United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

9 September 1996



General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Item 108 of the provisional agenda*

*    A/51/150.


                   Impact of armed conflict on children

                       Note by the Secretary-General





      SOUTHERN AFRICA (ADDIS ABABA, 17-19 APRIL 1995) ..................   3

      27-29 AUGUST 1995) ...............................................  11

      7-10 NOVEMBER 1995) ..............................................  23

      13-15 MARCH 1996) ................................................  37

      (SANTAFE' DE BOGOTA', 17-19 APRIL 1996) ..........................  48




                                    Annex I


                        (Addis Ababa, 17-19 April 1995)

     A threat haunts Africa - a threat challenging the stability of
civil society.  Liberia, Somalia and Rwanda have shockingly exposed
Africa's failure to resolve its conflicts and its humanitarian
tragedies.  A crisis of national identity, persistent social injustice
and a lack of sustained democratic processes have combined to create
these tragedies.  Social injustice, partly a product of bad
governance, results in ethnic tension.  Political leaders who lose
authority exploit these ethnic tensions to maintain power, leading to
more conflict.

     When armed conflicts occur, children and women are the principal
victims.  Children are killed, maimed, orphaned or separated from
their families; boys are forced to bear arms and commit violent acts
themselves.  Girls and women are exploited and sexually abused.  It is
children and women who suffer the most when schools are closed,
clinics destroyed, fields sown with landmines, and markets virtually
bereft of goods.  Those who survive the killing fields may die later
for lack of food, water or basic medicines.  Those who survive even
that -but witness killing, maiming, burning and looting or experience
lengthy separations from their families - may be traumatized for years
to come.

     Too many of Africa's children and women have experienced the
horrors of total war, where combatants use weapons indiscriminately to
terrorize civilians, impose their will and achieved their selfish
ends, where accidental distinctions of race, class or ethnicity are
cynically manipulated to determine who will live and who will die.  In
some of these wars, neutrality is not an option.  Every man, woman and
child is forced to take a side; every man, woman and child is assigned
to a particular group - to be protected or to be destroyed.  Youth,
age, and disability are no defence.  Every person is equally at risk
and equally terrorized.  This nightmarish terror, more than any other
force, has transformed the lives of African children and women.

     Recognizing that this terror exists - not only in Africa but
elsewhere in the world as well - the United Nations General Assembly
in December 1993 unanimously called on the Secretary-General to
appoint an expert to conduct a study on the impact of armed conflict
on children.  The Secretary-General appointed Ms. Grac'a Machel,
former first lady and Minister of Education of Mozambique, to conduct
the study.  The following remarks are some of the reflections of
participants meeting in Addis Ababa at the first of six planned
regional consultations for the study.  The participants, who attended
the consultation in their personal capacities, came from 15 countries
in eastern, central and southern Africa as well as other African
countries.  Many participants are associated with non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), the United Nations and various African,
international and intergovernmental organizations.  Eleven of the 15
countries represented are now undergoing armed conflict or
post-conflict reconstruction.  Other border countries experiencing
conflict are struggling both to protect refugees and to attract
sufficient assistance to support development, relief and

     Of course, not every African country has experienced the
widespread destruction seen most recently in Rwanda.  These recent
catastrophes have obscured several positive developments across
Africa, including the spread of meaningful democracy, increased
respect for human rights and remarkable successes in conflict
resolution.  In particular, southern African countries have recently
taken responsibility for conflict situations in their midst, and West
African countries, through the monitoring observer group of the
Economic Community of West African States, have successfully deployed
African peacekeepers in the wounded country of Liberia.  In addition,
recent peacemaking initiatives from the Organization of African Unity
(OAU) are welcome and worthy of support.

     Reflecting on recent armed conflicts in Africa, participants in
the consultation affirmed their respect for sovereignty, but noted too
that sovereignty implies a responsibility to protect the rights of the
people.  It was observed that, in those cases where Governments are
unable or unwilling to protect the rights of their people, sovereignty
should not be invoked to prevent the international community from
protecting the rights or meeting the needs of children and other
victims of conflict.

     Participants also affirmed the responsibility of African
Governments and the international community to protect children
everywhere from the impact of armed conflict.  They observed that
total war - where most of the casualties are children and women - runs
contrary to all basic human values and to all international standards
aiming to protect civilians in situations of armed conflict, such as
the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols and the
Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The participants noted an
urgent need to renew basic human values and to enforce international
standards which, through ignorance or wilful disregard, are too often
flouted.  They also stated that international standards should be
strengthened to clarify the humanitarian responsibilities of all
parties to a conflict and to address situations not clearly foreseen
when they were initially drafted.

     Participants emphasized the critical advocacy role which schools
and the media could play in renewing basic values and in reducing the
number and severity of armed conflicts.  Some participants stated that
the media often inflamed, but rarely tried to extinguish,
controversies that might lead to armed conflict.  Other participants
noted that continued schooling - especially when some classes focus on
basic human rights and values - helps to stabilize local communities,
to normalize the lives of school-going children and their families and
to protect children from the possible irrevocable loss of their hopes
and aspirations.

     Reflecting on international responses to Africa's armed conflicts,
some participants expressed disappointment in the role of the United
Nations.  That disappointment took several forms.  It was felt that
the United Nations on occasion intervened too late; that the United
Nations, when it did intervene, was often confused about its mandate
and limited in its resources; that United Nations forces did not
always perform according to the highest standards of conduct; and that
the United Nations failed to address adequately the vexing dilemma of
the limits of sovereignty, especially in extreme cases of gross
violation of human rights.  While participants acknowledged that these
were very complex issues, influenced by the widely varying views of
Member States, they nonetheless felt that more must be expected of the
United Nations and insisted that the study address these issues in a
thoughtful and searching way.  In particular, it was pointed out that
the United Nations should seek self-critically and constructively to
examine its shortcomings and failures with a view to ensuring that the
Organization is fully relevant and effective.  At the same time, other
participants noted the indispensable and constructive role played by
the United Nations in the transition to peace and democracy in Africa,
particularly in South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Angola.

     The participants noted that Africans and the international
community must and can do better.  They observed that children offer
both the reason and the opportunity to take firm measures.  In a world
divided by race, language, politics and religion, children are a
unifying force that brings all people together on a common ethical
ground.  The needs of all children are the same - nutritious food,
adequate health care, a decent education, a secure and loving family
and a life of friendship and opportunity.  Children's needs and
aspirations cut across all ideologies.  To secure these needs, some
participants urged that all parties to a conflict be strongly
encouraged to recognize children as a "zone of peace".  This would
impose on the parties an absolute obligation to protect children from
the corrupting influences of war and militarization.

     As part of their own efforts to protect the rights of children in
armed conflicts, participants made the following recommendations,
among others, knowing well the formidable constraints facing progress
in Africa today:

Because wars have profound impact on civilians, especially children
and women, Africans must unequivocally renounce armed conflict as a
means for resolving social, economic and political problems by:

     -   Recognizing clearly, in the light of the World Summit for
         Social Development, that the concept of human security should
         replace the traditional concept of military security;
     -   Persuading Governments to reduce military spending and to
         redirect investment towards human security and human
     -   Strengthening mechanisms for achieving national
         reconciliation as well as conflict prevention and conflict
         resolution, especially by including eminent African women in
         peacekeeping efforts;

     -   Persuading donors to recognize international obligations.

Africans must recognize their absolute obligation to prevent the
involvement of children in situations of armed conflict:

     In this context, all warring parties must:

     -   Stop recruiting children or otherwise using children to
         achieve military objectives;

     -   Immediately demobilize child soldiers and, with assistance
         from the international community, achieve their
         rehabilitation and integration into normal life, primarily
         through resuming their education;
     -   Protect non-combatants, and especially children and women, in
         combat theatres;

     -   Exclude agricultural land and traditional sanctuaries such as
         schools, hospitals, cultural and religious institutions as
         military targets.

African countries and the international community must recognize their
absolute obligations to protect and to meet the needs of children and
women who are affected by armed conflict:

     In this context, African countries with the support of the
international community must:

     -   Educate children about landmines and, in particular, educate
         girls whose traditional labours (fetching water and firewood)
         expose them to a greater risk of injury from landmines;

     -   Normalize the child's environment and, where necessary,
         promote physical and psychosocial recovery, through
         schooling, peer group activities and appropriate health
         measures from the child's own culture;

     -   Expand the concept of humanitarian assistance to include the
         protection of civilians and civilian institutions, and to
         recognize assistance to all civilians on any side of a
         conflict as legitimate;

     -   Provide access and all necessary assistance to refugees and
         to host populations and host countries that are heavily
         burdened by the refugees' presence in their midst;

     -   Enable families to resume primary responsibility to care for,
         protect and rehabilitate children affected by armed conflict;

     -   Limit the institutionalization of children and support family
         reunification programmes for children separated from their

     -   Ban arms and combatants from refugee camps and other

     -   Protect girls and women from rape, abuse and other violence;

     -   Secure due process for the early rehabilitation of child
         prisoners and child perpetrators of violence.

Africans and the international community must restore basic human
values and standards where they have been compromised by:

     -   Rejuvenating a sense of personal responsibility and respect
         for human life;

     -   Providing peace education to children and adults (especially
         community and national leaders);

     -   Educating aid workers and peacekeepers about international
         standards such as the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the
         Convention on the Rights of the Child, to ensure that their
         activities accord with these standards;

     -   Training human rights monitors and using truth commissions
         and war crimes trials to expose wrongdoing and to reinforce
         personal accountability.

Existing national and international standards protecting children in
situations of armed conflict must be effectively strengthened and

     In this context, all African countries should start to implement
the Convention on the Rights of the Child by translating it into
national law and creating credible structures to enforce it.  In
addition, all parties to a conflict - governmental and
non-governmental - must:

     -   Be encouraged formally to declare that they consider
         themselves bound by, and will respect and ensure respect for,
         the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and other
         international instruments relating to the rights, welfare and
         protection of children, particularly in situations of armed

     -   Educate people about the content of these documents, e.g. by
         simplified restatement, translation into local languages and
         widespread dissemination;
     -   Create credible structures for punishing violators of these

     -   Call for a United Nations declaration based on the principle
         of children as a "zone of peace" that would allow
         humanitarian assistance to safeguard the interests of
         children through, e.g. "corridors of peace" and "days of

     -   Make judicious use of the principle of humanitarian
         intervention in situations where the State is no longer
         willing or able to prevent grotesque abuses of human rights;

     -   Support the project of drafting an optional protocol to the
         Convention on the Rights of the Child to raise the age of
         recruitment into armed forces;

     -   Implement the recommendations of the April 1992 humanitarian
         Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the countries
         of the Horn of Africa, which recognized the access rights of
         civilians in war and the need for schools and protective
         zones for civilian populations during war;

     -   Make better use of the media, NGOs, OAU, the United Nations
         bodies, the International Court of Justice and similar
         forums, to expose and monitor human rights abuses and to
         influence public opinion.

Political accountability needs to be vigorously promoted and observed

     -   Clarifying who is accountable for any action undertaken and
         establishing mechanisms to ensure accountability, especially
         for those who violate the rights of children; 

     -   Establishing transparent processes empowering people,
         especially children and women, to participate in political
         decisions and to play an active role in conflict prevention
         and management.

African countries should strengthen efforts to seek collective
solutions to their problems by:

     -   Accepting primary responsibility in responding to future
         peacekeeping needs in Africa, with appropriate support from
         the international community;

     -   Strengthening their capacities to perform peacekeeping
         functions in addition to deploying peacekeeping soldiers
         (where African countries already play a significant role);

     -   Making full and effective use of the OAU Mechanism for
         Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution and other
         existing subregional forums for cooperation in Africa;

     -   Collecting and reflecting on the lessons learned in
         subregional peacekeeping efforts; 

     -   Harmonizing efforts to facilitate humanitarian intervention
         and peaceful neighbourly cooperation, chiefly through
         involving civic leaders, NGOs, professional bodies, cultural
         and religious organizations, and others in conflict
         prevention and resolution.

Significant progress must be made to reduce arms shipments to Africa
and arms trade within Africa by:

     -   Banning the shipment of arms (including landmines) to all
         parties to any armed conflict and creating mechanisms to
         enforce the ban;

     -   Banning the production, sale and use of landmines and
         creating an international supervisory body to monitor the

     -   Challenging government spending for military purposes in the
         meetings of OAU, the United Nations and other forums;

     -   Encouraging the flow of additional external financing to
         Governments which pledge to spend these funds for
         non-military purposes;

     -   Making determined efforts to assist African countries in the
         removal of landmines.



     We, the undersigned, are four children from among the millions
worldwide who are the victims of armed conflicts.  We make the
following statement in the hope that others may be spared the
suffering we have endured.

     We believe that conflicts arise mostly because leaders do not
listen to their peoples.  To promote harmony between Governments and
peoples, the United Nations should intervene peacefully to prevent
armed conflicts and to protect children from their effects.  Education
is important because it teaches people about the terrible consequences
of armed conflicts and helps them to accept that peoples are

     Landmines kill and hurt children.  They take land away.  Mines
left after the end of conflict cause suspicion and mistrust.  All
mines should be removed and no more mines should be made.  Children
should be informed of the dangers of mines.

     It is the responsibility of soldiers to protect children in armed
conflicts.  Girls should be given special protection because they are
often the victims of sexual abuse.  When children are hurt by
soldiers, leaders bear a special responsibility because they are the
ones who give the orders.

     After conflicts end, the truth of what happened must be known. 
Children must be helped to recover.  They need food, clothing,
housing, education and medical care, but most of all they want to
build their own futures.  They do not want to become dependent.

     We thank Ms. Grac'a Machel, chairperson of the study on the impact
of armed conflict on children, for agreeing to pass on our message to
the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

     Gete ABEBE                                      Mohammed Ali HUSSEIN     

     Adam Karari ISMAIL                              Eshetu TEFERA            

                                   Annex II


                          (Cairo, 27-29 August 1995)

     The Arab region suffers chronic violence that results from various
domestic, regional and international causes, including, most notably,
the Arab-Israeli conflict and ideological tensions.  At least half of
the 21 States in the Arab League have recently experienced or continue
to experience some form of armed conflict.  Other forms of violence
suffered by the region include internal strife, prolonged military
occupations, economic and political deprivation, severe social
inequity and cultural and political alienation.  Recent estimates
revealed that at least 2 million Arab children are refugees, and
nearly 4 million are displaced.  Some Arab countries have experienced
uninterrupted wars or civil conflicts lasting more than a decade,
making violence a part of their daily lives. 

