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Two Armed Non-State Actors Become the First Signatories of Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment for the Protection of Children from the Effects of Armed Conflict

By Geneva Call  •  August 6, 2012

The Karenni National Progressive Party/Karenni Army (KNPP/KA) and the New Mon State Party/Mon National Liberation Army (NMSP/MNLA) from Burma/Myanmar are the first to sign this instrument. The signings took place on 2 August 2012 in Geneva.

There is a need for an approach to the question of child protection in armed conflict that includes armed non-State actors (ANSAs) as a part of the solution to the problem and enables them to acknowledge their responsibility for ensuring the protection of children.

By signing this Deed of Commitment, the KNPP/KA and NMSP/NMLA are publically formalizing their responsibilities towards the protection of children in situations of armed conflict. They pledge to ensure under-18s are not recruited into, or used by their armed forces. In addition, the Deed of Commitment includes a broader set of international obligations relating to the protection, rights and well-being of children affected by armed conflict and underlines the responsibility of the ANSAs to facilitate education and assistance for children in need of care in areas where they exercise authority. Signatory ANSAs also agree to cooperate in the monitoring of their commitment by Geneva Call. The Government of the Republic and Canton of Geneva is custodian of the signed Deeds.

“It is important for us to show that we are willing are able to comply with International Humanitarian Law. It is for this reason that in 2007, we made an initial agreement with UNICEF. But today we would like to go further in signing the Deed of Commitment of Geneva Call, and we need Geneva Call’s help to continue along this path and implement our obligations on the protection of children in our country and for our people;” said Khu Oo Reh, KNPP Secretary 1.

Brigadier General Nai Layeh Gakaung, the Vice Chief of Staff of the MNLA, stated, “we are honoured to sign the Deed of Commitment and look forward to co-operating with Geneva Call and other organizations to ensure that children enjoy the protection and assistance that they deserve.”

Elisabeth Decrey Warner, President of Geneva Call, emphasized the importance of this commitment. “Throughout this conflict, children have paid a very heavy cost for the war. The decision today by these leaders of two armed non-State actors to put children at the top of their concerns and to give them a chance to live in better conditions should be commended. It is a very good example for other non-State actors.”

Since 2006, Geneva Call has been engaging many ANSAs operating in Burma/Myanmar on the ban on anti-personnel mines, and since the end of 2010 on child protection. It is hoped that the recent signatures by the KNPP and NMSP will galvanize other ANSAs in Burma/Myanmar to make similar commitments. Geneva Call will work with various stakeholders to support and monitor these obligations. In this way, Geneva Call sees its role, the Deed of Commitment, and its approach to dialogue as complementary to the UN Security Council’s Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) on grave violations against children, as well as the Joint Action Plan recently signed by the Government of the Union of Myanmar with the UN.

Geneva Call would like to thank all the donors and partners that have supported its work in engaging ANSAs to provide better protection to children. In particular, Geneva Call would like to acknowledge the key role played by the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma in collaborating in the engagement of the KNPP and NMSP on this issue.

The Deed can be downloaded here.

For further information, please contact:

Katherine Kramer
Programme Director Asia
+41 879 10 50 | www.genevacall.org
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This post is in: Press Release

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