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What we do

1

analysis and research activities 

2

enhancing social and legal protection

3

increasing the awareness of consequences on direct and indirect victims

4

protection from gender-based violations

5

promoting dialogue between institutions

6

prevention

The Network aims to promote analysis and research activities with a view to enhancing the social and legal protection of boy and girl children involved in armed conflict. The Network will also provide activities aimed at increasing the awareness of the spreading phenomenon of the consequences for children involved in armed conflict both when they are direct victims and also when they are affected indirectly by violations to their families and communities (i.e. early school leaving). 

With the aim to give children the concrete hope of a better and safer future, in particular through education, the two Conferences organized by the Network are specifically focused on the protection of girl children as affected by specific gender-based violations in armed conflict. The Conferences are organized with the aim to promote and increase a dialogue within the academic community both at the national and the international level, with a view to contributing to enhance the protection of girl children. 

The Opening Conference, which will be held on November 16, 2020, is aimed at answering the question “Where are we now”, focused on the analysis of the state of art in the protection of girl children. The current pandemic has also pointed out the social risks that girl children are facing. Considering all these factors, the main purpose of the Conference is to identify the international 

instruments that should be used and the legal instruments that can strengthen the protection of girl children and provide a gender empowerment for them through education in the reintegration processes. 

The Closing Conference, which will be held on November 20, 2020, will offer an overview of the future perspectives in preventing systematic gender-based violations against girls and girl children. “Future perspectives” should focus on the need, on one hand to strengthen the judicial protection of girl children affected by armed conflict, and on the other hand to acknowledge the key-function of the implementation of the UNSC Resolution 1325 on WPS in protecting and empowering girl children in armed conflict. 

As a link between the Opening and the Closing Conference, the latter should provide a better understanding of the gender dimension of the violations against children in order to protect them from their commission against them. In connection to the prevention, best practices should be discussed in order to draw guidelines for a future and constructive work of the Network.

Among the latest activities organized by the Network:

1.  The Advanced Training Course “International Criminal Jurisdiction and Children in Armed Conflict” (8 June 2022 - 20 October 2022);

2.  The launch of a handbook series of three handbooks per year on the specific issue of children in armed conflict (September 2022);

3.  The photographic exhibition by Mohamed Keita titled “Women and Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa. Transforming Education for a Sustainable Future” (organized in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations, the Institute of Political Studies "S. Pio V" and L.A.W. International) - UN Headquarters in New York on the margins of the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (14-18 March 2022);

4.  The first edition of the Universities Network for Children in Armed Conflict Award. The Prize was awarded to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba; to Emergency NGO and to the Ivorian photographer Mr. Mohamed Keita (3 December 2021);

5. The International Autumn School "Building competencies and awareness on the international protection of children, particularly girls, affected by armed conflict" organized with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. This online intensive two-week training course saw over 80 participants from 21 countries in different geographical areas, among them: Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and USA (4-19 October 2021).

The Universities Network for Children in Armed Conflict together with the UNESCO Chair in Human Rights at the University of Luxembourg are organizing a two-day international conference titled “Children in Armed Conflict: How can they be protected in a multilevel international framework? A joint commitment of national and international Institutions and Organizations together with the Academic Community” that will take place in Luxembourg on 21 and 22 November 2022 under the patronage of the Italian Embassy in Luxembourg. The two-day conference will focus on the importance of finding ever more integrated solutions for strengthening the protection of children affected by armed conflict in many countries in different geographical areas and exposed to situations of extreme threat that strongly jeopardize the full enjoyment of their essential rights, their development and life opportunities as well as their psychophysical integrity.

 

In April 2022, the Universities Network established a working group committed to analyzing, with specific focus on the situation in Ukraine, the various existing investigation mechanisms (Ukrainian and international procedural rules and mechanisms) for ascertaining violations of international humanitarian law and guaranteeing the protection of civilians and the justice of the crimes committed. This task force involves Ukrainian and international professors and researchers, judges and lawyers.

A project team composed by professors and researchers from universities part of UNETCHAC has also completed the work on a Report and Recommendations on the implementation of the European Union Guidelines on the promotion of compliance with International Humanitarian Law.

 

For 2023, the Universities Network for Children in Armed Conflict is working on the organization of a series of other awareness-raising activities including conferences, training courses, events on specific projects aimed at working within the international framework in supporting of the rights of children affected by armed conflict.

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