     Arab children have paid dearly for the violence they suffer, in
terms of death, injury, disability, abuse, torture, psychological
trauma, imprisonment, recruitment into armed forces and separation
from their families.  They have also paid a very high price
indirectly, because resources spent on warfare deprive children of
developmental rights and opportunities in health, education, social
welfare and basic human needs.  Armed conflict, socio-economic
disparity and political injustice in the Arab region have been woven
into a harsh cycle.  Human despair and want often fuel warfare, which
in turn aggravates human despair, leading to ever more bitter and
chronic warfare.  The Cairo consultation declared that this situation
was unfair, unnecessary and unacceptable, and that its root causes and
symptoms have to be treated in all of their dimensions:  political,
economic, social, psychological, moral and spiritual, at the local,
regional and global levels. 

     Most Arab individuals and States look at the issues of peace and
justice as being intertwined and inseparable.  The consultation
recognized that the very concept of peace is often controversial in
the Arab region, because peace often refers merely to the absence of
war, is sometimes imposed for the purposes of others, and is not
always perceived to be just.

     At all of the sessions of the consultation, the following
cross-cutting themes were considered:  the moral and human rights of
children caught in conflicts, including their right to unimpaired
humanitarian assistance and psychological recovery, especially in the
context of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; longer term
preventive measures to reduce the incidence of armed conflict and to
promote justice, tolerance and peace; the rich legacy of the Arab
region in protecting children from the scourge of conflict and
preventing conflict by tapping indigenous traditions of multicultural
existence and pluralism; and practical proposals on how to bring about
changes in people's values, attitudes and behaviour, so as to minimize
the incidence of conflict and the suffering of children. 
     The Cairo consultation recommended two general actions that cut
across the sectoral issues discussed in the different sessions: 

     -   The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Economic and
         Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and other
         appropriate partners in the Arab region should document Arab
         experiences and lessons in protecting children in conflict
         situations, with a view to providing a platform for future
         Arab initiatives and allowing others throughout the world to
         share Arab experiences and lessons;

     -   Governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other
         interested parties in the Arab region, working with UNICEF
         and ESCWA, should formulate a plan of action, including
         immediate, medium-term and long-term measures to protect
         children who suffer violence or conflict situations, within
         the wider framework of full implementation of the Convention
         on the Rights of the Child.  

1.   Children as a zone of peace:  discussion

     In the session on children as a "zone of peace" it was noted that
the number of conflicts is increasing worldwide.  Nearly 90 percent of
war casualties today are suffered by civilians, most of whom are women
and children.  Consequently, the world is witnessing a steady increase
in child deaths, injuries and suffering, which are aggravated by the
increasing targeting of children and other civilians, and the
conscription into warfare of children below the age of 15 years. 

     The consultation emphasized the aim of working for the absolute
and comprehensive protection of all children in situations of
conflict:  children should never be allowed to play an active role in
warfare, and they must be offered immediate protection and assistance
when a conflict erupts. 

     The consultation noted that the ideal - the prevention of war -
requires addressing and eliminating the root causes of conflict; this
in turn challenges the people of the region to work for lasting and
sustainable peace, based on justice, social development and human
equity as well as economic progress.  Participatory, accountable and
democratic governance systems are more likely than autocratic systems
to value and to promote human rights and human development, and thus
can better promote domestic peace and regional stability.  It was also
recognized that emergency assistance would continue to be necessary to
alleviate suffering during conflicts, but that medium- and long-term
reforms must be promoted simultaneously to protect children from

     The issue of sanctions in the Arab region was discussed at some
length, given that several Arab and other Middle Eastern States suffer
from international sanctions.  United Nations or unilateral sanctions
were thought to be ineffective and to cause great hardship to children
and women.  They were also widely seen to have been applied in an
inconsistent manner that undermined the credibility of the United
Nations, often prompting some United Nations bodies and agencies to
deliver emergency assistance to people suffering from sanctions
imposed by other United Nations bodies and agencies.

     Children generate compassion among all people, and therefore it is
possible to mobilize nationally and globally for the sake of children
as a zone of peace.  The concept of a zones of peace can include
ceasefires, corridors of peace, days of tranquillity, zones without
conflict and other means of shielding children from warfare and/or
assuring their continued access to essential human services during a
conflict situation.  The consultation urged sensitivity to regional
cultural traditions, national experiences and political or
psychological attitudes when advocating child rights, in order to
achieve maximum credibility and results. 

     The work of national and international NGOs was recognized as very
important for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of
the Child, and should be strengthened whenever possible.  One way of
doing this is to encourage the participation of children and youth in
promoting compliance with the provisions of the Convention and in
other aspects of increasing compliance with child rights statutes, at
international, national and local levels. 

     Some ideas deemed worthy of further study included:  sending child
rights monitors to conflict zones, improving dissemination of
information about the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and
integrating the provisions of the Convention into country-level
programmes by Governments, United Nations bodies and agencies and

1.1  Children as a zone of peace:  recommendations

     -   National Governments, international organizations, NGOs and
         the media are asked to work together more effectively to
         designate aggression against children, including the
         hindering of the delivery of humanitarian aid, as a crime
         against humanity.  An essential first step to this end is to
         monitor the actions of warring parties, publicly identify
         aggressors who knowingly harm or victimize children in a
         conflict situation and subject them to existing legal bodies
         and sanctions;

     -   Develop more effective monitoring and surveillance systems to
         enforce existing humanitarian law and the Convention on the
         Rights of the Child;

     -   Promote a broad global coalition and commitment to children
         as zones of peace in conflict situations;

     -   Successful interventions to protect children in conflict
         situations should be publicized and recognized, in order to
         expand application of the concept of children as a zone of

     -   National and international bodies assisting or protecting
         children in times of war must cooperate and coordinate more
         effectively to shield children from the impact of war,
         especially by using ceasefires to strengthen the coping
         mechanisms of war-afflicted communities;

     -   Expand the concept of children as a zone of peace to include
         women and other civilians in war, and to offer long-term
         protection measures for children who are not in conflict

     -   Launch efforts to expand the Convention on the Rights of the
         Child from a formal, legal agreement among States to a broad
         moral platform for global protection of children, women and
         all civilians suffering from conflicts or other situations of

     -   Hold perpetrators of violence against children, whether in
         conflict or non-conflict situations, responsible for their
         actions, even years after the violence has ended, because
         children themselves suffer the negative consequences of
         violence for a very long time, sometimes permanently;

     -   Amend article 38 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
         to raise the age of recruitment in armies from 15 to 18

     -   Advocate a global ban on the manufacture of anti-personnel
         mines, by legally banning their production and by publicly
         naming the mines manufacturers and lobbying in their

     -   Press Governments and militias not to recruit or accept child
         soldiers.  Raise the minimum age of combatants from 15 to 18
         years, enforce the existing minimum age provision more
         strictly, promote a range of positive, suitable alternatives
         and incentives, including education and employment, in order
         to discourage the recruitment of child soldiers, and refine
         skills and methods for their demobilization so that the
         violence-prone attitudes of soldiers are not transposed into
         civil society after wars end;

     -   Capitalize on global events such as the 1996 Olympic Games to
         call for suspension of conflicts.  Organize parallel global
         events that would draw attention to the suffering of children
         and civilians in war and the right of all children to be
         protected from such suffering;

     -   The United Nations and the international community are urged
         to stop enforcing economic sanctions against countries, owing
         to the sanctions' adverse impact on the lives of children. 
         These sanctions contradict the basic concept of children as a
         zone of peace and also detract from the United Nations
         credibility in the Arab region, and consequently impede its
         efforts to promote compliance with the concept of children as
         a zone of peace and the Convention on the Rights of the

     -   All Governments are asked to offer obligatory courses to all
         their police, soldiers and security personnel on humanitarian
         law and dealing with children in conflict situations. 

2.   Women as active agents for peace:  discussion

     The role of women in conflict situations as active agents for
peace was analysed, taking into consideration that Arab women's
movements are sometimes portrayed as having a Western orientation and
approach, which prevents them from addressing the immediate and
critical needs of Arab women.  This renders the discussion on the role
of women in peacemaking a very sensitive topic.  Two case studies
presented at the consultation reviewed the achievements of women's
NGOs in promoting peace and in resistance movements in Lebanon and
Palestine, highlighting women's multiple roles as activists, mothers,
community leaders, professionals, widows and breadwinners.  A third
presentation highlighted the social, historical and political
constraints on women's active participation in the public sphere in
the Arab region.

     The participants also observed that women in the Arab world have
faced legal, cultural and social constraints to participation.  This
has determined the context of the women's human rights agenda in the
Arab region, and also constrained the capacity of Arab women to play
an effective role in promoting peace and development and in protecting
children in times of war. 

     The consultation assessed violations of women's rights in the Arab
region and the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, including
structural violence, internal displacement, rape, access to land and
property rights, security, the right to nationality, sexual violence,
and increase of female heads of households.  The participants reviewed
structural and other forms of violence not classified as armed
conflict that affect women in Arab societies, including boycotts and
curfews, poverty, anti-women propaganda, child labour, gender and
domestic violence, and the linkages between public violence and
domestic violence. 

     Women's rights were discussed within the context of economic and
political crises in oppressed societies and the Arab region. 
Prevailing attitudes in the Arab region towards women's activism were
debated, including the perception of Arab feminism as an offshoot of a
Western phenomenon that can only lead to the disintegration of Arab
society and family, and the tendency by some to blame women and the
struggle for their rights for "corrupting" Muslim societies.  The
participants emphasized the difficulty of organizing around women's
rights in the Arab region owing to the political, historical and
cultural context of women's status, as well as contradictions in the
Arab region between women's legal and actual status.  The consultation
also discussed how political manipulation can affect women in the Arab

     It was pointed out that girls and women usually do not have the
same access as boys and men to education and other resources, and that
their roles and responsibilities are portrayed stereotypically in the
media and in curricula.  The role of men in the family context and as
perpetrators of conflict and violence was also discussed, and the need
to create an environment for attitudinal changes regarding the role
and rights of women and girls was affirmed.

2.1  Women as active agents of peace:  recommendations

     -   Arab Governments, NGOs and other relevant parties are urged
         to strictly enforce international humanitarian law that
         protects all children, irrespective to their gender, and
         promotes gender equality, particularly the Convention on the
         Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of
         All Forms of Discrimination against Women.  In particular,
         Arab States that have not done so are urged to ratify the
         Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on
         the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,
         and all States are urged to ensure that domestic legislation
         conforms with the provisions of the Conventions.  Arab States
         are also urged to ensure women's full rights by removing any
         contradictions or gaps between international laws and
         constitutional guarantees of equal rights for men and women,
         on the one hand, and existing legal discrimination between
         men and women, on the other;

     -   Governments, national NGOs and international organizations
         are urged to increase their advocacy for women's human rights
         and to support and strengthen women's institutions and
         organizational efforts at the local, national and
         international levels.  Such efforts should include the use of
         mass media and other community communication channels,
         perhaps also including international broadcasting services
         for women and children.  They should impact on the full range
         of women's needs, rights, potentialities and aspirations,
         including areas such as democratization, economic
         development, peacemaking, conflict resolution and prevention,
         sustainable human development and child survival.  There is
         also a need to encourage attitudinal change among men and
         women; to create opportunities for the advancement of women
         and girls in non-traditional roles and professions; to
         support national and regional NGOs which sensitize their
         communities to gender issues by drawing upon cultural and
         religious values to give cultural legitimacy to their cause;

     -   There is a need to increase resources to women in order to
         support their additional caretaking responsibilities
         resulting from armed conflict; this can be done through the
         provision of services, loans and credit, and the promotion of
         women's economic empowerment.  Special support should be
         given to households headed by women in displaced communities;

     -   The nature and consequences of violence against women,
         including sexual violence, should be documented and
         highlighted, as well as the linkages between warfare, a
         culture of violence, domestic violence and sexual violence
         against women and children;

     -   Rape should be condemned as an act of violence and preventive
         and remedial action should be taken to protect all women and
         girls against sexual violence;

     -   Rape against women and girls in wartime should be designated
         as a war crime and measures should be taken to ensure that
         perpetrators of rape crimes are brought to trial as criminals
         of war;

     -   Gender analysis should be used to look at the differential
         impact of armed conflict on men and women, in order to design
         effective responses for the protection and care of families. 
         The physical, social and psychological impact of war on women
         should be studied and given increased attention. 

3.   Community-based approaches to psychological recovery and social
     reintegration:  discussion

     Reviewing Arab experiences in social and psychological recovery
during and after armed conflict, the participants noted the importance
of looking at recovery and reintegration of children in a holistic
manner that includes all aspects of the wider community and its
values.  Recovery and reintegration of children who have suffered
violence require the full participation of the community and all of
its material, human and moral assets. 

     The participants emphasized the critical role of the family and
the community in psychological rehabilitation, especially owing to the
communal nature of Arab culture, in which extended families and tribal
networks provide significant support in times of need.  All
participants agreed that basic education is a critical means of
recovery, and noted the close relationship between basic education and
peace education.  They also stressed the importance of training a
range of specialists and other community members for increasing
society's ability to provide families with techniques that can help
them to cope better in conflict situations.  The importance of play
for children recovering from war trauma was also touched upon.  The
participants stressed the importance of providing some normalcy for
children who undergo situations of violence.  The critical importance
of quick intervention was recognized.  Time heals, but time heals more
quickly if interventions start as soon as possible after the onset of
a conflict.

