UNICEF e-newsletter

Children and armed conflict in a changing world 19 October 2007
 

At 15, Maisha (not his real name) was recruited by the Mayi-Mayi militia group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After seeing many of his friends killed and his own village burned, Maisha decided to flee a year later. He went on to enrol in a UNICEF-supported reintegration and training centre. Today he is an intern at a top carpentry firm.

Not all child combatants are able to reclaim their lives so successfully, however.

To address their needs in a changing world, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Radhika Coomaraswamy, has conducted a strategic review of the landmark UN study on children and armed conflict, which global children’s advocate Graça Machel authored over a decade ago.

Launched this week at UN headquarters in New York, that review – known as ‘Machel plus 10’ – calls for an end to impunity for the myriad armed groups that violate children’s rights.

“Threats to children are increasing,” noted UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. “They are no longer just caught in the crossfire. They are increasingly the intended targets of violence, abuse and exploitation.”

“The international community has been very active in developing a solid legal protection framework,” added Ms. Coomaraswamy, “but much more must be done to ensure compliance, to fight impunity and to address all violations against children.” More…

‘Women Deliver’ global conference

Even as UNICEF and its partners work to protect children from the impact of war, the organization is part of a global effort to save their mothers from needless – and often deadly – complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

The Women Deliver conference on maternal health, now under way in London, aims to convince the world community that the health of women, mothers and babies is vital to the health and development of entire nations. More...

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© Reuters/Olivares

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy joins a youth panel at the ‘Machel plus 10’ launch.

VIDEO: UNICEF correspondent Chris Niles reports on the findings of a new UN report on children in armed conflict.

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