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Paris Conference "Free Children from War"

© UNICEF/ HQ01-0098/Stevie Mann
SUDAN: Hands linked, former child soldiers make their way onto the United Nations aeroplane.
On 5 and 6 February 2007, in Paris, the Government of France and UNICEF will co-host a conference of Government Ministers to “Free Children from War”.  Countries from every region, international organizations and NGOs will discuss comprehensive strategies for the prevention of child recruitment and the reintegration of former child soldiers.  

Paris Commitments {PDF} and  Paris Principles {PDF}

The Paris Conference will provide a platform from which to obtain a large international political commitment for the protection, release and reintegration of children recruited or used by armed forces and armed groups. Additionally, new guidelines will be introduced and States will endorsement a final declaration, entitled the “Paris Commitments.” 

At any given time, it is estimated that up to 250,000 children are being used in armed groups and forces around the world in a variety of roles – including as combatants, cooks, porters, messengers, spies and for sexual purposes. As primary victims of armed conflict, children are both its targets and, increasingly, its instruments.

UNICEF along with the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office, NGO's, representatives of international agencies and governments have developed new guidelines “to protect children from unlawful recruitment or use by armed forces or armed groups,” entitled the 'Paris Principles.'

The ‘Paris Commitments’ and the ‘Paris Principles’ will provide practical actions to go with the global legal standards that have been developed over the past 10 years.  They will set out the steps that can be taken to help stop recruitment from happening and support the demobilization of those children recruited and their reintegration back into their communities.

For more information, please contact:

Geoff Keele, Communications Officer, UNICEF NY: Tel + 1 212-326-7583, gkeele@unicef.org

Kate Donovan, Communications Officer, UNICEF NY: Tel + 1 212-326-7452, kdonovan@unicef.org

Related press releases and news notes:

6 February 2007 - Paris conference on child soldiers concludes with commitment to stop the recruitment of children

5 February 2007 - Global conference to end the recruitment of children by armed groups and forces in Paris

29 January 2007 - UNICEF supports continuing International Criminal Court process

18 December 2006 - UN launches Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards

22 June 2006 - UNICEF condemns abduction and recruitment of Sri Lankan children by the Karuna group

18 June 2006 - 211 Children Released from the SPLA in Southern Kordofan

25 April 2006 - Displacement and landmines are everyday challenges for children in Colombia

24 April 2006 - UNICEF welcomes child demobilisation in Southern Sudan

18 March 2006 -  Criminal charge in child soldier case a milestone in protecting children




6 February 2007:
UNICEF correspondent Dan Thomas reports on the historic conclusion to the ‘Free Children from War’ conference in Paris. Filmed and edited by Peter Rudden.
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5 February 2007:
UNICEF correspondent Dan Thomas reports on the first day of the ‘Free Children from War’ conference in Paris.
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