     The situation of children in Yemen suggested a need for greater
sensitivity to local cultural particularities in devising
interventions for psychological adjustment and care in war situations. 
The situation of children in Gaza pointed out how children can have
both positive and negative perceptions of practitioners of violence
and extremism on both sides of a conflict, and how such perceptions
can have a lasting impact on children.  The participants raised the
question of the consequences of violence on the aggressor as well as
on the victim.  Research work in Lebanon highlighted the very high
rates of trauma, depression, stress and other psychological ailments
due to war.  In some countries such as Palestine and Lebanon, an
entire generation has lost its childhood to war, and reintegrating
this generation into normal civil society will be a major challenge. 
Discussion also dealt with the need to formulate different
rehabilitation programmes to cater for different trauma situations. 
It was pointed out that the way to approach child soldiers might
differ from the way in which children who have been living under the
stress of war for a long time are approached.

3.1  Community-based approaches:  recommendations

     -   The comprehensive and complete recovery, rehabilitation and
         care of traumatized children should be affirmed as a basic
         right of all children, in accordance with the Convention on
         the Rights of the Child.  Comprehensive and complete recovery
         should include physical, psychological, social, nutritional,
         educational and other aspects of a child's well-being;

     -   Governments, NGOs, specialized professionals and
         international bodies are requested to develop training and
         information modules comprising simple, easy-to-apply
         techniques for community-based psychological and physical
         recovery and social reintegration of children impacted by
         war.  The use of such modules by various institutions in
         society, such as the mass media or religious groups, should
         be promoted so as to reach families with effective
         information that they can be easily applied;

     -   There is a need to expand training programmes for teachers,
         social workers, health personnel, parents and others in the
         community with whom children come into contact on a daily
         basis, in order to increase society's capacity to cope with
         the complete rehabilitation and reintegration of children;

     -   Emergency humanitarian assistance should be expanded to
         include basic education as a fundamental human need and
         "psychological first aid" for children in conflict
         situations, so that they can start recovering even at the
         onset of an emergency situation.

4.   Education for tolerance and global education:  discussion

     The education of a child far transcends formal schooling, because
a child's values and attitudes are formed by contacts outside school,
with the family, peers, the community, the media, the religious
establishments, the Government and others.  The participants
emphasized that working for social justice, tolerance and peace is a
highly skilled and demanding work that requires training and
professionalism.  It was suggested that healers and reconciliators be
recruited and mobilized from the ranks of educators and others in
society to promote justice and peace among the young of our societies.

     The participants reviewed examples of community and national
summer camps and other interventions that have helped to promote
dialogue, healing, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.  They noted
the need for further work to explore how such positive efforts could
be expanded to involve society as a whole.  The notion of peace needs
to be defined around human development in its broadest sense.  The
importance of social tolerance and inner peace was emphasized as a
prerequisite for political peace, both within States and between
States.  It was also agreed that genuine, sustainable peace can occur
more quickly in societies that enjoy social justice, human dignity and
participatory decision-making than in societies characterized by
autocracy, inequity and economic disparity. 

     The quality, relevance and content of formal basic education were
discussed and were found to be lacking throughout the Arab world.  The
participants agreed that there is an urgent need to replace rote
learning with critical, analytical thinking and more open debate. 
This would help develop children's positive social skills, attitudes
and values.  The key to quality education lies in the quality of
teachers.  This can often compensate for deficiencies in curricula,
buildings and other educational resources.  Cooperative rather than
competitive learning is also an important ingredient for promoting
such values as tolerance and interdependence.

     Discussions also dealt with education methodologies that attempt
to instil values of tolerance, justice, gender equity,
interdependence, self-awareness, non-violent conflict resolution and
environmental protection, such as peace education, education for
development, and global education.  It was noted that these programmes
need to be defined clearly, and consensus was gained on the necessity
of targeting quality education.  Some of these programmes are already
in the process of implementation in some Arab countries:  global
education in Lebanon and Jordan and education for peace in Egypt.  It
was emphasized that the content of these programmes should be
carefully designed by Arab educators to respond to indigenous needs,
aspirations and experiences.  It was also suggested that relevant NGOs
be involved in decision-making processes concerning changes in
national curricula.

4.1  Education for tolerance/global education:  recommendations

     -   Governments, educators and other concerned parties are urged

         -     Continue to advocate strongly for improving the content
               and quality of education, especially basic education;

         -     Ensure that education is firmly rooted in the traditional
               and national values of the country in question, and the
               broader values of the Arab region;

         -     Promote and circulate such universal human values as
               tolerance, justice, gender equity, interdependence,
               self-awareness, environmental protection and other life
               skills that can help promote the prevention and
               resolution of conflict, the enhancement of peace and
               stability and the well-being of the Arab community and of
               humankind as a whole;

         -     Promote further improvements in teacher quality,
               curricular reform and educational methodologies which are
               conducive to critical thinking, creativity, dialogue and
               other constructive values and skills, as defined through
               the local culture's experiences and values;

     -   Governments, educators, NGOs and concerned international
         bodies are asked to affirm that formal, non-formal and
         informal education interventions delivered through a variety
         of community channels form an essential part of children's
         learning experience, and that these should be accessible to
         children in situations of conflict;

     -   Parents and youth, along with experts and practitioners,
         should be given more opportunity to play an active role in
         contributing to the design, content and implementation of
         curricula and educational methodologies, especially those
         designed to instil moral values and attitudinal change;

     -   Governments and practitioners are urged to ensure
         transparency and public debate in all aspects of educational
         planning, including the selection of content and the
         assessment and implementation of learning;

     -   NGOs should take part in monitoring and assessing the
         revision of curricula;

     -   All Arab countries, without exception, are urged to promote
         the common values of tolerance and mutual respect.

5.   Role of media and social communication channels in situations of
     armed conflict and violence:  discussion

     Media and community communication channels in the Arab world only
occasionally highlight the rights of children in conflicts or violent
situations.  At the same time, however, Arab society has been a world
leader in mobilizing communities to improve the health and well-being
of children.  This indicates a need to explore more carefully how
informal and formal Arab communication channels can mobilize society
for the well-being and protection of children.  The media are also
important to the well-being of children because of the many ways in
which they impact on the character and values of children.  The
ongoing modernization, liberalization and fragmentation of many
contemporary Arab societies suggest the need to use multiple channels
to reach different audiences. 

     The mass media is a tool for education and value-formation among
youth, and as such it should be recognized and used constructively. 
In peacetime, it was noted, the media projects a considerable amount
of violence onto the minds of children, but it can also be used to
help children develop the critical thinking they need to be able to
cope with the violence they encounter in their daily lives.  In war
and peace situations, the media could constructively play a double
role:  promoting conflict resolution through peaceful means, and
preventing conflict through programmes which promote tolerance and
peaceful coexistence. 

     It was noted that national and international media has not
sufficiently pointed out obvious violations of international
humanitarian law in conflicts in the Arab region, and indeed has often
taken sides.  The mass media cannot end warfare, but if informed,
professional and activist it can help to expand compliance with
humanitarian laws in order to reduce the suffering of children and
other civilians caught in war situations.  Arab, Western and
international media professionals selectively choose the nature and
tone of their coverage of important issues, usually on the basis of
their ideological or commercial interests.  The example of child
soldiers and their treatment in Arab and global media - whether
vilified or admired - shows how such selectivity operates.

     The media's dominance by commercial entertainment and political
ideologies makes it difficult to use as an advocate for children.  The
advent of the satellite-based commercial media market, which is beyond
the control of Governments, requires creative and diligent research
efforts to develop new means of using these systems to reach families
with information that can promote the well-being and protection of
children.  It was agreed that such use of the media must be undertaken
with deep cultural sensitivity to local values, experiences and

     It is impossible to separate media coverage of child rights issues
from the wider social, economic and political context of third world
societies; similarly, it is hard to differentiate between the
exploitation of children in times of war or peace, for in both cases
economically stressed families find their children gravitating towards
labour markets or armies/militias.

     Arab-owned media in the region and internationally has not used
its access to mass audiences to work sufficiently for children's
rights and other humanitarian issues.  It was agreed that Arab
individuals and institutions should be actively involved in launching
public international information campaigns to promote values of
tolerance and respect for international conventions on protection of
children, women and civilians in conflict situations.  This should
parallel domestic efforts to promote a new Arab attitude to the
enforcement of international conventions and other means of protecting
children.  It was suggested that a global mass media network be
launched to provide politically impartial broadcasting emphasizing
humanism instead of particular ideologies or commercial interests.

5.1  The role of the media:  recommendations

     -   UNICEF, NGOs, Governments and concerned specialists are asked
         to continuously provide media professionals with information
         that can be used to promote the well-being of children.  This
         effort should comprise at least four separate components:

         -     Provision of information, facilities and training to mass
               media personnel, in order to stimulate their interest in,
               and awareness of, child rights issues and to improve
               their ability to cover such issues in an accurate manner;

         -     Offering of annual prizes, awards or other incentives to
               encourage and reward good media coverage on child rights;

         -     Production of good quality, conveniently accessible
               information by the United Nations family and other
               national and international bodies, for easy use by the
               media, especially on emerging issues such as child

         -     Development of a more professional and competitive
               information marketing strategy aimed at the mass media by
               the United Nations, international and national agencies,
               in order to generate more effective media coverage of
               child rights issues around the world;

     -   NGOs and other community groups should be trained in ways of
         using the mass media to promote child rights' issues;

     -   NGOs in the Arab world are requested to establish one or more
         media watch groups to routinely monitor and rate the
         performance of national, regional and international media in
         four specific areas:

         -     Coverage of issues related to the rights of children,
               women, civilians, ethnic and religious minorities in
               times of conflict and peace;

         -     Role in reporting and monitoring violations of the
               Convention on the Rights of the Child and other
               international conventions related to the protection of
               children, women and other civilians;

         -     Depiction of children, with particular attention to their
               manipulation for political ends; 

         -     Treatment of violence and its impacts on children,
               including their depiction of children and women in times
               of war;

     -   Media organizations are requested to provide children with
         unfettered access to the media so that they may present their
         views without being manipulated.  Governments, NGOs and
         international organizations are asked to lobby for greater
         participation of children in the media;

     -   Mass media institutions in the Arab world are requested to
         consult with educators so as to use the media to deliver
         emergency basic education programming when the normal
         education system ceases to function due to warfare.

                                   Annex III


                         (Abidjan, 7-10 November 1995)

                 WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA

     Large areas of West and Central Africa have become boiling
cauldrons of tension and conflict.  Development in countries such as
Chad, Congo, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria,
Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Zaire has been stymied by economic,
political and social crises for periods lasting as long as 10 years. 
Many of these countries are in situations of armed conflict and
prolonged insecurity.

     The vestiges of colonialism and persistent economic, social and
political crises have greatly contributed to the disintegration of
public order.  The collapse of functional Governments in many
countries of the region, the personalization of power and leadership
and the manipulation of ethnicity and religion to serve personal or
narrow group interest have fomented inequalities, grievances and

     "Total war" is increasingly being waged within national
boundaries.  Nothing is spared in the quest for power and control -
not crops, nor women, children, schools, health-care facilities or
places of worship.  Unbridled attacks on civilians and rural
communities have provoked mass flights and displacement of entire
populations in search of ephemeral sanctuaries within and outside
national borders.  Children and women constitute the overwhelming
majority among the uprooted millions in the subregion and other
trouble spots in Africa.  These wars are characterized by the
indiscriminate destruction of lives and property and unprecedented
numbers of human rights violations against children and women. 
Increasingly, children have become both targets and perpetrators of
violence and atrocities.

     Many Governments have contributed to the increasing militarization
of society and the creation of a culture of violence and insecurity,
where banditry and pillage have become the norm.  Military expenditure
within the region is glaringly disproportionate to spending on
education, health or social development.  In many conflict theatres,
Governments and opposition forces have resorted to the use of


Root causes of conflicts in West and Central Africa

1.   African regional, subregional and national research institutions,
associations and networks, such as the Council for Development of
Economic and Social Research in Africa (CODESRIA), the African
Association of Political Science and others, should intensify their
efforts to systematically assess the patterns and causes of conflict
and provide data on their impact on women and children.

2.   Civil society organizations at the national, regional and
subregional level, should establish mechanisms to ensure a due process
of accountability for those who have violated the rights of women and
children in conflict situations.

3.   National dialogues, involving the military and civil society,
should be organized in all African countries with a view to changing
the attitudes of the military and enlisting its support for democracy,
good governance and conflict prevention.  This should be reinforced
through training in these areas, particularly in human rights and with
specific reference to the protection of women and children in times of
war and peace.

4.   The concept of children as a zone of peace must be defended
vigorously.  Children must be made untouchable and inviolate, and
active measures must be taken to ensure this, even during the height
of armed conflicts.

Child rights

5.   As the first subregion (consisting of 23 countries) to have
ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Governments in
West and Central Africa are called upon to implement its provisions
and to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women.  This is to be undertaken with the full
support of UNICEF, the United Nations Development Fund for Women
(UNIFEM), NGOs and civil society organizations.

6.   Regional organizations and the international community must
collaborate to censure Governments and armed groups that flout the
standards of the Convention.  Remedies for violations should also be

7.   All national and grass-roots NGOs are urged to widely disseminate
the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against
Women to create an enabling environment for child rights activities. 
Networks of professionals such as paediatricians, lawyers and
educators are also encouraged to raise the issues of children and war
in all their work.

8.   The United Nations, the international community and Africa's
regional and subregional organizations must act to declare the
targeting of children and their recruitment as soldiers as a war crime
and crime against humanity.

9.   Children have the right to help shape their own lives.  They have
the right to their own beliefs and to express them, and to participate
in decisions affecting their lives.  Children must be an integral part
of the design and implementation of programmes and strategies directed
towards their care.

Arms trade, shipment and mercenaries

10.  The United Nations is called upon to ensure the effective
enforcement of a total ban on arms shipments to conflict areas in
Africa and work for a total ban on the production, stockpiling and
export of anti-personnel landmines.

11.  International, regional and national institutions are urged to
strengthen their advocacy and monitoring functions in this regard with
a focus on the most vulnerable countries as a priority.

12.  Governments and armed opposition groups who engage mercenaries
must cease forthwith this practice.  In this regard, the Organization
of African Unity Convention on the Elimination of Mercenarism in
Africa should be strictly enforced.

13.  Africa's civil society organizations at the regional, subregional
and national levels are urged to establish networks and mechanisms to
systematically monitor, publicize and disseminate findings about the
transfer and supply of arms to the various conflicts areas in Africa.

