Children and Armed Conflict: The International Response
Date and Time
Monday, May 9, 2011 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre
San Diego, CA 92110
Radhika Coomaraswamy, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, leads global campaigns to protect children in twenty-two different conflict zones. On May 9, 2011, Coomaraswamy offered an in-depth look at her work and its challenges as part of the Joan B. Kroc Distinguished Lecture Series.
She emphasized the importance of involving nation states in dealing with grave violations of children’s rights. She described Graça Machel’s 1996 in-depth expert study, which was presented to the U.N. General Assembly on the issue of child soldiers, the problem of refugees and internally displaced children, sexual- and gender-based violence and the effect of landmines on children. To this extent, Coomaraswamy pointed to the recent significance of the U.N. Security Council’s engagement in the realm of children’s rights and its recognition of the link between the protection of children and the advancement of global peace and security.
She articulated that Member States share a common unity of purpose to protect children, where “common humanity trumps our politics.” In the past decade, advances include the annual report of the Secretary General, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1612 and the Security Council Working Group’s efforts in child rights. She presented a toolkit of action, involving targeted sanctions, judicial review, listing and delisting processes, and monitoring and reporting mechanisms.
During her visit, Coomaraswamy met with students in the master’s program in Peace and Justice Studies, law students, and University of San Diego faculty, responding to questions about her work in Sierra Leone, Côte d'Ivoire, Philippines, Afghanistan and Iraq. She was also interviewed by Children’s Advocacy Institute Executive Director Robert Fellmeth and School of Peace Studies Professor Necla Tschirgi.
Joan B. Kroc Institute For Peace and Justice