Bukavu, 20 April 2011 - On 20 th April 2011, the Child Protection office in Bukavu of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO)’s launched a campaign to raise the awareness of some 6500 members of the national army (FARDC) in South Kivu province about the national and international legal instruments on the protection of children in armed conflict. The first session in that campaign due to run across the province until 19 th May 2011 took place in the locality of Luberizi, some 80 kilometers south of Bukavu, the provincial capital.
Issues being addressed during these awareness sessions include : the definition of child as provided by the different national and international legal instruments ; the role and mandate of the Child Protection section of MONUSCO ; the monitoring of violations of children’s rights ; the impact of armed conflict on children in the DRC ; the process of identifying, verifying and separating children from armed forces or groups ; the cooperation between the FARDC, MONUSCO and United Nations agencies, and with other partners working in the area of child protection.
MONUSCO is providing logistical support including didactic materials, copies of the relevant laws, various explicative flyers, as well as transportation to move trainers to the different locations where FARDC regiments are stationed.
The 6500 FARDC personnel benefiting from these awareness courses are officers, non-commissioned officers and rank and file soldiers, including those from newly created regiments.
Trainers include MONUSCO and UNICEF information officers, FARDC military officers of the Amani Leo Operation and activists of the local NGO Bureau pour le Volontariat au Service de l'Enfance et de la Santé (BVES, Volunteer Office in the Service of Children and Health . )