Other general recommendations

14.  The flexible interpretation of the principle of "non-interference"
in the internal affairs of member States - which has enabled OAU to
undertake creative initiatives in peace-building and resolution -
should be strengthened to reflect the dynamism of African common bonds
and traditional norms of shared responsibility for the welfare of
every member of the community, be it intra- or across borders.

15.  The Organization of Africa Unity, the Economic Commission for
Africa and subregional bodies such as Economic Community of West
African States (ECOWAS) must develop a more proactive capacity and
role in conflict prevention, management and resolution.

16.  African countries, with the support of international partners,
must make education for peace and tolerance an integral part of all
levels of the formal education system.  National NGOs must also
strengthen their efforts in fostering informal and non-formal
education for reconciliation and development.

17.  Chairperson of the study on the impact of armed conflict on
children, Ms. Grac'a Machel, is called upon to lead a delegation of
eminent African women leaders and children affected by armed conflicts
to address the 1996 Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the
Organization of African Unity to underscore the need for decisive and
urgent action to mitigate the impact of conflict on women and


     Gender violence has become a systematic weapon of war and
repression.  The use of rape as an instrument of war and social
destruction is a phenomenon which the late twentieth century can call
its own, and Africa is no exception.  In conflict situations, parents,
and especially mothers, are critically important to a child's survival
and development.

     Motherhood is only one aspect of women's lives.  Women are also
workers, heads of household, leaders, activists, sisters, daughters,
wives and widows.  Women are essential to the survival of their
families and communities, and have economic, reproductive and mental
health needs that extend well beyond their role as mothers.

     In situations of armed conflict, and even in times of peace,
displaced and refugee women and girls have special reproductive,
maternal health care and mental health counselling needs that are
related to the effects of rape and sexual abuse, pregnancy and
childbirth complications, poor sanitation conditions in camps, and the
loss of traditional community supports.  Health education, preventive
care and counselling are especially important for women and girls who
have been raped, who have undergone female genital mutilation or who
have been forced into prostitution and are more vulnerable to sexually
transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.


18.  Africa's civil society organizations at the regional, subregional
and national level are called upon to document the particular nature
and consequences of violence against women, including sexual violence,
in situations of conflict and peace.  They are called upon to further
document the various linkages between warfare, the culture of
violence, domestic violence and sexual violence against women and

19.  Child advocacy organizations must develop systematic media
campaigns to reinforce the human rights of women and girls and to help
reverse negative socialization processes.

20.  Child advocacy organizations are called upon to develop gender
sensitization training for educators, judicial authorities, the police
and army.

21.  Humanitarian and relief agencies are urged to develop gender
sensitive responses for the care and protection of women and girls in
conflict situations, including the provision of appropriate health
services and trauma counselling for victims of violence.

22.  The United Nations is called upon to declare rape as a weapon of
war and a crime against humanity, and to work with national entities
to ensure the strict enforcement of this standard.

23.  Legislation pertaining to rape and sexual assault is applicable
regardless of the victim's age.  Defilement, the rape or sexual
assault of a girl less than 14 years of age, shall enact no lesser
punishable charge, as is the case in some West and Central African

24.  Africa's regional and subregional organizations must ensure the
active involvement of women in conflict prevention, peacemaking and
conflict resolution.

                             III.  CHILD SOLDIERS

     The use of children as weapons of war is an affront to humanity. 
In West and Central Africa, children, as young as 8 and 10 years of
age have been forcibly recruited, coerced or induced to become
combatants.  Although exact figures are unavailable, the estimated
20,000 to 50,000 child combatants often cited is considered an
underestimate.  Approximately 90 per cent of all child soldiers are
boys.  Survival, self esteem, revenge of the death of family members,
peer group pressure and coercion by adults and family members are some
of the factors compelling children to participate in the wars in West
and Central Africa.

     The demobilization of child soldiers has been constrained for a
variety of reasons, including the lack of political will on the part
of military leaders; the absence of sanctions against recruitment;
weak national demobilization structures; and the social disintegration
of families and communities.

     There is an urgent need to develop guidelines for the
psychological recovery and social reintegration of child soldiers. 
Several issues related to programming were emphasized:  (1) children
have experienced conflict both as perpetrators and victims of
violence; (2) communities and others traumatized by war may perceive
demobilization and reintegration programmes as "rewards" to
combatants; (3) beneficiaries often have heightened expectations of
programmes and services; (4) donors often have a weak understanding of
the funding requirements; (5) psychological recovery and improved
socio-economic conditions require sustained and long-term
interventions; (6) few employment, vocational or educational
opportunities may exist in war-torn communities.

     Programme responses must be developed in the best interest of the
child along the continuum:  the prevention of children's participation
in armed conflicts, disarmament and demobilization, interim care,
family reunification and social reintegration.


25.  All warring parties, government and non-State, to conflict, are
urged to demobilize all child soldiers under the age of 18

26.  International and national civil society organizations and human
rights groups should develop systems for exposing violators of child
rights and other human rights conventions in times of war.  Efforts
should be made to ensure that the conscription age, limited to 18
years, is adhered to at all times.

27.  Governments should ban or censor war films and prohibit the sale
of war games and toys in war-torn countries.

28.  While clinical and medical treatment of war affected and
traumatized children can be effective, field experience has
demonstrated that family and community-centred approaches to
psychological recovery and social reintegration are significantly more
effective and should be developed.

29.  Psychosocial support and other relevant assistance should also be
made available to other victims such as institutionalized children,
disabled children, and those suffering from acute mental and
psychological distress.

30.  The war trauma college in Liberia should be strengthened so that
it can serve as a regional training and research centre in West Africa
and Central Africa.

                  ON CHILDREN AND WOMEN

     The most compelling challenge facing Africans today is to stop the
wars that have devastated entire nations, communities and families. 
Africans must take leadership in fulfilling their moral obligation to
protect and care for those rendered most vulnerable by armed
conflicts.  They need to shatter the political inertia that has
impeded the care and protection of civilians, and especially children
and women.  The fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations signals an
important juncture to develop an integrated and comprehensive approach
to preventive development.  Towards this end, the capacity of
organizations at regional, subregional and national levels should be
strengthened in the areas of conflict prevention and preventive

     This will require, in the first instance, strategies that address
the root causes of conflict and promote sustainable human development. 
Democratization, good governance and a functional civil society are
essential for the protection of human rights.  Preventive strategies
that respond to the systemic economic crises and environmental
degradation affecting many countries in conflict or on the verge of
conflict are essential.  African Governments must reconsider the
consequent changing role of the military in "internal" conflicts as
well as ways in which the military can be used to protect civilians
and promote conflict resolution.  Training in human rights and
humanitarian law and other preparedness measures are also important at
all levels of Government and civil society.

     Africans must build upon local traditions of conflict prevention,
peacemaking, peacekeeping and conflict resolution and involve women
centrally in these efforts.  The family is an important social,
economic, and cultural institution where healthy attitudes can be
fostered.  The role of the African family in promoting education for
peace and reconciliation must be strengthened in conjunction with
other informal and non-formal educational approaches that promote
reconciliation and harmony.


31.  OAU is urged to collaborate with regional, subregional and
national NGOs and governmental entities to develop its preparedness
measures and early warning systems (EWS).  Towards this end, a
practical "how-to kit" should be developed for use by Governments,
agencies and NGOs.

32.  OAU is urged to further systemize the collection and dissemination
of all relevant information pertaining to emergency and conflict

33.  African research institutions are urged to study the application
of indigenous and traditional mechanisms of conflict resolution to
contemporary situations of conflict.

34.  OAU is urged to convene a meeting of army chiefs of staff to
discuss preparedness measures and participation in an African regional
rapid reaction force.  Member States are urged to maintain specially
trained and equipped contingents to participate in the rapid reaction

35.  Human rights and child advocacy organizations at the national
level are urged to establish truth commissions at national, regional
and district levels to document the incidence and extent of abuse of
women and children in conflict situations.

36.  Governments, in cooperation with organizations of civil society,
are urged to adopt measures that focus on the implementation of
humanitarian law and that strengthen the judicial structures of
countries in conflict and post-conflict situations.

37.  The United Nations is called upon to allocate increased resources
to preventive development strategies that address the root causes of

                           V.  SELECTED INITIATIVES

     At the consultation, participants representing a diverse range of
NGOs, agencies and civil society identified three main areas for
further discussion.  A session was added to the programme agenda for
bilateral discussions to agree upon plans of action in the following

     (1) The promotion of the rights of the child in situations of
         armed conflict;

     To promote child rights advocacy and networking at the national
and regional levels, as well as the application and monitoring of
international standards at the national level.

     (2) Regional networking in the area of trauma counselling for
         children affected by armed conflicts;

     To propose ways and means to establish and operationalize an
effective network system in the area of trauma counselling in the West
and Central Africa subregion to ensure the protection and well-being
of children and women in situations of armed conflict.

     (3) National truth commissions for reconciliation;

     To explore the potential of national truth commissions as a
mechanism at the national level to help facilitate social
reintegration and reconciliation.  The working group considered
various strategies to document human rights violations, as well as
mechanisms of recourse (including legal action, cultural sanction,
pardon or clemency) by Governments, human rights organizations, civil
society and other interested persons.

                                  Appendix I

                           EXTRA PLENARY DISCUSSIONS

Group One:     IMPUNITY:  Methods for publicizing/documenting crimes
               against children and women caught in conflict situations.

               How to establish national truth commissions by national
               civil society organizations?

Chairperson:  Ms. Mary Okumu, Forum for African Voluntary Development
(FAVDO), Senegal

     The consultation recommended further discussion of the potential
of national truth commissions as a mechanism at the national level to
help facilitate social reintegration and reconciliation.  The working
group noted the existence of 16 national truth commissions worldwide
in countries such as Argentina, Burundi, El Salvador, South Africa,
Uganda and Viet Nam.  The Uganda experience was considered as an
important model.  The Commissions have sought to ensure justice for
victims, and to facilitate healing, reconciliation, and the
reconstruction of affected families, communities and nations.  The
working group considered various strategies to document human rights
violations, as well as mechanisms of recourse (including legal action,
cultural sanction, pardon or clemency) by Governments, human rights
organizations, civil society and other interested persons. 

     The working group noted both the importance of government support
for the national truth commission process and concern for situations
in which members of Government were implicated in human rights
violations.  The group recommended that NGOs with broad popular
support and experience with human rights work should take leadership
of an independent process supported by aggrieved families/communities,
civic organizations, NGOs and interested individuals.

     The group stressed the need for national truth commissions to
reassert the fundamental importance and respect for the sanctity of
human life, and to establish ethical, moral, legal and political
accountability of leaders and civil society more broadly.  They should
emphasize alternatives to retribution that build on African traditions
of forgiveness and reconciliation.


Mechanisms for national truth commissions:

-    National truth commissions should provide strong sanctions
     inspired by and drawn from African traditions (including the
     practice of publicly shaming violators and the barring from public

-    NGOs and others are encouraged to develop mechanisms to help
     prevent crimes and abuses against children;

-    National truth commissions should also facilitate the
     rehabilitation of violators;

-    National truth commissions, in cooperation with other human rights
     and civil society organizations, are urged to establish mechanisms
     for ensuring accountability of the political leadership;

-    National truth commissions and others are urged to promote civic
     education for national leaders, schools and other social


Methods for documenting and publicizing crimes against children:

-    Improve networking among NGOs and regional civic organizations on
     issues of war crimes in Africa;

-    Identify supportive journalists (in print and electronic media) in
     war-affected countries/subregions to advocate/promote a society
     free from crimes against children and women;

-    Coordinate pictorial and written documentation and dissemination
     of testimonies, with a special emphasis on the experiences and
     violations of women's and children's rights.

Group Two:     ARMED CONFLICTS AND CHILDREN:  Promotion and protection
               of the rights of the child

               NETWORKING:  Who takes the lead in the region?

Chairperson:  Ms. Zoe Tembo, Executive Director, African Centre for
Democracy and Human Rights Studies, Gambia

The working group proposed the following areas of action:

1.   Sensitization

     NGOS represented at the consultation are urged to mount a vigorous
public information campaign in their respective countries, to ensure
that parents, families, schools and policy makers in the various
government departments become conversant with the provisions of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child and other human rights
conventions relating to children and women's welfare.

2.   Networking

     UNICEF is urged to take the lead to build a network, in all
countries of the subregion, that would help coordinate NGOs and
individuals engaged in the promotion of child rights and facilitate
information sharing. 

3.   Data bank

     Establish a centralized data bank to provide relevant and timely
information to organizations and practitioners working in the area of
child rights and welfare.

4.   Review mechanism

     Where appropriate, assist Governments to develop new legislation
and to integrate the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women and other relevant instruments into
national laws and judicial systems. 

     With support from UNICEF and UNIFEM, multilateral and subregional
bodies, including ECA, the African Development Bank, OAU and other
specialized development agencies, are urged to establish an effective
mechanism to monitor and review compliance and implementation of all
laws pertaining to the rights and welfare of children and women. 

5.   Machel study

     The Machel study group is urged to mobilize resources to develop
and fund all possible measures that will contribute to reduce the
suffering of children whose lives have been shattered by war.

Group Three:  Trauma counselling prevention and community-based
              methodologies for healing for child soldiers, refugee and
              displaced children, and violently abused women and girls.

Chairperson:  Dr. Esther Guluma, Programme Officer, UNICEF Kenya

Objective:     To propose ways and means to establish and operationalize
               an effective network system in the area of trauma
               counselling in the West and Central Africa subregion to
               ensure the protection and well-being of children and
               women in situations of armed conflict. 

Strategy:  The network should have three basic components: 

          Information flow;

          Structure or mechanism; and

          What-who-when modalities for guiding action and monitoring of

1.   Information

     The bodies which should be linked in a flow and exchange of
information should include youth and women organizations, as well as
colleges, universities and research institutions which will assist in
the handling of training programmes.  Social workers, clinical
psychologists, gynaecologists, traditional healers, nurses and
paramedics are examples of the professionals who should be linked in
the flow of information to and from the network. 

