Watchlist Newsletter

January 2012


Updates from the field

Watchlist Field Mission to Colombia
Watchlist conducted a follow-up mission to Bogota in December 2011 to assess national and international initiatives and mechanisms that aim to address violations committed in the context of Colombia’s armed conflict. An earlier mission was conducted to different regions of the country to identify children's protection needs in August/September. As part of this second mission, Watchlist staff met, among others, with the Vice President of Colombia and head of the Inter-Sectorial Committee to prevent child recruitment Angelino Garzon, the Ombudsman’s Early Warning System team and members of the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) Taskforce, as well as the Protection Cluster. The findings and recommendations of the mission will be published in an upcoming Watchlist “Field Monitor” report and released in spring 2012.

As a preview to the upcoming report on Colombia, Watchlist has written a blog to share its initial impressions from the trip. Read Watchlist’s blog here

Updates from New York

UN Adopts New Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on a Communications Procedure
On December 19 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a new Optional Protocol to the CRC that will establish a communications procedure for violations of children’s rights. The communications procedure is a quasi-judicial mechanism that applies to any violation of any right enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its protocols, including the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. Children, or their representatives, will be able to submit their case to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child if they have not been able to get remedies in their home countries.  Prior to the adoption of this Optional Protocol, the Committee on the Rights of the Child was the only UN treaty body that was unable to examine individual cases.   
In many countries, especially those experiencing armed conflict, numerous cases of violations of children’s rights cannot be addressed before national courts because of poor governance, access restraints and security concerns. With this new Protocol, child victims will be able to put pressure on their governments to live up to their international obligations and ensure an appropriate response to child rights violations.
In order for a complaint to be reviewed by the committee, however, a state must have accepted the procedure.  A coalition of 80 NGOs is now lobbying states to ratify the Protocol.
Read the UN Press release on the new Optional Protocol here


UN Extends Peacebuilding Office Mandate in the Central African Republic (CAR)
On December 21 2011, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) for thirteen months. The resolution made specific mention of the Security Council’s condemnation of continued violations of children’s rights, including the recruitment and use of children, killing and maiming, sexual violence and abductions perpetrated by armed groups. The resolution calls upon BINUCA to report on human rights violations perpetrated by armed groups, particularly against children and women, over the next year. In our last report, An Uncertain Future? Children and Armed Conflict in the Central Africa Republic, Watchlist advocated for the reinforcement of BINUCA’s child protection component with the necessary financial and human resources needed to monitor, report and respond to the six grave violations committed against children in armed conflict.  The extension of BINUCA’s mandate will allow the UN body to continue to highlight the plight of children in CAR as well as other ongoing challenges that exist as a result of the armed conflict.

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.


Children and Armed Conflict
Key News - January 2012

Sudan: Red Cross volunteers are trying to reconnect 150 young children with their missing parents after tens of thousands of residents of South Sudan ran into the bush while fleeing a massive wave of tribe-on-tribe violence, an official said Tuesday.
The Associated Press, January 3, 2012. Click here to read more.
Somalia: Somalia has been steadily worn down by decades of conflict and chaos, its cities in ruins and its people starving. Just this year, tens of thousands have died from famine, with countless others cut down in relentless combat. Now Somalis face yet another widespread terror: an alarming increase in rapes and sexual abuse of women and girls.
–  The New York Times, December 27, 2011. Click here to read more.

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict
Women's Refugee Commission
122 East 42nd Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10168-1289


Watchlist on Children and Armed Confict ("Watchlist") is a program of the Women's Refugee Commission (WRC). Both Watchlist and WRC are affiliated with and legally part of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Neither Watchlist nor the WRC receive direct financial support from the IRC.

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