Watchlist Newsletter

August 2011


Updates from the field

Reports of grave violations of children in armed conflict from the Democratic Republic of Congo 
Watchlist partner organization, Ajedi-Ka, based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, submitted a report indicating the presence of a large number of children associated with armed groups in the Mboko and Kabumba territories of South Kivu, Particularly among the “Mupenkenya” Mai Mai militia group, named after its commander Mupekenya. According to Ajedi-ka’s assessment, at least 25% of the identified children were girls, some of whom were taken as “wives” by the soldiers. A local organization, Jeunes Unis pour le Dévelopement des Moyens Plateaux “JUDMP” (translated, Youth United for the Development of Resources), based in Kabondiozo is currently preparing the reintergration of 16 former child soldiers and has also approached Mupekenya to advocate for the release of children currently associated with his armed group.

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 Development of MRM toolkit for Watchlist partner organizations 
The Watchlist Capacity Strengthening Program is currently developing a Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) toolkit that supports our global partners in their efforts to protect children in areas of armed conflict. The goal for the toolkit is to assist in identifying and explaining relevant MRM policies to local NGOs and to guide them through proper reporting procedures for cases of grave violations against children. The development of the Watchlist toolkit coincides with ongoing discussions regarding the MRM's verification process for reported crimes against children and the challenges it poses for the full participation of local and international NGOs.

Updates from New York

Humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa
The Drought in the Horn of Africa, together with the ongoing conflict in Somalia, is causing critical protection risks for children living in the region. Somalia has been included in the Secretary-General's annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict since 2006. Currently, the Somali Transitional Federal Government as well as the armed group Al-Shabaab are listed in the 2011 Annual Report as parties that recruit and use children as soldiers and that kill and maim children. While already facing serious threats to the physical safety as a result of the long-term conflict, children in the sub-region have become even more vulnerable.

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Secretary-General's reports on children and armed conflict in Iraq and Sudan released 

On June 15th, the report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Iraq was released. It is the first such report released, covering the period from January 2008 to December 2010. The report mentions recruitment of children including the use of children as suicide bombers, the killing and maiming of children and attacks on schools and hospitals. On July 5th, the UN released its fourth report on the situation of children and armed conflict in Sudan, covering the period from January 2009 to February 2011. The report follows the 2009 conclusions and recommendations of the Working Group of Children and Armed Conflict. The report shows the continued presence of children in the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), its associated forces, Sudanese police forces, the Sudan People's Liberations Army (SPLA), as well as several armed groups in Darfur, and the perpetration of other grave violations against children in the Sudan. Reporting on violations is significantly hampered by insecurity and lack of access to non-Government-controlled areas, as well as by Government restrictions, in particular in Darfur and the transitional areas. The Security Council's Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict is expected to review both reports during its informal and formal meetings in September 2011. 


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 - August 2011


Global: The Care and Protection of Children in Crisis Affected Countries (CPC) Learning Network held their annual strategic planning meeting at Columbia University august 24th - 26th. This collaboration of humanitarian and academic agencies came together to discuss ongoing global and country-level research projects as well as how to expand and strengthen their research agenda on protecting children in areas affected by crises.
Democratic Republic of Congo: Thomas Lubanga is standing trial at the ICC for crimes including the recruitment, conscription and use of child soldiers in an ethnic conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.BBC reports, August 26th 2011. Click here to read more.
Afghanistan: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday met children who had been rescued by authorities before carrying out suicide bombings they had been groomed to do by the Taliban, the president’s office said in a statement .Reuters, August 25th 2011. Click here to read more.

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict
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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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