Child Protection in Peace Support Operations – The Role of Troop and Police Contributing Countries

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Conflicts generally expose civilians, especially children, to heightened risks and violations of their rights. Of the many human rights and humanitarian-law violations that manifest in conflict and crisis, the failure to protect children is particularly concerning. In light of this, the African Union Commission (AUC) Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) Department in collaboration with Save the Children hosted a workshop to review the role of Troop and Police Contributing Countries (TCCs and PCCs) on Child Protection in Peace Support Operations (PSOs) in Nairobi, Kenya from 04 to 07 October 2021. 

The initiative allowed for sharing of experiences and best practices in promoting and protecting child rights and welfare within PSOs.  The deliberations on enhancing child protection mechanisms within the military and police structures such as Child Protection Units or Desks provided room for thought and action. The platform, brought together representatives from the AUC PAPS, Save the Children, AU Mandated Missions, TCCs/PCCs, Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), Training Centres of Excellence (TCEs), experts on Child Protection and partners of the AUC PAPS Department involved in the Protection of Civilians and Child Protection in Conflict Situations. Among the participants were representatives from the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the Multinational Joint Taskforce against Boko Haram (MNJTF), Police Superintendents, Defence Attaches and Defence Advisors of TCCs/PCCs, the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF), the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) and the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC). ACCORD was represented by Ms Rumbidzaishe Matambo, Programme Officer within ACCORD’s TfP Programme

In March 2020, the Assembly of the AU requested that the AUC develop a comprehensive policy on child protection in AU PSOs. The Training for Peace (TfP) in Africa Programme has been a key partner of the AUC PAPS in the development of the policy on child protection in AU PSOs since 2020. This workshop sought to sensitize participants on the Draft Policy on Child Protection in AU PSOs and to validate the draft policy.

Through the TfP Programme, ACCORD continues to support the AU’s concerted efforts at reviewing and developing relevant policy documents, and increasing knowledge, policy and capacities for deployments at the AUC and REC/RM strategic levels. The TfP Programme at ACCORD is an initiative funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.rumb