Arigatou International, as part of the NGO Focus Group on Children Affected by Armed Conflict, participated in a business breakfast organized by the Focus Group with the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children Affected by Armed Conflict (SRSG/CAAC), Ms. Leila Zerrougui, held on Wednesday 11 September.
After a brief introduction by the Chair of the Focus Group, Mr Eamonn Hanson (War Child Holland), and a round table with the organizations, Ms. Zerrougui presented an update on the mandate, new plans and initiatives, and the challenges faced in different countries.
She emphasized that even though work has been done in many countries, resources are very limited and the deployment in the field is light or inexistent. A new campaign, will be launched to roll out a strategy for member states with the objective of “no children in army or security forces”. Eight states are on the list and five already signed an action plan. Cooperation with several regional organizations is undergoing and Ms. Zerrougui asks for the continuous support from NGOs and asked for coordination in order to not undermine the work of the mandate in the field. Finally, she stressed the importance of seeking political will and engagement of governments, and reminded that more than 50% of the population of affected countries are children. It is impossible to stabilize the situation of a country leaving behind half of the population.
Arigatou International welcomes the work of the SRCG/CAAC and is interested to partner with other organizations on the prevention of violence against children and particularly to support the provision of ethics education that can equip children and youth living in conflict affected contexts with tools to learn and practice non-violent responses and nurture values that can help them become agents of change and peace builders.
Arigatou International through the Learning to Live Together manual is interested to provide this kind of support and welcomes GNRC partners to use the manual in areas affected by violent conflicts. If your organization is working with children and youth affected by war and is interested to work on ethics education, please do not hesitate to contact us.