On 17 October, at the invitation of the Swedish Permanent Mission in New York, Geneva Call briefed the United Nations (UN) Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict on the prevention of child recruitment by armed non-State actors (ANSAs). This took place in preparation for the open debate that will take place on 31 October at the Security Council.
The Working Group, currently chaired by Sweden, reviews the situation of children in specific country contexts and recommends measures to protect them more effectively.
Hichem Khadhraoui, Director of Operations, and Pascal Bongard, Head of the Policy and Legal Unit, presented Geneva Call’s work to encourage and convince ANSAs to respect international norms related to the protection of children in armed conflict. They highlighted the organization’s achievements but also the need to strengthen support for engaging ANSAs on this issue.They also advocated the importance of addressing the root causes of child recruitment (such as domestic violence and a lack of livelihood opportunities or access to education) and increasing aid and care to children living in areas under ANSAs’ control, including support for reintegrating former child soldiers into society. Several member States said they will consider including these points in their statements at the open debate.
UNICEF and the UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict also participated in the event. They both highlighted the complementary role played by Geneva Call and its unique capacity to organize meetings with armed non-State actors such as the one that took place last November 2016.