     The general database should cover early warning indicators on
refugee/ displaced persons movement as well as economic changes in the
area and their impact on communities.  Numbers of child soldiers, sex
workers, handicapped children and reports of sexual violence such as
rape should be monitored and included as data on child rights abuses. 
A clearing house to handle research results, case studies and models
of project interventions should also be provided.

2.   Structure/mechanism

     The structure should include a children's national network for
each country and a children's regional network to coordinate the
exchange of information.  Some of the effective tools that could be
used are newsletters, direct exchange visits and meetings, which could
be conducted as frequently as necessary on the national network level
and at least once a year on the regional network level.

3.   What-who-when modalities for action

     As an immediate need, a training institute for para-professionals
to deal with trauma among war affected children must be set up in the
francophone countries, using and improving on the Liberian model for
the rehabilitation of child soldiers.  Governments and professional
organizations should get together to do this now.

     Trauma prevention and treatment materials should be prepared and
ways must be found to include them in school curriculum as well as
community based rehabilitation activities.  Key areas to cover in this
respect are needs of child soldiers, other traumatized children and
women, and women and children who have suffered physical and
psychological abuse. 

     A referral centre for the treatment of trauma must be provided
for.  It must focus on community based measures, using holistic
approaches at all times and linked to other ongoing rehabilitation
activities in the communities. 

                                  Appendix II

                               AND ASSOCIATIONS

     The Union of African Paediatric Societies and Associations (Dakar)
will address the health and human rights impact of war on children in
Africa and plans to conduct a pre-Congress workshop on children and
war at the time of its next African Congress scheduled to be held in
Kampala, Uganda, in November 1996.

     This effort will be made in coordination with the International
Paediatric Association which, at its International Congress in Cairo
in September 1995, addressed issues of children and war and passed
resolutions on these issues.

     Dr. Ihsan Dogramau (Turkey), Honorary President

     Dr. Gavin Arneil (Glasgow, United Kingdom), President

     Dr. Robert Haggerty (Rochester, United States of America),
Executive      Director

     Dr. Jane Schaller (Boston, United States of America), Consultant -
children    and war.

                                 Appendix III


     We are extremely grateful to UNICEF, Ms. Grac'a Machel and her
study team for permitting us to share our views, proposals, dilemmas
and dreams with this august body.  We are also grateful that we can
join our eastern, southern and northern African brothers and sisters
in identifying the problems affecting us.

     The fact that we have been ill-treated is strange in no society. 
In  making our rights known, we must not forget the rights also of our
mothers, who out of their diligent efforts have brought us into this
world, not with the idea of us joining them in suffering, but that we
(make) the betterment in changing the lives of both us and them.  But
we have both suffered the hardships of wars, namely, hunger, trauma,
malnutrition, death, etc.

     We noticed the deep emotions expressed by each and every one of
you after you had heard our experiences.  But we are concerned not
only with the showing of emotions, but also with the energizing of
those emotions to "excavate" those same happenings that we consider

     The issues for which we require immediate actions are:

     1.  Education            which will adequately prepare us to
                              continue the good work that a few of you
                              have started;

     2.  Decision-making      that we partake in decisions governing our
                              families, countries and the world in

     3.  Rights emphasis      that our rights be made known and strict
                              measures taken against violators;

     4.  Peace promotion      that peace be promoted within every
                              country, namely, with armed conflict or

     5.  Development          the international community, the United
                              Nations and the world in general develop
                              structures that will promote the health and
                              education of both women and children;

     6.  Zones of peace       we noticed also that only few children
                              engaged in peaceful programmes and serve as
                              peacemakers, e.g. Liberia's student palava
                              management committee.

     With all the above-mentioned points taken into consideration,
children of countries engaged in armed conflict will be able to talk
like children, think like children, engage in child play instead of
wars and will not be left with the responsibility of finding their own
food or waiting and thinking all day about whether daddy or mommie
will bring food home or whether the night will be spent without an
attack from armed robbers.

     It is our fervent hope that with the Almighty on your side, our
petitions will be granted to make us happy children, who are needed to
build a better world tomorrow. 

                                   Annex IV


                          (Manila, 13-15 March 1996)

     Through the Convention on the Rights of the Child, promises have
been made to our children that their rights shall be respected and
that they shall have the care and security to ensure their survival,
development, protection and participation in all of the dynamic
developments that are taking place in the Asia Pacific region.  It
must be recognized that ongoing and potential conflicts in many parts
of the region threaten the gains made in regard to child rights. 
Child survival, development and protection foster child participation,
while child participation expresses the philosophy and is the key to
child survival, development and protection.

     Child participation in armed conflict and the violence and
deprivation in conflict situations deny the child's basic rights,
including rights to education, nutrition, recreation, family care and
a peaceful environment, all promises made under the Convention on the
Rights of the Child.  Trapped in violent ongoing conflicts, children
lose their childhood, their opportunities and hope.  The global
culture of violence, the large scale manufacture and sale of
anti-personnel landmines, chemical and other weapons of mass
destruction contribute to the horrors of war:  the killing, maiming
and separation of families; neglect, abuse and exploitation of
children, including the use of child soldiers; and sexual violence
against girls.  The consequent psychological and emotional traumas are
immeasurable.  The resultant prejudices, fears and hatred foment seeds
of future conflict.

     The time has come to collectively mobilize national and
international public opinion and action against the destructive trend
of war and conflict, to build a community and society of tolerance and
peace, which respects the dignity of human beings and human rights,
which enables our children to grow and to develop their fullest

     The participants in this consultation came together to assess the
situation of children in armed conflict, to evaluate the
appropriateness and adequacy of past and present interventions and to
plan for realizable, practical policy formulations and future
community, national and international action.  Having documented the
impact and consequences of war on children in the region, attempts at
psychosocial recovery and reintegration into the community, the
efforts to promote peace education and peaceful resolution of
conflict, and the responses and the lessons learnt, experts presented
their findings.

     Conscious of the urgent need to reduce the possibilities of
conflict arising and/or spreading as well as arresting hostilities and
violence and securing peace and recognizing the major role of peace in
sustainable development, we make the following recommendations which
address the concerns of children in pre-conflict, conflict and
post-conflict situations. 

     Prevention and discontinuance of conflict should be the primary
objective of all actions.  Thus, greater efforts should be directed to
promote effective measures for the prevention of conflict.

Recommendations for action

Child rights

-    Encourage Governments, NGOs and international agencies to foster
     knowledge of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the
     Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
     Discrimination against Women, the Geneva Conventions and their
     Additional Protocols and other human rights/humanitarian law
     instruments among all peoples, especially children, parents,
     militaries, community leaders, politicians and international NGO
     and United Nations agency personnel.  Education for peaceful
     resolution of conflict, tolerance, respect for others and the
     Convention on the Rights of the Child should be incorporated in
     the curriculum of all formal, non-formal and informal education
     and training, in a multilingual and cross-cultural fashion, so
     that the principles become the normal standard of conduct.  Such
     programmes should reflect gender sensitivity in their design; 

-    Call on Governments, teacher organizations, curriculum developers
     and United Nations bodies and specialized agencies including
     UNESCO, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO and UNDP to initiate and implement
     gender-sensitive programmes; 

-    Urge all Governments in the region to support the adoption and
     ratification of the proposed draft optional protocol to article 38
     of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, raising the minimum
     age for conscription to 18 years and forbidding the direct and
     indirect participation of children in conflict and hostilities. 
     Government and non-State forces should adopt the principle of non-
     conscription of children under 18 years old, forthwith, while
     waiting for the formal adoption of the optional protocol,

-    Urge States to ratify, implement and disseminate information on
     the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the other human
     rights and humanitarian law instruments within the spirit and
     intent of those instruments.  States should be encouraged to
     implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child through
     comprehensive laws, policies, programmes and practices and to make
     detailed reports on the situation of children who are affected by
     armed conflict within their territories; 

-    The United Nations and regional, political and economic groupings
     such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and
     the Association of South-East Asian Nations are urged to assist
     and facilitate the establishment of individual, institutional and
     community mechanisms for mediation and negotiation for peace at
     local, national and international levels for peacemaking and
     peace-building.  The United Nations should encourage regional
     bodies to actively intervene and mediate in conflicts that
     threaten peace and children's rights in the region.  In addition
     to regional peace-building mechanisms, such efforts could begin
     with the sponsorship and encouragement of all politicians and
     other influential regional actors, to undertake mediation and
     negotiation skills, peace and human rights training;

-    Encourage States to allocate increased resources for
     demilitarization, social development and development education
     (including peace and child rights), so as to create a climate of
     security and economic stability devoted to bringing about more
     just and equitable societies, in a democratic tradition;

-    Advocate among all parties to conflicts, modalities to implement
     the concept of children as a zone of peace, through which all the
     normal developmental needs of children and rights of children
     under the Convention on the Rights of the Child may be realized. 
     The United Nations, States and non-State forces are encouraged to
     facilitate the work of national and international agencies and
     NGOs to create such mechanisms.  Recognition of international laws
     and standards and the involvement of non-governmental armed groups
     in humanitarian emergency situations should not be construed as
     tacit recognition of the legitimacy of such armed groups; 

-    Urge national and international NGOs, and the United Nations
     humanitarian and emergency bodies to coordinate their aid efforts
     so that children in situations of armed conflict may benefit from
     effective responses at all stages of emergencies and respond to
     the pre-conflict, conflict and post-conflict phases;

-    Encourage and assist the media in recognizing its responsibility
     in the promotion of child rights and the protection of children
     from exposure that would jeopardize their development and

-    In this context, the media can work positively towards the
     reversal of the current pervasive culture of violence by not
     sensationalizing violence in the reporting of news and

-    Urge the media to conduct interviews and reports on children in a
     manner that protects them from additional trauma;

-    NGOs, government and other organizations should work more closely
     with the media on peace promotion and peace-building in pre-
     conflict and conflict situations and on potential media roles in
     disseminating information on child rights, especially of those in
     situations of armed conflict, and the reporting of human rights
     violations, especially those enshrined in the Convention on the
     Rights of the Child and the Geneva Conventions and their
     Additional Protocols; 

-    Urge the United Nations and all its specialized agencies to place
     child rights and the issue of children in situations of armed
     conflicts high on their political and operational agendas.


-    Call upon the United Nations to persuade nations to ban the
     manufacture, sale and distribution of weapons of war such as
     anti-personnel landmines, chemical, biological and laser weapons
     which in the main injure and kill civilians.  States Members of
     the United Nations, which have all pledged their support to the
     principles of the United Nations, should be urged to discontinue
     subsidies to all arms manufacturers and to encourage those
     manufacturers to channel their resources and efforts towards
     constructive development concerns such as energy production;

-    The ideology of militarization continues to dominate States and
     economies all over the world, leading to competition in the
     production and possession of increasingly damaging weaponry.  In
     this quest vast resources are channelled into the purchase of arms
     and militarism has a vice like grip on Governments and armed
     groups alike.  States and Governments need to be sensitized into
     the realization that it is the people of the nation State that
     have to be protected and not the notion of a State.  Women and
     children are the most vulnerable of citizens and most in need of
     protection.  To provide such protection a move towards total
     demilitarization of the mindsets and economies of States is

-    Persuade arms manufacturers who produce landmines to make
     substantial contributions to pay for the clearance of the mines in
     countries where they have been distributed and used.  The proposed
     draft optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the
     Child on children in situations of armed conflict may be the means
     of ensuring the aforesaid.  Governments that have subsidized arms
     manufacturers which have or continue to produce landmines should
     be persuaded to stop those subsidies and instead, use those funds
     to clear mines and fund rehabilitation programmes for children
     injured and maimed by the landmines; 

-    Encourage United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, local,
     national and international NGOs and Governments to make a
     conscious effort to eliminate sexual violence against women and
     girls in situations of armed conflict and to design gender-
     sensitive programmes to protect women and girls from the impacts
     of armed conflict;

-    Strongly urge all States in the region which have not signed or
     ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Geneva
     Conventions of 1949 and other international human rights and
     humanitarian law instruments, to do so forthwith;

-    Urge States and the United Nations to enforce the Convention on
     the Rights of the Child and the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and
     their Additional Protocols and to prosecute all who violate
     children's rights and perpetrate crimes against children in
     situations of armed conflict.  Compensatory war reparation
     mechanisms, national and international, need to be linked with
     enforcement mechanisms and provide funds to assist children in the
     recovery and development processes;

-    Urge States and regional bodies to establish mechanisms to promote
     social justice and reparations, both financial and non-financial,
     for those whose rights have been violated.  These might include
     tribunals and truth commissions. 

Community participation and responsibilities

-    Urge Governments and agencies to support the efforts of NGOs and
     others in the psychosocial recovery and rehabilitation of children
     who have suffered trauma in conflict situations, through
     mobilizing the community and designing programmes that involve
     children in peer groups in these healing and recovery programmes. 
     Enhance the capacity of communities to cope with the demand for
     psychosocial recovery processes with institutional and human
     resource development;

-    Encourage United Nations agencies and international NGOs to
     operationalize in their programmes the principle that recovery and
     reintegration processes must be undertaken at the community level,
     and use local religious, indigenous and cultural methods and
     concepts that are meaningful to the people themselves. 
     Psychosocial healing and reconstruction cannot be managed by
     persons who are alien to the community and psychosocial recovery
     needs to emphasize the participatory methods appropriate to local
     cultural and social contexts in order to contribute effectively to
     the rebuilding process;

-    Urge donors, relief, reconstruction and development agencies to be
     inclusive in addressing social development with economic
     development and to consider social structural issues as well as
     individual, social and the psychological well-being, particularly
     where whole communities have been affected.  Encourage the use of
     existing resources and infrastructure, with training appropriate
     to their level of ability and to the need for complete coverage in
     delivering assistance to children in conflict areas; 

-    Encourage all those involved in psychosocial recovery assistance
     to be flexible and capable of varied responses, within specified
     time-frames, in order to address the many different types of
     demands and needs for assistance.  Advocate for the development of
     community based approaches in which generic development is
     emphasized with occasional social targeting, rather than vice
     versa.  Systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various
     interventions need to be established at the community level to
     assess their impact and appropriateness;

-    Religious leaders, professionals (especially medical and legal),
     opinion-makers and all concerned individuals should:

     -   Advocate the promotion and protection of the rights of
         children and in particular the rights of children in
         situations of armed conflict;

     -   Assist in the dissemination, understanding and implementation
         of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, translated into
         local languages and dialects, and utilizing local art,
         initiatives and customs; 

     -   Assist in the establishment and development of minimum moral
         values in relation to all children, but especially those in
         situations of armed conflict, and in the building of
         communities that are concerned and care for their children; 

     -   Initiate the promotion of justice and peace-building in
         communities through establishing community mechanisms and
         programmes for the empowerment of children and families and
         the eradication of violence in the family and community;

-    Following the global initiative of the World Conference on
     Religion and Peace, take local and national multi-religious
     initiatives to promote inter-ethnic and cross-cultural
     understanding and tolerance through the mobilization of civil
     society, especially children and families.


