The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination's Project on Gender in the Global Community convened a workshop, "Children and Armed Conflict," on February 7-8, 2013 at Princeton University. The workshop was sponsored in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to the United Nations and the NGO WatchList on Children and Armed Conflict.
In armed conflict around the world, hundreds of thousands of boys and girls face serious violations of their safety and human rights, including forced recruitment and abduction. Girls are often disproportionately affected by sexual violence, exploitation, and abuse in conflict zones. The day-to-day lives of children in areas of armed conflict are further impacted by attacks on schools and hospitals. Although the United Nations’ Children and Armed Conflict agenda has made tangible progress in recent years to hold perpetrators accountable and to prevent future violations, there remains an urgent need for more effective programs and policies to address the needs of children and families affected by armed conflict.
The workshop addressed the current gaps in mandates related to the issue of children in armed conflict in UN Missions, particularly in Afghanistan and Somalia, with the goal of providing specific recommendations on how to strengthen the fight against impunity for persistent violators of the rights of children affected by armed conflicts. The workshop brought together academics, representatives of NGOs, and representatives of UN member states including members of the Security Council and the UN Secretariat for private discussion.
Two public sessions were held as part of the workshop on Thursday, February 7. A screening of the short film, “Ana’s Playground,” and a discussion with the film's director, Eric Howell, was held at 3:00 p.m. in 016 Robertson Hall. A panel discussion, "Protecting the Rights of Children Affected by Armed Conflict: The Role of the UN and NGOs," was held at 4:30 p.m. in 016 Robertson Hall. Panel participants included Alec Wargo, Program Officer for the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict; Jo Becker, Advocacy Director for the Children's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch; and Eva Smets, Director of WatchList on Children and Armed Conflict.