The Africa Platform on Children Affected by Armed Conflict (APCAAC) has welcome the African Union (AU)’s adoption of two significant policies on child protection.
The new African Platform on Children Affected by Armed Conflicts (AfCAAC) aims to serve as an advisory, advocacy and supportive mechanism to the AU agenda on child protection in situations of conflict, as part of AU’s ongoing efforts to protect children affected by conflicts from the six (6) grave violations through policy making at the Continental level.
DURING ITS MEETING HELD IN ETHIOPIA LAST MONTH, the AU Specialized Technical Committee on Defense, Safety and Security (STCDSS) adopted two policies for protecting and enhancing the welfare of children in situations of armed conflict in Africa.
The two policies are the Policy on Child Protection in AU Peace Support Operations and the Policy on Mainstreaming Child Protection into the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).
“These instruments are a significant milestone in responding to the severe violations of children’s rights in conflict situations in Africa.”
The APCAAC was established by the AU Commission, with membership from ambassadors of AU member states in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia and also the headquarters of the AU, to strengthen advocacy and development of policies aimed at addressing the plight of children in conflict situations.
The platform envisages promoting the prioritization of children affected by armed conflict at various departments of the AU Commission and helping keep the issue at the center of policy making at the continental level.
According to the AU, the two policies envisage mainstreaming child protection into AU institutional responses, from peacemaking to peace-building, and ensuring child protection in AU-mandated, authorized, or endorsed peace support operations toward preventing violations against children in armed conflict and promoting accountability for in mission areas.
AUC’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Bankole Adeoye, also the co-convener of the APCAAC, highlighted the crucial importance of the two policy instruments.
“These instruments underscore the commitment of AU policy organs such as the Assembly and the Peace and Security Council, which have adopted decisions calling for the enhanced protection of children in conflict situations and the promotion of children’s rights in Africa’s peace, security and development agendas.”AUC Commissioner
According to the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, adopting the policy instruments would contribute to efforts by the AU to address the impact of protracted conflicts and the scourge of terrorism on children. Among these impacts on children are killing, abduction, separation from families, trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse, recruitment into armed forces and armed groups, malnutrition, diseases, and attacks on schools and healthcare facilities.
Meanwhile, the APCAAC called for fully and effectively implementing the recently adopted two policy instruments with commensurate resources.