     At the heart of protecting and caring for children in situations
of armed conflict is the civil society, including children.  Civil
society needs to be empowered so that children and families, amongst
other elements of society, may become more resilient to resist the
pressures that threaten the peaceful coexistence of communities. 
Empowerment of the civil society and tackling the root causes of
conflict and violence are vital in enabling peace to prevail.  The
mobilization of public opinion to prevent conflict, effective
intervention in emergencies and the provision of support and recovery
services for children during conflict and conflict recovery phases are
necessary preconditions for the protection of children in situations
of armed conflict.

     To promote achievement of these recommendations, national and
regional networking will be crucial to facilitate the process of
exchange of information regarding best practices within the region. 

Workshop One:
     Adopting a child focused, holistic approach under the Convention
     on the Rights of the Child for the protection of children in
     situations of armed conflict

Policies and programmes for children in situations of armed conflict

-    Consider the best interest of the child through an
     inter-disciplinary approach which incorporates actions within the
     following areas:

     -   Legal systems and structures;
     -   Planning and policy formulation at national and sub-national levels; 
     -   Institutional support;
     -   Resource allocation to operationalize the full implementation
         of the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
-    Be inclusive of all the categories of children affected by armed
     conflict such as:

     -   Refugee children;

     -   Unaccompanied minors;

     -   Displaced children;

     -   Child soldiers;

     -   Children used as instruments in armed conflict (i.e. spies,
         porters, mine detectors);

     -   Child victims of trafficking and sale;

     -   Child victims of sexual exploitation and abuse/rape;

     -   Children affected by ethnic/racial/religious discord;

     -   Children disabled due to armed conflict;

     -   Child survivors of massacres;

     -   Children orphaned, abandoned or separated from family;

     -   Detained and/or tortured children;

-    Be flexible in order to have access to all parties in the conflict
     and to be able to respond even in situations where there is no
     recognized authority or functional legal systems;

-    Be able to mobilize all sectors of civil society, especially the
     religious and professional groups;

-    Mobilize political will at all levels, national and sub-national.

     Methods used to create awareness and dissemination of the
principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child especially
education for peace and tolerance should include:

-    Multi-modal, multilingual and multi-ethnic approaches appropriate
     to local needs;

-    A decentralized approach which promotes popularization, ownership
     and demand;
-    Participation of children and youth in all aspects of awareness
     raising and dissemination of the Convention on the Rights of the
     Child through intra and inter-country networking, the formal,
     non-formal and informal education system, and action oriented
     activities - learning through doing - such as community services
     and peer support groups;

-    Establishing linkages with powers that exert influence over armed
     groups to promote understanding and respect for child rights.

     The concepts of children as a zone of peace may be developed and
institutionalized in situations of armed conflict to promote
interlinkages of the following components:


     -   Safe haven zones;

     -   Corridors of peace;

     -   No child soldiers;

     -   Non-attack on child targets;

     -   Days of peace for rendering basic services to children;

     -   Disaster preparedness;

     -   Safety precautions for children;

     -   Basic education even in armed conflicts;

     -   Recreational activities;
     -   Psychosocial and medical support;
     -   Inter-ethnic/inter-community child to child programmes;

     -   Cultural activities;
     -   Religious/ceremonial;
     -   Coping with grief/loss.

Workshop Two: Gender and violence in armed conflict situations

     The growing recognition of the importance of gender sensitivity
and the occurrence of gender violence in the form of systematic use of
rape as a weapon and strategy of war against targeted women, added to
the phenomenon of premeditated sexual abuse of girls as "comfort
women", by soldiers during the period of conflict, has prompted an
international outcry for action to protect women and girls from this
form of abuse.  The ugly face of this form of violence takes the shape
of rape, forced prostitution, trafficking and torture in the military
camps and bases and in the area of conflict.

     International laws have long mandated the code of conduct of
warring states and armies to include the prohibition of rape and abuse
of women and children by soldiers and the humane treatment of women
and children in times of conflict.  Indeed the Fourth Geneva
Convention of 1949 stipulates that women should be especially
protected against any attack on their honour, in particular rape,
forced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault.  The two
Additional Protocols of 1977 further provide for the protection of
civilians in both international and non-international conflicts.  In
spite of these international laws, rape has not been recognized as a
crime of war although it inherently occurs in wars and armed


     Recognizing the urgent need to mobilize public opinion against the
use of gender violence as a weapon of war in armed conflict
situations, calls upon the Grac'a Machel study and the United Nations

-    Declare rape, forced prostitution, the abduction, torture and
     trafficking in women and girls and the use of women and girls as
     "comfort women" as war crimes punishable through court martial or
     judicial mechanisms so that justice and peace may triumph;

-    Where the States themselves are parties to the crime, alternative
     jurisprudence and judicial mechanisms need to be evolved to ensure
     that equity and justice may prevail to make war reparation and
     compensation to the injured;

-    Promote the awareness of the principles and standards of the
     international human rights instruments, including the Convention
     on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination
     of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and gender awareness
     through their incorporation into the training curriculum of all
     military academies and institutions.  Gender training in the
     military should be carried out not as an impersonal exercise but
     as one where a women is identified as a mother or sister and not
     merely as an "object".  Training material should be developed with
     this in mind.

     In the dissemination of the principles of human rights and
humanitarian law instruments generally, and especially to the

     1.  Integrate education and orientation on human rights and
         humanitarian law instruments in basic military training,
         starting with the United Nations peacekeeping forces.

     2.  Give visibility to the brutality of war and expose soldiers
         to this as part of military training, through the production
         and dissemination of materials showing the impact of war on
         women and children.

     3.  The primary school education of all children should include a
         strong value component of respect for life.  This fundamental
         premise ensures the protection of all human rights.  Respect
         for life should be a part of each individual's value system.

     On the subject of how best to protect women and children against
gender violence in armed conflicts:

     1.  Teach women and girls how to protect themselves.

     2.  Teach parents how to protect their children.

     3.  Teach communities to organize themselves in the protection of
         their children.

     4.  When mobilizing and teaching communities, it is important to
         include men, as they are the brothers and fathers of the
         girls who may be at risk.

     On how women can usefully participate in peace promotion and
conflict prevention:

     1.  Improve the status of women to make such participation

     2.  Teach and encourage men and women to participate in the peace
         education of their children.

     3.  Teach men and women the possibility of promoting peace by
         nourishing peaceful homes.

     4.  Facilitate the process of involving women in the peace
         mediation and negotiation attempts.

     5.  Encourage the active participation of women in the
         peacemaking and peace-building efforts so as to promote a
         culture of peace.

     6.  Conscious effort should be made to include women in
         negotiation teams, bodies relating to arms control, war
         tribunals and committees relating to human rights.

Workshop Three:   Access to Justice


     In a conflict situation, we can assure access to justice for women
and children by strengthening the pillars of the justice system
through the training and education of personnel in law enforcement,
prosecution, the judiciary correction/rehabilitation of offenders
system and through the involvement of the community in making justice
accessible to women and children.

     Further, through affording protection and security measures for
those involved in the prosecution of cases such as witness protection
programmes and providing security for judges and prosecutors. 

     The independence of the legal and judicial system is an absolute
precondition in ensuring that justice is available to all in armed
conflict situations.  Where the justice system has been destroyed as a
result of the conflict, alternative means of legal redress should be
explored and established.  In seeking to establish a given model of an
alternative justice system, all issues need to be considered

     War reparation and compensation mechanisms should be established
where human rights violations have taken place.  There should be
advocacy nationally for:

     -   Political will to effectively prosecute rights violators; 
     -   Establishment of efficient and independent judicial systems;
     -   Promotion of mechanisms to assist those seeking redress;

internationally for:

     -   Universal signing, ratification and implementation of the
         human rights instruments; 

     -   Negotiation with and commitment from non-State forces to
         international human rights instruments, especially the
         Convention on the Rights of the Child.

     Encourage Governments, NGOs and agencies to view reparation both
in financial and social terms.

                                    Annex V


                    (Santafe' de Bogota', 17-19 April 1996)

     The regional consultation noted that besides the injustice and
inequalities in the region there were still armed conflicts of
different kinds affecting various countries, which had led to
transgressions of international humanitarian law and violations of
human rights.  The consultation emphasized the cases of Colombia and
Peru in the Andean region, and of Guatemala in Central America,
countries in which armed conflicts were still going on or in the
process of pacification.  In both Nicaragua and El Salvador peace
accords had been reached.  They now face new challenges in the
aftermath of armed conflict, such as assistance to repatriated and
relocated populations in need of socio-economic and psychosocial

     Conflict, inequality and injustice still make up a cruel vicious
circle in the region.  The consultation declared the situation to be
unjust, unnecessary and unacceptable and that its causes and symptoms
must be acted on at all levels and in all its complexities: 
political, judicial, economic, social, psychological, moral and

     Children in these countries have suffered extreme violence in the
form of deaths, injury, abuse, torture, mutilation, psychological
trauma, recruitment both in the armed forces and insurgent groups,
exile, forced disappearance and separation from their families.  The
resources spent on the war violate children's right to development and
deprive them of access to health, education, basic social welfare,
employment and income.  There are thousands of orphans and young
widows who must cope with the needs of their children without
preparation or support from the State and society.

     The consultation recognized that the issues of peace and justice
are inseparable.  It also recognized that the causes and actions
violating international humanitarian law, international rights of
refugees and international human rights are not addressed properly and
remain unpunished. 

     The consultation also discussed the following issues:  children's
human rights in armed conflict, the right to full humanitarian
assistance and psychosocial recuperation, especially in the context of
the Convention on the Rights of the child, the international rights of
refugees and international humanitarian law.  Long-term prevention
measures are needed to reduce the effects of armed conflicts and to
promote justice, tolerance and peace; to stimulate the rich cultural
heritage of the region that protects children; to prevent conflicts by
emphasizing multiculturalism and pluralism; and to promote a change of
values, attitudes and conduct of Governments and civil societies, in
order to minimize the consequences of conflicts and children's

     Aware of the affects of armed conflicts on children, the
consultation called upon the States and the armed groups involved to
search for negotiated solutions to armed conflicts.  These agreements
must include mechanisms for verification, including citizen monitoring
and verification of compliance.

     While this goal is being achieved, the consultation requested
States and armed groups in conflict to provide children with maximum
protection based on principles of humanity, thereby complying with
civil society's commitment and the Convention on the Rights of the


     The consultation recognized the need to visualize childhood as a
zone of peace and urgently recommended the enforcement of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child and international humanitarian
law.  In those countries ravaged by armed conflicts, the consultation
confirmed that the civilian population, children in particular, are
the principal victims.  In these countries, the enforcement of
international law must be achieved in order to protect children from
the horrors of war.  As examples of such space of consensus some
countries have created "corridors of peace" and launched "days of

Recommendations to Governments, civil society, international agencies
and non-governmental organizations

-    To promote and offer compulsory human rights and child rights
     training programmes to all security forces, including the proper
     treatment of child soldiers and children suffering the
     consequences of war;

-    To create a space where children can express their opinions and
     present proposals relating to the peace process;

-    To cooperate and coordinate programmes that protect children
     against war and its indirect impact by promoting efforts to
     achieve a cease fire, thereby strengthening the ability of
     communities to protect their children;

-    To disseminate international and national norms on the rights of
     children and adolescents, especially those stating that children
     should not participate in armed conflicts directly or indirectly;

-    To use all possible means to disseminate the fundamental
     principles of respect for children (the formal and informal
     educational systems, the media, etc.) with the participation of
     all sectors of the population including children and adolescents
     and the community based organizations at the local, regional and
     national levels;

-    To reach a consensus among the partners in conflict to
     unconditionally protect any programme, infrastructure or activity
     which involves services to children, such as schools, hospitals
     and health centres;

-    To work towards the elaboration of an inter-American declaration
     of the rights of the child;

-    To urge the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights to emphasize
     in its reports the situation of children affected by armed
     conflict and to recommend the prohibition of recruitment of
     children under 18 years of age.  The Commission should also
     condemn violations of international humanitarian law, and
     violations of fundamental rights and liberties perpetrated by
     non-governmental agents;

-    To promote alternative ways of income generation and employment
     for young persons as well as better educational opportunities in
     order to discourage child recruitment;

-    To immediately demobilize child combatants in the armed forces. 
     To establish programmes and mechanisms for the peaceful
     reintegration of child combatants into society.  Once reintegrated
     into civil society, particular care should be taken to avoid the
     continuation of violent conduct and attitudes.  This could be
     achieved through psychosocial and educational programmes.

Recommendations to national and international child protection

-    To promote the strengthening and coordination of educational child
     rights programmes;

-    To support the proposed draft optional protocol to the Convention
     on the Rights of the Child.


     The consultation stressed the importance of international
humanitarian law, which guarantees the minimum rights of all person
and the humanization of armed conflicts based on the distinction
between combatants and non-combatants and between military
infrastructure and civilian infrastructure, and includes the
prohibition on the use of certain weapons such as landmines. 
International humanitarian law covers all children, combatants or not.

