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An Open Letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres
As organizations working to protect the rights of children in armed conflict, we are dismayed by your reported decision to “freeze” any new additions of parties to conflict that commit grave violations of children’s rights to the annexes to your 2017 annual report to the United Nations Security Council on children and armed conflict. We urge you to reconsider, and issue an updated list with your report, including all perpetrators responsible for patterns of grave violations against children in 2016.
We are living in an era in which the level of human suffering as a result of intra-state conflict seems to be escalating exponentially. The essential challenge remains, how to create the political impetus for timely, nonselective responses to human suffering (MacFarlane and Weiss, 2000). In 2014, the international community struggled to react and respond to many violent conflicts from Syria, to Israel, to South Sudan, to Central African Republic and the Ukraine.
HALIFAX, N.S. (February 12, 2015)– On Red Hand Day, the international day against the use of child soldiers, the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative (Dallaire Initiative) at Dalhousie University will launch its #weaponsofwar social media campaign to raise awareness about the roles child soldiers carry out in conflicts and wars across the globe.
New York—The Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations, formally launches Train, Act, Protect: A new standard in child protection training for peacekeepers. The launch at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations marks new training that is the product of collaboration between international actors and organizations, including the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.
A Unique Approach
2.1 Children in Armed Conflict – A Military Priority
In focusing solely upon disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) and not upon the complete eradication of the use of child soldiers as a phenomenon, the international community has merely attempted to fix the broken, rather than to protect the whole. Until this issue is elevated within the security agenda, the international community will continue to squander excellent opportunities to prevent the recruitment of children into armed forces and armed groups.
In May 2012, a workshop entitled “Living Within Armed Groups: A Gendered Perspective” was held at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. The event was facilitated by the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, with generous financial assistance from Lush Cosmetics and the Harold Crabtree Foundation, and logistical support from Dalhousie’s Centre for Foreign Policy Studies.