Updates from the field
Focus on Colombia
The Office of the Colombian Ombudsman and the Coalition Against the Involvement of Children and Minors in the Armed Conflict in Colombia (Coalico) organized a conference on children and armed conflict in Bogota from June 20 - 24, 2011. The purpose of the Conference was to assess to what extent the Security Council’s recommendations on children affected by armed conflict in Colombia had been implemented, in particular those featured in the 2010 conclusions of its Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. The Conference highlighted the continuous use of children by armed groups in Colombia as combatants, porters, informants and, in the case of girls, sexual slaves. It is difficult to get a precise idea of the number of children associated with armed groups in Colombia, but Coalico estimates that for each four persons forcibly recruited by armed groups in Colombia, one is a minor. Watchlist has partnered with Coalico for several years and Watchlist Capacity Strengthening Officer travelled to Bogota to participate in the Conference. Watchlist delivered a presentation on the evolution of the Monitoring & Reporting Mechanism (MRM).
Updates from New York
Watchlist Briefing Note “Next Steps to Protect Children in Armed Conflict”
In preparation for the UN Security Council’s Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict (scheduled for July 12, 2011), Watchlist prepared a Briefing Note entitled “Next Steps to Protect Children in Armed Conflict” on the basis of over 30 interviews with child protection stakeholders in New York and in the field. The briefing note outlines practical and achievable steps that the UN Security Council can take to ensure stronger protection for children affected by armed conflict, with a focus on attacks on schools and hospitals, but also addressed other key issues such as problematic perpetrators, sanctions and the improvement of work processes and impact of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and the UN Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism.
Watchlist Participates in High-Level Side Event on Children and Armed Conflict
Germany, who chairs the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, organized a high level side event on “Children and Armed Conflict: Attacks on Schools and Hospitals in Armed Conflict” on June 30. The purpose of the meeting was to foster a discussion on the issue of attacks on schools and hospitals among representatives of the UN, Member States and civil society. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered the introductory remarks. The event came in preparation for the upcoming Resolution on Children and Armed Conflict, which will likely put attacks on schools and hospitals under an enhanced form of scrutiny. Watchlist Director, Eva Smets, delivered a statement at this event with concrete recommendations for the Security Council.
Click here to read the statement
Click here to view the webcast of the meeting
Round Table at the World Conference on Humanitarian Studies
The second World Conference on Humanitarian Studies, organized by the International Humanitarian Studies Associational (IHSA), took place at Tufts University from June 2nd to June 5th on the theme: “Changing Realities of Conflict and Crisis”. Watchlist took part in this Conference by coordinating a round table entitled “Protecting Children in Armed Conflict: experiences from the Central African Republic, Burma, Nepal and the Middle East” with representatives from UNICEF, Save the Children International, Karen Human Rights Group (Thai-Burma border) and the International Displacement and Monitoring Centre.