Recommendations to States

-    To include in national legislation the necessary provisions for
     the application of international humanitarian law, the
     international rights of refugees and the Convention on the Rights
     of the Child;

-    To call the inter-American system's attention to the need for
     protection of children affected by armed conflict;

-    To include in peace negotiations the distinction between political
     crimes and crimes against human integrity, thereby avoiding
     impunity in the case of severe crimes and crimes against humanity;

-    To include in the peace negotiations the demilitarization and
     disarmament of the civilian population;

-    To increase significantly the knowledge of the international
     rights of refugees and international humanitarian law.  In
     particular, States should include systematic teaching of these
     rights in the curricula of military academies and also disseminate
     this information to the civilian population;

-    To honour and comply with their international agreements as
     defined in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional
     Protocols of 1977 in relation to the obligation of States Parties
     to punish crimes of war and violations of international
     humanitarian law.  To develop efficient mechanisms to punish
     crimes against humanity and violations of human rights;

-    To strengthen international control of arms traffic and to further
     develop measures of transparency and registration of arms in the
     Disarmament Commission of the United Nations;

-    To prohibit the recruitment of children under 18 years of age in
     the armed forces making use of international and national laws and
     to promote a reform of article 38 of the Convention on the Rights
     of the Child prohibiting the recruitment of children under 18
     years of age;

-    To forbid the use of landmines and other explosives, the
     employment of children for search and destruction of mines, as
     well as the access of children to mined territories.  Action
     should be taken at local, national, regional and global levels;

-    To promote educational campaigns to increase awareness and action
     by all sectors of society concerning the ban on landmines;

-    To dismantle and prohibit groups of armed civilians organized by
     the military for intelligence gathering and local vigilance. 

Recommendations to armed insurgent groups

-    To honour and comply with international humanitarian law,
     especially in reference to children, in accordance with Protocols
     I and II additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949;

-    To forbid recruitment of persons under the age of eighteen,
     particularly if force or delusion is used;

-    To not use children in the local production of landmines or in
     their search and destruction.  To prevent children's access to
     mined territory.


Recommendations to Governments, international organizations and
non-governmental organizations

-    To develop training programmes to improve the technical capacity
     of Governments and public community services aimed at the social
     integration and psychosocial recuperation of children.  This
     training should be extended to families, teachers, health
     providers and others;

-    To develop programmes for the psychosocial recuperation of
     children, their rehabilitation and care.  Access to these services
     should be seen as a basic right of all children, in accordance
     with the Convention on the Rights of the Child;

-    To promote the active participation of all sectors of society in
     the above programmes;

-    Special programmes for girls who have been the victims of rape
     exploitation and other abuse should be established;

-    To establish monitoring mechanisms to verify the compliance of the
     above programmes by civil society.


     The consultation acknowledged that internal displacement and the
exodus of refugees presents serious socio-demographic and human rights
problems which affect the civil population and children especially. 

Recommendations to Governments, international organizations and
non-governmental organizations

-    To identify, give due attention to and adopt the necessary
     measures related to the structural causes that generate
     displacement of the population, such as internal armed conflict,
     war practices violating international humanitarian law,
     inequitable land tenure, unjust distribution of income, impunity,
     injustice and inequitable economic models;

-    To increase their activity in relation to children affected by
     armed conflicts.  To summon an international conference on
     displaced, refugee and repatriated peoples in the Andean region as
     a means of opening a discussion on issues related to children and
     displacement.  The international conference should count on the
     participation of the countries involved, intra-governmental
     organizations, non-governmental human rights organizations and
     representatives of the displaced and refugee population;

-    Since the economic situation of the region and the countries is
     significantly linked to displacement and refugee processes, the
     basic economic rights of the population and the furthering of
     actions geared to improved equity in the region should be

-    International aid agencies/organizations should recognize the
     needs of the populations affected by armed conflict, in particular
     the precarious economic situation of children;

-    During and after the return of refugee and displaced persons, it
     is important to coordinate the different stages of reintegration: 
     emergency assistance (transportation, food, housing), immediate
     response assistance (tools, seeds, housing), integrated programmes
     of sustainable development (basic sanitation) and monitoring;

-    To prevent and avoid stigmatization and discrimination of
     displaced persons and refugees which may impede their social and
     economic integration;

-    To guarantee school reintegration and psychosocial support to
     displaced, refugee and repatriated children.

Recommendations to Governments

-    To identify, give due attention to and adopt the necessary
     measures related to the structural causes that generate
     displacement of the population, such as internal armed conflict,
     war practices violating international humanitarian law,
     inequitable land tenure, unjust distribution of income, impunity,
     injustice and inequitable economic models;

-    To elaborate policies to prevent impunity for actions causing
     displacement and impeding the displaced population's return to
     their residencies of origin.  Also, to take preventive action to
     control potential factors of insecurity in the areas receiving

-    To create spaces of participation in the peace negotiations for
     refugees, displaced and repatriated populations, including
     children, in order for them to be able to voice their proposals;

-    Owing to the massive character of the displacements, all resources
     of the community must be used, especially in terms of treatment
     and solidarity with children.  Community-based organizations must
     be supported as a means to guarantee the participation of the
     beneficiaries in the programmes;

-    To prevent the discrimination and stigmatization of displaced and
     refugee persons which impede social and economic reinsertion,
     countries that receive exiled and refugee children must guarantee
     the rights to non-discrimination and equality as stated in the
     Convention on the Rights of the Child;

-    To forbid the participation of displaced, refugee or repatriated
     children in armed conflicts;

-    To recommend the adoption of refugee or displaced children as a
     last resort in accordance with the Convention on Protection of
     Children and Cooperation in respect of Inter-Country Adoption
     signed at the Hague in 1994.  An ample period of time should be
     allowed before family, community and local reinsertion
     alternatives are considered exhausted.  Decisions on adoption
     should always be based on the child's best interest;

-    To create legal mechanisms for refugees and displaced persons to
     solve problems such as:  documentation, identification problems,
     efficient protection of their lives and physical integrity,
     resolution of their military status, and the legal protection of
     property rights and belongings abandoned in their place of origin;

-    To create safety guarantees for groups and organizations working
     in conflict zones in favour of displaced and repatriated

-    To offer emergency as well as medium and long-term programmes in
     humanitarian assistance.  Programmes should be offered for basic
     welfare and to support income generating activities;

-    To create a national information network to anticipate situations
     which may cause displacement of population, and to elaborate
     programmes with populations at risk of becoming displaced;

-    To strengthen institutions such as the Central Tracing Agency of
     the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in order to
     facilitate the search and reunification of families.  In the case
     of refugees, unaccompanied children should be immediately
     identified in order to assure their reunification with their

-    To promote research to identify the priorities of affected
     populations and to assure that assistance reach the poorest groups
     in the most affected areas;

-    To support the processes of organization, self-management and
     recuperation in the receiving communities as well as in the new
     communities formed by the refugee, displaced and repatriated

-    In the context of the return of the above-mentioned populations,
     Governments have to design an integral and coherent plan of action
     based on an analysis of the situation of the affected population. 
     This plan should include:  (a) the different groups and
     circumstances involved in the return itself, and its political,
     social, economic and structural implications, as well as the
     particular character of the displacement, and (b) the requirement
     that the return takes place under conditions of security and
     dignity that facilitate reintegration into productive activities;

-    The desire to return of each displaced person must be verified. 
     Additionally it is necessary to guarantee the safety of those who
     return as well as assuring their right to previously abandoned
     land, housing and other belongings.  Furthermore, it should be
     assured that the returnees are welcome by the current population
     in the place of return.  This could be achieved by appropriate
     preparation of the returnees and of the population currently
     living in the abandoned areas;

-    To assure minimal conditions for the return of children and to
     provide for family reunification using psycho-pedagogical methods
     to facilitate a smooth reunification;

-    To guarantee the refugees their identification and personal
     documentation.  To ensure that legislation gives priority to
     refugee children and facilitates the provision of citizenship to
     refugee children.  To guarantee the reintegration into the
     educational system as well as psychosocial support during the

-    To solicit from the United Nations documented programmes of
     experiences of populations affected by armed conflicts.


     The consultation analysed the documents prepared by the
delegations of Haiti, Cuba and Nicaragua concerning the disastrous
effects of economic embargoes imposed on these countries, especially
in relation to the human rights of the population including the rights
of children.

     The consultation joined the international condemnation of economic
embargo as a means of political coercion and adopted the
recommendations made by the delegation from Haiti:

Recommendations to Governments and international agencies

-    To elaborate and enforce economic and social policies that prevent
     poverty, inequity and injustice as the principal way to avoid
     armed conflicts.  Necessary resources to achieve this should be
     assigned with special consideration to children;

-    When it is not possible to avoid armed conflict, the national and
     international authorities should take the necessary steps to
     guarantee the protection of human rights of the most vulnerable
     groups, especially the rights of children;

-    To resolve conflicts, sanctions which involve the entire
     population of a country, in particular commercial embargoes which
     violate the basic human rights of innocent citizens, especially
     younger ones, should not be imposed;

-    Sanctions may in principle contribute to the solution of conflicts
     if they are designed to change the individual conduct of those
     responsible for the violation of national or international social
     order.  This means that sanctions cannot be measures applicable to
     all cases, but rather that they must be designed taking into
     account the particular weaknesses of the political or military
     leaders whose conduct the international community seeks to change. 
     Even so, before implementation, measures must be evaluated
     according to their potential to violate the basic human rights of
     vulnerable groups;

-    In the case that sanctions are imposed on a country and during
     their implementation, the Security Council of the United Nations
     must simultaneously provide resources to neutral and independent
     national organizations to establish the minimum criteria required
     for the careful monitoring of the situation of vulnerable groups. 
     Any deterioration in the socio-economic, psychosocial and human
     rights indicators, included in the monitoring system, must be
     immediately reported to the United Nations which would assume the
     responsibility of mobilizing resources to improve the situation. 
     This system of monitoring must be an ongoing process even after
     the sanctions have been lifted in order to find out the
     consequences of sanctions on vulnerable groups;

-    One or more sanctions should not be allowed to continue
     indefinitely.  If the desired goal is not achieved within the
     predetermined period of time, the sanctions must be lifted and
     replaced by more effective ones;

-    The term "human rights" is to be understood in reference to the
     rights included in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the
     Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
     against Women and other international and regional declarations on
     human rights.

                                   Annex VI


                          (Florence, 10-12 June 1996)


     All situations of armed conflict entail great danger and suffering
for civilians, especially for children.  With the end of the cold war,
the world has seen a proliferation of internal conflicts which have
directly targeted civilian populations.  This has had serious effects
on the well-being of children.  In Europe, as well as elsewhere in the
world, armed conflict has killed or wounded children, separated them
from their families and made them witness to violence, which has
caused severe psychological trauma.  They have become refugees or have
been displaced.  Sometimes they have been recruited as combatants.

The potential for peacemaking

     When the government structure collapses in internal conflicts,
peacemaking becomes still more difficult as shown by the failure of
"Operation Restore Hope in Somalia".  The response in some quarters
has been to call for a policy of pragmatic non-engagement in the
upheavals of the South, to draw a line between the "barbarian world"
and the "civilized" one.

     But other, more constructive approaches are also emerging.  Even
as the actors engaged in war have multiplied, so have the actors of
peace.  There is a growing recognition that the construction of peace
requires a complexity of approaches that go beyond the purely
military, that peace has to mature within the situation.  It is not
founded on the defeat of a party, it must be founded on a consensus of
all parties.

     A non-governmental organization (NGO) with no interest to defend
in the country at conflict may be able to intervene in ways that would
not be accepted from other parties.  An NGO also has the advantage of
flexibility in its approach.  But there is no model for success. 
Mediation by the Rome-based Community of Sant'Egidio, for example,
succeeded in the case of Mozambique where there was a demand for peace
from all sides, but its attempt to promote dialogue among the warring
parties in Algeria failed because of the caution of the international
community, which feared any action that might destabilize a Government
fighting against fundamentalist terrorists.

Accountability as a deterrent

     Accountability is the best deterrent.  The most effective way of
curbing criminal conduct and protecting the innocent is to instil in
potential criminals the fear of getting caught.  But, unfortunately, a
double standard exists between criminal conduct in the national and
international spheres.  A criminal who violates a national law will be
sought in whatever country he or she takes refuge, but this is not
true for a violator of international humanitarian law.

     If young children are accused of war crimes, they should be
rehabilitated, not prosecuted or punished.  What presents a more
difficult problem is using children as witnesses.

     The creation of the international criminal tribunal for former
Yugoslavia was a huge step forward, but its effectiveness is
jeopardized by the failure of the international community to arrest
and bring to trial those who have been indicted as war criminals.  It
is up to international NGOs to raise an outcry.

     And more is needed.  An international mechanism should be brought
into effect so that every citizen of every country, not just Bosnia
and Herzegovina and Rwanda, is responsible for his or her actions. 
There should be an international prosecutor's office in every country
to make leaders aware that if they do not implement international
humanitarian law there is at least a prospect that they will be called
to account.

     The trial of war criminals is part of the healing process.  To
have made promises to victims and let them down is to punish them
twice.  In many ways, if the international community does not follow
through on the creation of the tribunals on war crimes committed in
former Yugoslavia and Rwanda it would have been better not to have set
them up in the first place.

Fusing human rights and international humanitarian law

     That human rights and international humanitarian law belong
together, not side-by-side, is a revolutionary concept.  Human rights
law set standards while humanitarian law accepted that "boys will be
boys" and tried to limit their actions.  Human rights law only dealt
with Governments and allowed Governments to get off the hook by
pointing at the opposition.  But, starting with Central America in the
1980s, this has begun to change.  With the end of the cold war, when
everything was compartmentalized, new possibilities have emerged.  An
organization such as Amnesty International now examines the conduct of
Governments as well.

