On 7-8 February 2013, Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict together with the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to the United Nations and the Liechtenstein Institute for Self-Determination at Princeton University hosted a workshop on Children and Armed Conflict: How to Deal with Persistent Perpetrators? The workshop was well attended by expert representatives of two-thirds of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, other UN Member States, relevant UN offices and agencies and NGOs.
The Workshop comprised both public and private sessions. Public sessions held on 7 February designed to raise awareness of children and armed conflict included a screening of the short film “Ana’s Playground”, followed by a discussion with the film’s director and a panel discussion on the roles of the United Nations and NGOs in protecting the rights of children affected by armed conflict. The private sessions allowed experts to discuss and to elaborate recommendations for improving UN action to protect children affected by armed conflict.
In the first private session, participants focused on persistent perpetrators, those parties who had been listed in the annexes to the Secretary-General’s annual reports for five or more consecutive years as having been responsible for violations against children in situations of armed conflict. Participants identified concrete recommendations for actions related to: (a) improving Security Council leadership and engagement; (b) making better use of the toolkit of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict; (c) promoting the conclusion and implementation of action plans to halt violations against children; (d) using targeted measures (sanctions) against perpetrators; and (e) ensuring accountability through the International Criminal Court and national mechanisms. The Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict is expected to have a thematic discussion on persistent perpetrators in March, and it is anticipated that these recommendations will contribute to that discussion.
In the second private session, participants discussed how to better mainstream the issue of children and armed conflict in the Security Council’s country-specific resolutions. They identified challenges to mainstreaming and possible solutions thereto in the working methods of permanent missions, the Security Council and the UN Secretariat. Participants also discussed specifically how to ensure better protection of children affected by armed conflict in the upcoming renewals of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Recommendations of participants have been incorporated in Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update for March 2013.