Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict was one of 20 civil society organizations that participated in the international ministerial conference ‘Protect Children from War’ in Paris in February. The conference commemorated the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Commitments to Protect Children Unlawfully Recruited or Used by Armed Forces or Armed Groups (Paris Commitments) and The Paris Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups (Paris Principles). The Government of France and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with the Paris Principles Steering Group (PPSG), co-hosted the conference.
The Paris Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups were originally adopted at the international conference ‘Free Children from War’ in Paris in 2007. They consolidate global practice in working to prevent recruitment and use of children in conflict, support their release, and sustainably reintegrate them into civilian life. The PPSG and the Government of France have hosted annual ministerial follow-up forums since 2007. The Steering Group further encourages governments, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society to follow the Paris Commitments and the Paris Principles and Guidelines in all funding, advocacy, and programming for the care and protection of children associated with armed forces and armed groups.
The February conference brought together more than 100 delegations, representing governments, intergovernmental organizations, as well as nongovernmental organizations focused on children’s rights. The conference had three goals. First, it aimed to assess the current situation of children in armed conflict. Second, it wished to recall the existing regulatory framework and promote its further implementation. Third, it sought to identify additional States’ voluntary commitments. As a result of the conference, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, and Tunisia endorsed the Paris Commitments, bringing the number of Member States that adhere to the Paris Principles and Commitments to 108.
At the end of the Conference, the co-hosts adopted an outcome statement. Please read it here.