Panel Discussion to Focus on "Protecting the Rights of Children Affected by Armed Conflict: The Role of The United Nations and NGO's," February 7
The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination (LISD) will sponsor a panel discussion, "Protecting the Rights of Children Affected by Armed Conflict: The Role of the UN and NGOs," on Thursday, February 7, 2013, at 4:30 p.m., in Bowl 016, Robertson Hall, on the Princeton University campus. Panel participants will include Alec Wargo, Program Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict; Jo Becker, Advocacy Director for the Children's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch; and Eva Smets, Director of WatchList on Children and Armed Conflict. The event is free and open to the public.
The public panel is the plenary session of a private workshop on children and armed conflict, which will take place on February 8. The workshop will address the current gaps in mandates related to the issue of children in armed conflict in UN Missions, particularly in Afghanistan and Somalia, and will provide specific recommendations on how to strengthen the fight against impunity for persistent violators of the rights of children affected by armed conflicts. The meeting will bring together academics, representatives of NGOs, and representatives of UN member states including members of the Security Council and the UN Secretariat for private discussion. The workshop is organized by the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to the United Nations and WatchList on Children and Armed Conflict.
Leila Zerrougui is special representative of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. Appointed in September 2012, she serves as a moral voice and independent advocate to build awareness and give prominence to the rights and protection of boys and girls affected by armed conflict. Immediately prior to this appointment she was the deputy special representative of the Secretary-General and deputy head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) where, since 2008, she spearheaded the Mission’s efforts in strengthening the rule of law and protection of civilians. As a legal expert in human rights and the administration of justice, Zerrougui has had a distinguished career in the strengthening of the rule of law and in championing strategies and actions for the protection of vulnerable groups especially women and children. A lawyer by training, Zerrougui was a member of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention under the United Nations Human Rights Council from 2001, and served as the Working Group’s chairperson-rapporteur from 2003 until May 2008. Prior to her international engagements, Zerrougui had a longstanding career in the Algerian judiciary and in 2000, was appointed to the Algerian Supreme Court. She served as a juvenile judge and judge of first instance from 1980 to 1986, and as an appeals court judge from 1986 to 1997. From 1998 to 2000, she served as legal adviser to the Cabinet of the Ministry of Justice and, from 2000 to 2008, as legal adviser to the cabinet of the president of the Republic. She also worked at various high level positions within the Algerian government and was member of the Algerian National Commission on the Reform of the Judiciary. Zerrougui graduated from the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (Algiers) in 1980. Since 1993, she has held various academic positions at law schools in Algeria, and was associate professor of the Ecole Supérieure de la Magistrature (Algiers). She has published extensively on the administration of justice and human rights.
Jo Becker is advocacy director for the children's rights division of Human Rights Watch. Becker frequently represents Human Rights Watch before the media, government officials, and the general public on issues including child soldiers, abusive child labor, and juvenile justice, her primary areas of expertise. Becker founded the International Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and was a leading advocate for the international treaty prohibiting the use of child combatants, adopted by the United Nations in 2000. She has conducted fact-finding missions on child soldiers in Northern Uganda, Burma, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Before joining Human Rights Watch in 1997, Becker was the executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a national interfaith peace and justice organization. She graduated from Goshen College in Indiana and has a M.A. in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
Eva Smets is director of WatchList on Children and Armed Conflict, a network of international NGOs, which collects and disseminates information on violations against children throughout the world and uses this information to advocate for change. Prior to coming to WatchList, Smets spent six years with several NGOs in conflict settings in Central and East Africa, where she focused on humanitarian advocacy. She also has extensive lobbying experience, including in New York, Brussels, and Geneva. Eva holds a master’s degree in human rights and democratization from the University of Padova, Italy, and a degree in history from the University of Brussels, Belgium.
For additional information about the workshop, please visit: http://lisd.princeton.edu/events/workshop-children-and-armed-conflict.