key News

UN Report Accuses ISIL of War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Genocide Perpetrated Against Yazidis: On June 15, the UN-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic released a report documenting crimes committed by ISIL against the Yazidi community, concluding crimes amount to genocide. According to the Commission, ISIL has sought to destroy the Yazidi identity through the sexual slavery and enslavement of women and girls, forcible transfer of children from their families, forced conversions, killings and other tactics. Additionally, boys are allegedly indoctrinated, trained, and utilized for combat purposes. Following the report’s release, Human Rights Watch called for the need for Iraq to investigate and penalize credible allegations of abuses by ISIL.  
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Conflict in Iraq Affects Children’s Wellbeing and Livelihoods, UNICEF Reports: “A Heavy Price for Children,” a UNICEF report released June 30, states that as a result of the conflict in Iraq, children have experienced negative impacts upon their mental and physical wellbeing, education, and sense of stability and safety. The report finds that children are affected by aggressive and antisocial behavioural changes, early marriages, child labour, sexual violence, limited access to healthcare and necessary vaccines, disruptions in their education, water shortages, death and injury, and recruitment into armed groups. In the most recent recapture of Fallujah from ISIL, Iraqi security forces reportedly took boys and young men by force for screening to determine if they belonged to ISIL, and human rights groups say that dozens of them have been beaten and tortured, and some killed. On July 5, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged Iraqi authorities to find and free more than 600 boys and men who were abducted by an unofficial militia group, fighting in support of Government forces, in the fallout from the capture of Fallujah.
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UNHCR: Global Forced Displacement at Highest Rate in History: On June 20, World Refugee Day, the UN Refugee Agency released its 2015 Global Trends report on forced displacement statistics, finding that violence, conflict, persecution, and human rights violations caused 65.3 million people to become forcibly displaced as refugees, internally displaced persons, or asylum-seekers in 2015. The rate of child refugees by the end of 2015 was 51 percent of the total refugee population, with many being unaccompanied or separated from their families. UNICEF also issued a report warning that children travelling alone to Europe are highly vulnerable to detention, rape, beatings, forced labour, and death. The UNICEF report reminded all countries of their obligations to protect the rights of migrant and refugee children and for World Refugee Day, UNHCR led a #WithRefugees campaign petitioning governments to  ensure that every refugee child is provided with an education and every refugee family has somewhere safe to live. 
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Working together to protect the security and rights of children

Watchlist monitors and reports on the situation of children affected by armed conflicts in specific countries around the world.

Watchlist provides its partners in the global south with technical support and advice to strengthen their ability to monitor abuses, to advocate on behalf of children in their communities and to respond to local needs.

With our unique perspective as a bridge between local actors and international policy makers, we are able to find and present practical solutions to the protection of children in conflict zones.

Copyright © 2016 Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, All rights reserved.