UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
The new Unit which works closely with the office of Olara Otunnu, the U.N. Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, was estab- lished to carry on the work of Graca Machel, the former U.N. expert on the impact of armed conflict on children.
The aim of the Unit, which will focus on civilian children, is to lessen the impact of armed conflict on children through better protec- tion of their rights.
The Unit will enable and encourage better defence and protection of children's rights by
- analysing current deficiencies and abuses in the implementation of humanitarian law, human rights law and children's rights;
- promoting actively the implementation of existing international standards;
- identifying and disseminating good practice;
- keeping the issue of children affected by armed conflict in the pub- lic eye.
To accomplish this, the Unit is
- establishing a database of information collected from a variety of sources including agencies, NGOs and journalists operating in situa tions of armed conflict;
- conducting field visits to areas of emerging, on-going, and recently concluded conflicts to investigate the effects of the conflicts on children;
- developing a website to disseminate information about the work of the Unit and sources useful to those working on or interested in the ef- fects of armed conflicts on children:
In the long-term, the Unit will
- prepare reports for relevant international treaty bodies, including the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Human Rights Com- mittee;
- facilitate and provide opportunities for research into issues affect- ing children caught up in armed conflict;
- provide good practice guidelines, fact sheets and other information materials based on expert analysis of collected information.
The project is partly funded by the UK government Department for Inter- national Development. Its joint Directors are Carolyn Hamilton, Direc- tor of the Children's Legal Centre, and Francoise Hampson, Professor of Law at the University of Essex and recently appointed expert on the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protec- tion of Minorities. The Unit's Patron is Graca Machel.
The Children and Armed Conflict Unit is currently building its database and would welcome any information on the impact of armed conflict on children, including those that are in the area of conflict and those who are displaced or refugees. We are particularly interested in the issues of protection, health, education, and family life.
The Children and Armed Conflict Unit
The Children's Legal Centre
The University of Essex
Colchester, ESSEX CO4 3SQ
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