In armed conflicts around the world, children and adolescents are subjected to egregious violations, such as sexual violence, killing and maiming, abduction, and recruitment and use as child soldiers. The day-to-day lives of these children are further disrupted by attacks on their schools and hospitals, and by the denial of humanitarian assistance.

Although tangible progress has been made in recent years to hold perpetrators accountable and to prevent future violations, there remains an urgent need for more effective programs and policies to address the needs of children affected by armed conflict.

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict strives to end violations against children in armed conflicts and to guarantee their rights. As a global network, the Watchlist builds partnerships among local, national, and international nongovernmental organizations, enhancing mutual capacities and strengths. Working together, we collect and disseminate information on violations against children in conflicts in order to influence key decision-makers to create and implement programs and policies that effectively protect children.

Watchlist’s work follows three main program areas:

History and Governance

Watchlist was formed in 2001 by a group of leading human rights and humanitarian organizations in response to the need for improved monitoring and reporting on violations against children in war. Watchlist is known for its work on children and human rights, boasting – through its members – both a solid expertise on child protection and a wealth of information and experiences coming directly from the ground.

Watchlist’s programmatic content is set by an Advisory Board composed of seven international NGOs. Its network further includes five Associate Member organizations who share our commitment to protect the security and rights of children affected by armed conflict.

Watchlist membership includes, but is not limited to, the following organizations:

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Annual Reports

Staff

Adrianne Lapar, Partnerships Officer

Adrianne is responsible for managing Watchlist’s Partnerships Program, which supports nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and networks in conflict-affected countries to monitor and report on grave violations against children, and advocate on their behalf at the local and global levels. Prior to joining Watchlist, Adrianne served as an Associate Protection Officer with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Colombia, where her work focused on strengthening State institutions’ response to victims of the armed conflict, managing individual protection cases, and coordinating international response at the regional level. Her prior experience includes over two years of field work in human rights and humanitarian protection in South Sudan, as well as four years of international advocacy experience with Human Rights Watch in New York. Adrianne has an MA in Political Science and a BA in International Studies and Spanish Language and Literature, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is based in New York.

Bukeni Waruzi, Executive Director

Bukeni manages the overall work of Watchlist, with support from the Advisory Board. Bukeni joined Watchlist in March 2018, and he is an expert on children and armed conflict. Bukeni is a native of Uvira, in the Eastern DRC, where he founded AJEDI-Ka/Projet Enfants Soldats, an organization working to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers and support their demobilization and reintegration. He led the organization for nine years, spearheading innovative programs including the use of cell-phones to document child rights violations, and producing video evidence that was instrumental in the International Criminal Court’s indictment and conviction of Thomas Lubanga for the recruitment and use of child soldiers in the DRC. From 2007 to 2017, Bukeni led work on Africa and the Middle East for WITNESS, where he also led the organization’s Global Campaign on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. During the campaign, he supported women’s rights activists to create effective strategies to fight for gender justice through video and other technologies. He also trained hundreds of activists in documentation of human rights violations and evidence-based advocacy, including through the use of video. During his career, he has developed extensive experience in strategic leadership and program design, fundraising, advocacy and communications, and team leadership. He holds a BS in economics from the Evangelical University in Africa in Bukavu (DRC) and a MA in Human Rights and Conflict Resolution from Chaire Unesco-University of Burundi. Bukeni is based in New York.

Erika Karsh, Programs and Operations Coordinator

Erika Karsh is Watchlist’s Programs and Operations Coordinator. She is responsible for supporting the organization’s programmatic work, grants management, and communications. Erika has over six years of experience working in the field of educational equity, cultivating partnerships and leading program management. Most recently, she managed a national computer science fellowship at Teach For America to expand access to quality education for all students. In 2012, the Spanish Ministry of Education awarded her a post-graduate scholarship to teach at a public secondary school in Madrid, Spain. Erika has also previously worked for UN Women in New York and the US Federal Government in Washington, DC. She has extensive knowledge of Latin America, having studied in Ecuador and lived in Mexico, in addition to conducting research on various issues impacting social and economic development in the region. Erika is fluent in English and Spanish. She holds a BA in Political Science from Pitzer College and a MA in International Affairs from Columbia University.

Lindsey Hutchison, Advocacy Officer

Lindsey Hutchison is Watchlist’s Advocacy Officer, and leads the design and implementation of Watchlist’s advocacy strategies to advance its priorities with the UN Security Council, permanent missions, agencies, and other relevant bodies. Lindsey brings nearly a decade of human rights experience in the field and at headquarters. She has conducted advocacy with key stakeholders throughout Africa, Europe, and North America including local governments, representatives of the United Nations, the Vatican, and the European Union. Most recently, Lindsey served as a Program Officer for Southern Africa with Freedom House in Johannesburg where she led Freedom House’s Mozambique program, focusing on advocating for civilians impacted by the recent conflict at national and international levels, human rights education, and human rights defender strengthening. Her prior experience includes working as the South Sudan Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, three years at Human Rights Watch, and working on access to justice in Timor-Leste with the United Nations Development Programme. Lindsey also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years in Mozambique where she was based with a local civil society organization. She has a Master’s degree in International Development from Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) program, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Political Theory from Michigan State University’s James Madison College. Lindsey is based in New York.