Watchlist Newsletter

December 2011


Updates from the field

Action Plan signed between the UN Country Team in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the armed group CPJP
On  Sunday November 20th, UN Special Representative and Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (CAR) Margaret Vogt, and UNICEF Representative Tanya Chapuisat signed an Action Plan with the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP), an armed rebel group listed by the United Nations for recruitment and use of children. The signing was witnessed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG). The Watchlist/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s report, An Uncertain Future? had strongly advocated for the UN Country Team to work with the Monitoring and Reporting Task Force in CAR to develop and implement an action plan for the release of children from CPJP ranks.

Special Representative Vogt stated that, “the signing of the action plan is critical because children should have never been implicated in the conflict in the first place, now we have to ensure that we get these children separated and reintegrated.” The action plan with the CPJP follows the recent signature of an action plan by the Popular Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD), another rebel group in the country. Additionally, the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) committed to United Nations verification of the presence of children in their ranks.

The SRSG also took time during her mission to visit Mogadishu, where she met with the President and Prime Minister of Somalia and successfully secured a commitment from the new Somali government to enter a process that would end the recruitment and use of children by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces. The Somali government also indicated that it was now committed to ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocols.

Click here to see pictures of the Action Plan being signed in CAR from the SRSG.
View photographs and video of the SRSG’s mission to Mogadishu, Somalia.

Attacks on Schools and Hospitals in Burma 
Saw C. is a school principal in the village of Tha Dah Der, in eastern Burma/Myanmar’s Karen State. On July 24 2010, he sat in his school listening to his radio while Tatmadaw soldiers, units from Burma’s state armed forces, coordinated an attack on the village: “The situation was too hot, so they did not have time to speak in their code.” Teachers, students and residents of Tha Dah Der and two other villages nearby had begun going into hiding three days earlier, expecting an attack after intermittent mortars began falling the village. But Saw C. wanted to remain behind as long as it was safe. The school was his responsibility, he said, as he spoke with a researcher from the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG), Watchlist’s partner in Burma. At 12pm, mortars started landing nearby. Concluding that Tatmadaw soldiers would soon follow on foot, Saw C. fled, not wanting to be shot. By the next morning, Tatmadaw soldiers had burned nearly all of the houses in the village. The soldiers had also tried but failed to burn the school and, after partially damaging the building and school materials, scrawled obscenities on the blackboard and left. 

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Updates from New York

Update on Resolutions Concerning the Rights of the Child in the Third Committee of the General Assembly
Two resolutions concerning the rights of the child were recently approved in the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly (GA). The Omnibus Resolution, which contains the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC) was adopted on November 22nd and, as expected, renewed the SRSG’s mandate with no major changes for a period of three years.

The second resolution, “Strengthening of the coordination of the United Nations system on child protection” was tabled by the Thai government and adopted in its final form on November 21st. The resolution reiterates the importance of all relevant actors of the UN on child protection to continue to carry out their functions in an independent manner and to fulfill their respective mandates.  It further underlines the importance of sustained, adequate resources and support for the work of the UN system on the promotion and protection of the rights of the child.

In October, the Permanent Mission of Thailand introduced a draft of the resolution which proposed the creation of a new annual comprehensive report on UN child protection activities, as well as an evaluation of these activities to assess the level of satisfaction of Member States. It also suggested that UNICEF should coordinate all child protection activities within the UN system. While less comprehensive, the final resolution does ask for a report on UN coordination to the GA and an interactive dialogue in two years. At that time, arguments may be made for redistribution of tasks using the excuse of "increased coordination."

Click here to learn more about the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly and children and 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.

Above;  A church burned by Tatmadaw soldiers in the village of Tha Dah Der, in eastern Burma’s Karen State. Below;  What's left of a school building following the same attack in Tha Dah Der. Students haven't been able to go return to the building and have had to start going to a different school elsewhere.


Children and Armed Conflict
Key News - October 2011


Global: The Child Protection Working Group's (CPWG) new web page is now live online at Created by the CPWG in order to promote learning amongst field and global level practitioners, the website includes tools and resources for child protection in emergencies practitioners, country pages providing information on new and ongoing emergencies, and a section listing all upcoming and recently completed trainings and events in the child protection in emergencies sector.

Sudan: On 28 November 2011, Judge Altyeb Alamin Elbashir of the Special Criminal Court in North Darfur sentenced seven individuals to death and ordered them crucified following their execution, including two minors. The application of the death penalty to a child is forbidden by Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Sudan is a state party.

–  African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, November 29 2011. Click here to read more.
Colombia: When “Natalia” was 11 years old she ran away from home to escape an abusive mother. Soon she found herself in the ranks of the FARC guerrillas, carrying heavy loads though the hills at night and working with explosives. When her commanders discovered she was six months pregnant, she was forced to abort, she said.
–  The Miami Herald, November 17 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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