As a contribution to the general discussion on child rights, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict organized a panel discussion on the role of Governments in the protection of children affected by armed conflict.
Watchlist’s Director, Eva Smets was a speaker at this event, together with H.E. the Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the UN, Ms. Beatriz Linares, Expert on child rights with the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Ishmael Beah, former child soldier from Sierra Leone and child rights campaigner.
The discussion highlighted the importance of concerted Government-led efforts to demobilize and reintegrate child soldiers. Also highlighted was the need for Governments to build confidence with conflict-affected communities and to ensure the provision of adequate social services and the creation of economic opportunities for children and their families, as a preemptive measure to discourage children from joining armed groups.