The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, today unveiled a new initiative to generate greater awareness and action to improve the protection of children affected by armed conflict.
“With more children suffering horrific abuses in war zones across the globe, we desperately need to reinvigorate our efforts to raise awareness about the core of the mandate I represent – the six grave violations, and to redouble our common advocacy to ensure action by parties to conflict to give children the protection they deserve,” said Virginia Gamba.
Over the next three years, the campaign will seek to strengthen collaboration between the United Nations, civil society and the international community to support actions designed to end and prevent grave violations committed against children in times of conflict.
This support will include advocacy to reach universal ratification or endorsement of international agreements such as the Optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the Paris Principles, Safe Schools Declaration and Vancouver Principles.
The campaign will also push for full implementation of existing Action Plans signed between the United Nations and parties to conflict, as well as stronger engagement with other listed parties to conflict to generate additional Action Plans and commitments to end violations.
While renewing our engagement and action to end grave violations is essential, the campaign will also focus on initiatives designed to prevent them. Another priority area will be raising awareness on the importance of providing adequate services to child victims of war.
“ACT to Protect Children Affected by Conflict” will be launched today at the United Nations during a high-level event co-sponsored by the European Union and the African Union. The event will feature a video presentation by Forest Whitaker, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation and advocate on behalf of children affected by conflict, and a testimony from Angela Atim Lakor, a survivor of the Lord’s Resistance Army. UN and civil society partners such as UNICEF, the Departments of Peace Operations, Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict will be the other featured speakers.