Ms. Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict – Photo UN
New York, US – The UN and the African Union (AU) have agreed to strengthen the protection of conflict-affected children in Africa where, despite progress, grave child rights violations continue to thrive.
PANA reported from New York that the agreement was signed on 17 Sept. between the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and the Peace and Security Department of the AU Commission.
Also, UNICEF is participating in the partnership, in order to step up measures to protect children from armed violence.
Among the areas of collaboration outlined in the document, the AU, with UN support, agreed to include the protection of children in all its peace and security activities.
The agreement also called for the development of a joint programme of work to align domestic legislation with regional and international child rights, as well as to develop guidelines on protection of children.
In addition, improved and harmonised training programmes in child protection will be developed for countries contributing troops to AU peace missions.
Speaking on the pact, Ms. Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, said: “As the African Union is taking a larger role in the continent’s mediation and peacekeeping operations, it had become essential to make our partnership stronger.
“A significant number of children affected by armed conflict live on the African continent. With this agreement, my Office will work even more closely with the African Union and UNICEF to respond to their plight.”
On his part, Mr. El-Ghassim Wane, Director of the Department of Peace and Security at the AU Commission, said: “We welcome this collaboration to ensure that protecting children is central to the work of the African Union.
“We know that we cannot succeed in building a prosperous and just future for the continent if we do not do everything in our collective power to protect them from the scourge of violence and war.”