Basic recommendations

     In working group discussions, there was general agreement that the
Convention on the Rights of the Child and humanitarian and human
rights law were basic tools for preventing violations of child rights. 
In order to better utilize them, working groups made the following

     -   States should fulfil their obligation to translate the 1949
         Geneva Conventions, their Additional Protocols of 1977 and
         the Convention on the Rights of the Child into their national
         languages and adopt laws and regulations to ensure their

     -   Governments should enact into national law provisions of the
         Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention
         relating to the Status of Refugees, the Geneva Conventions
         and their Additional Protocols.  This would help government
         officials to familiarize themselves with the laws and
         disseminate them and allow violators to be prosecuted in the
         national domain;

     -   Governments should refer to the Convention on the Rights of
         the Child in bilateral and multilateral actions, including
         the targeting of aid;

     -   Governments should discipline violators of the Convention on
         the Rights of the Child and international humanitarian and
         human rights law;

     -   The United Nations should make a public commitment to the
         Convention on the Rights of the Child and international
         humanitarian and human rights law;

     -   All humanitarian agencies and organizations should
         incorporate these standards into their own operations and
         training, disseminate them and abide by them in their
         dealings with Governments and non-State actors;

     -   The international community, through major NGOs, should
         promote and, where necessary, provide funds to train and
         educate all military personnel, including peacekeepers, and
         civilian society, particularly schoolchildren, about the
         Convention on the Rights of the Child and international
         humanitarian and refugee law;

     -   The Department of Peacekeeping Operations of the Secretariat
         should incorporate these standards into its training

Other recommendations included:

1.   Prevention through international cooperation:

     -   States should seek to restrict arms flows, both official and
         illicit, to countries where the arms risk fuelling rather
         than preventing violent conflicts.  Landmines continue to
         kill and maim civilians, particularly children, not only
         during warfare, but for many years afterward.  A worldwide
         ban should be imposed on the manufacture, sale and use of

     -   States should support preventive diplomacy, and there should
         be an immediate international response on the ground, with
         special attention to the plight of children, in countries
         where rising tensions threaten to erupt violently on a large

     -   States should review existing mechanisms for international
         cooperation in response to conflict and the need to protect
         children from the effects of that conflict and should seek to
         remove institutional and political constraints to these

     -   International relief responses mounted by European countries
         must seek to more actively address the underlying causes of
         conflict and to restore local capacity to resolve social
         tensions and meet the needs of children.  It is best to
         reconstruct existing infrastructure, use surviving systems
         and employ local authorities than to import new ones from

     -   The international response to conflict must be more
         comprehensive.  Where tensions threaten to erupt violently,
         European countries must provide the political will and the
         responses needed to support preventive diplomacy;

     -   Where violence has erupted, the international humanitarian
         response must adopt a longer-term vision and seek to lay the
         groundwork in its direct activities for the recovery of
         war-torn societies;

     -   In the context of diminishing aid budgets among European
         countries and the institutionalization of short-term
         emergency responses, greater support for local capacities is
         needed to achieve sustainable longer-term and more strategic

2.   Promoting, monitoring and enforcing international humanitarian

     -   In order to facilitate family reunification, Governments
         should seek to ensure, even at times of conflict, that there
         is a system for registering births and for providing
         documentation.  A guardian should be named for any child
         without a family;

     -   The flow of humanitarian aid should be regarded as an
         international responsibility, and Governments should use
         their influence on parties to the conflict to ensure that the
         aid flows freely to those who need it;

     -   Governments and international organizations should ensure
         that the mandates of peacekeeping operations reflect
         humanitarian concerns, including the rights and needs of
         children.  The mandates should support humanitarian
         objectives and portions of assessed contributions should be
         specifically designated to provide immediate post-conflict
         assistance to children;

     -   International and intergovernmental organizations should
         strengthen their cooperation;

     -   In emergency situations when a considerable number of NGOs
         are present in the field they should establish a coordinating
         body to monitor initiatives on children's rights and other
         NGO activities.  Building on existing structures and using
         people who have local knowledge, this body should ensure that
         NGOs meet, share information and have a common strategy to
         avoid overlap, gaps and mistakes;

     -   Humanitarian organizations should ensure that their staff
         receive adequate training and education in international
         humanitarian law;

     -   NGOs should apply the Code of Conduct for the International
         Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster

     -   States should give additional means to the International
         Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to monitor human rights law
         relating to children throughout conflicts from as many
         sources as possible, not only to record violations but to
         develop preventative programmes and a compilation of good

     -   International legislation concerning violence against
         children should include universal jurisdiction for the
         prosecution of criminals, regardless of where the crimes
         against children took place;

     -   All States should ensure that they have adequate penal laws
         to cover war crimes and participate in the creation of an
         international criminal court.  Children accused of war crimes
         should be rehabilitated rather than punished.

3.   Respect for human rights in armed conflict:

     -   States should support legislation for and promote an
         international ban on the recruitment by both State and
         non-State actors of child soldiers under the age of 18,
         rather than the current age of 15;

     -   Humanitarian agencies and organizations should seek to reach
         signed agreements with non-State entities containing their
         commitment to humanitarian and human rights law, particularly
         with respect to children, in the areas in which they operate;

     -   Humanitarian agencies and organizations and other
         international bodies operating in the field should establish
         procedures for confidential reporting of violations and their
         transmittal to the appropriate bodies;

     -   Humanitarian agencies and organizations should consider ways
         in which they can assist follow-ups to the United Nations
         human rights mechanisms;

     -   The United Nations Centre for Human Rights should ensure that
         humanitarian agencies and operations are adequately informed
         about international human rights standards and monitoring

     -   Children in situations of armed conflict should be given
         supranational status to make international intervention on
         their behalf possible;

     -   The following problems should also be taken into

         -     Hate that leads to the desire to totally eliminate the

         -     The impact of sanctions on children;

         -     The compartmentalization of laws and concepts between
               agencies and NGOs in terms of mandate, some
               community-based, other child-oriented which leads to
               "thinking in boxes";

         -     Gaps that Governments cannot cover in planning to protect
               children during and after conflict even when they include
               humanitarian organizations in the implementation;

         -     How to address non-State actors;

         -     Dilemmas for humanitarian agencies/organizations as
               regards human rights violations they witness;

         -     The recognition that aid is not necessarily always
               "neutral" and "good" by definition;

         -     The tendency for emergency responses and international
               human rights and humanitarian law standards to be
               divorced from each other.

4.   The potential of civil society for securing conflict resolution:

     -   To assist in early warning of impending conflicts,
         international organizations should seek "to open a window"
         for the systematic and active participation of civil society. 
         One way of doing this could be to create a forum to ensure
         better access to relevant information on past and present
         conflicts and those that are brewing and to allow the regular
         exchange of information on specific cases, holding meetings
         and planning action;

     -   There is a need among those in authority to find ways of
         locating potential perpetrators of violence and intervening
         before they commit actions leading to conflict;

     -   If European-based initiatives are to play a constructive
         role, consultation with civil society in the country is vital
         to ensure cooperation.  Closer cooperation and coordination
         is needed among relief agencies and NGOs and between them and
         Governments, peacekeeping forces and local authorities;

     -   Before attempting to resolve a conflict, it is necessary to
         know the reasons why it arose, all the actors as well as the
         potential for mobilization for conflict resolution.  It is
         also necessary to recognize that a larger conflict can give
         rise to mini-conflicts, which are self-perpetuating and not
         necessarily resolved along with the larger conflict;

     -   It becomes easier to resolve a conflict when one party has
         achieved what it sought or when one party realizes it is to
         its political advantage to stop the conflict.  One function
         of civil society is to identify those factors that make it
         advantageous to stop conflict and to make them known to the
         parties concerned;

     -   In order to "teach peace" after a conflict, national teachers
         unions should hold consultations on how curricula can serve
         to contain manifestations of nationalism - as opposed to
         patriotism - anger and aggression.  The curricula should try
         to help children and young people see the effects of war on
         themselves, their families and their communities;

     -   It is also important to listen to children, especially to
         adolescents, who are often seen as less vulnerable but can
         actually be more so in specific ways;

     -   Solidarity that grew up in conflict situations should be

     -   The role of international organizations is to support
         knowledge centres in service to the population, invest in
         research on civil-mindedness and back efforts by civil
         society to promote it;

     -   Action by the international community is needed to prevent
         Governments and parts of the world inciting hatred against
         other countries or regions they have labelled the
         "international enemy".

                                   Annex VII


                         CHILDREN AND VIOLENT CONFLICT

     For countless children there is no peace, only terror.  Caught in
violent conflicts, they are enduring almost unimaginable suffering. 
Children are losing life, wholeness, home, family, opportunity and
hope.  Their innocence and openness, which call us to cherish and
protect them, leave children especially vulnerable to evil.  Learnt
hatreds, fears, and enmities are planting in children the seeds of
future conflict.

     In an unspeakable perversion of innocence, more and more children
are being drawn as soldiers into violence they are too young to resist
and the consequences of which they cannot imagine.  This assault on
their childhood is intolerable, our failure to respond a betrayal, our
silence complicity.

     Our common voice cries out in anguish and protest.

     Each of our religious traditions affirms the sanctity and promise
of the child.  If we fail to protect our children, we deny our
humanity, risk our future and betray our beliefs.  We declare that it
can be otherwise.  Together we must find the will to heal and share
our world so that our children will be safe to grow to the fullness of

     The legion of low intensity conflicts; guerrilla wars; rebellions;
revolutions; struggles between communal, ethnic and religious groups;
and the systemic violence which fuels them must be overcome.  Their
devastation disproportionately afflicts our children.

     We speak hereby to the United Nations, heads of State and
Government, to the leaders of civil and political movements, to our
religious communities and to all, throughout the world, who have held
a child in love, with joy for its life, with tears for its pain.

     Confident of the goodness and commitment of countless women and
men around the world to care for children,

     WE CALL UPON all parties, however different their roles, in armed
conflicts - States' armies and militias, revolutionary parties and
people's movements, United Nations forces - to conduct themselves in
accordance with the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, notably article 38, and other relevant provisions of
international law regarding the safety and well-being of children.


1.   The United Nations system, in particular UNICEF, and regional
multilateral organizations to:

     -   Encourage States to ratify and implement the Convention on
         the Rights of the Child and to monitor the same;

     -   Facilitate the approval and implementation of the draft
         optional protocol on armed conflict to the Convention on the
         Rights of the Child, regarding child soldiers;

     -   Establish an international mechanism to monitor the
         compliance of non-State parties with the protection of
         children as set forth by the Convention on the Rights of the
         Child and other relevant provisions of international law;

     -   Evaluate sanctions based on an assessment of their impact on
         children and adjust their implementation to assure that
         children are not further victimized;

     -   Coordinate all responses to armed conflict within the United
         Nations system to maximize the protection of children;
     -   Urge the General Assembly to establish a permanent subsidiary
         judicial organ to bring to trial and justice all State and
         non-State actors involved in armed conflict that violate the
         laws and customs of war relating to children and in
         particular article 38 of the Convention on the Rights of the
         Child and the optional protocol on armed conflict to the
         Convention as and when it is in force.

2.   State Governments to:

     -   Ratify and implement the Convention on the Rights of the
         Child and to withdraw all reservations regarding the
         Convention and bring national laws into conformity with it;

     -   Adopt the draft optional protocol on armed conflict to the
         Convention on the Rights of the Child which sets forth that
         States parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure
         that persons who have not attained the age of 18 years shall
         not take part in armed conflicts;

     -   Halt the production, sale or purchase, and use of weapons
         that inflict indiscriminate harm on children, particularly

     -   Establish a ministry or department charged with safeguarding
         the welfare of children, where such does not exist.

3.   People's movements and other groups seeking political change to:

     -   Adhere to humane and internationally established norms in the
         pursuit of morally defensible goals, so as not to compromise
         the integrity and moral legitimacy of their struggles;

     -   Develop internal standards of discipline and enforcement
         procedures that respect human rights and values and which are
         harmonious with the model of society to which they are

     -   Ensure the protection and care for all children in conflict
         zones and refugee centres;

     -   Forswear the impressment or induction of children under 18
         years of age into military or military-support activities.

4.   Religious and civic leaders to:

     -   Work with where they exist and initiate where needed National
         Committees on the Rights of the Child, consisting of experts
         of high moral character and recognized competence, to monitor
         and make public the compliance of their Governments with the
         Convention on the Rights of the Child.

5.   The media in its multiple forms to:

     -   Educate the public on the needs of children, particularly
         those caught in armed conflict;

     -   Critically examine their own sensationalization of violence
         in both the reportage of news and in entertainment;

     -   Conduct interviews and report on children in such ways as to
         not compound their trauma.

6.   Men and women of goodwill and non-governmental organizations
operating around the world to:

     -   Take initiatives to assist children exposed to violence and

     -   Advocate for and lend support to civil and political efforts
         designed to save, protect and care for children in situations
         of conflict;

     -   Support calls for assistance to children in areas of

     -   Listen and learn from children who have been victims of
         violent conflict and enable their appropriate participation
         in programmes that are relevant to the protection of children
         in such situations;

     -   Translate human rights language in understandable terms, for
         example, using stories and the language of local traditions
         and customs;

     -   Assist in building a climate of moral concern and community
         care in which children can survive and flourish.

7.   Religious communities to:

     -   Re-examine their tradition's teaching regarding the child
         and, in particular, discern its meaning as it relates to the
         child soldier;

     -   Educate their adherents and members to the tragedy and
         special needs of children in armed conflicts; teach peace and
         peacemaking, respect and acceptance of "the other", and
         appreciation for diversity;

     -   Pursue and support advocacy regarding the critical
         considerations of children;

     -   Cooperate with the United Nations and UNICEF in disseminating
         information on the needs of children;

     -   Exert high-profile, non-governmental leadership in monitoring
         international standards for the protection of children;

     -   Promote and engage in humanitarian actions to assist children
         in need;

     -   Seek to protect the child - especially the girl child - from
         sexual abuse in situations of violent conflict;

     -   Ensure that the integrity of the beliefs of victims of war
         can be safeguarded in adoption practices, the care of
         refugees, and the delivery of other forms of humanitarian

     -   Assist victims in their efforts to sustain their religious

     -   Promote tolerance, respect and understanding for people of
         other faiths in order to minimize conflict among religious

     -   Promote and engage in multi-religious actions to assist
         children in need.

8.   World Conference on Religion and Peace to:

     -   Expand its work regarding children in order to support,
         enable and facilitate all of the above;

     -   Initiate multi-religious cooperation in order to assist the
         child victims of violent conflicts, including refugees and

     -   Encourage its constituencies to join the anti-landmine

     -   Pursue current efforts in continuity with its 1990 Princeton
         Declaration of World Religious Leaders, "The World's
         Religions for the World's Children".

                                  Annex VIII


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