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Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism: The erosion of children’s rights in armed conflict

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Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict

The evolving nature of warfare and the increase in conflict intensity, duration, and complexity present new challenges for the protection of children in armed conflict. In particular, the rise of non-State armed groups resorting to acts of terrorism has created unprecedented threats to children’s rights, as well as to international peace and security. At the same time, States’ counterterrorism strategies have proliferated, with the introduction of new measures that lack adequate safeguards for children and, in many cases, have led to serious violations of their rights.

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict (‘Watchlist’) conducted research with experts, diplomats, the United Nations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) exploring States’ measures to counter terrorism and violent extremism and the impact of these on children’s rights in armed conflict. The objective of the research was to promote a child rights-based approach and encourage more proactive efforts on the part of States, international coalitions, and multilateral organizations to recognize and ensure their international obligations to protect children’s rights and uphold juvenile justice standards. The research shows that the rights of children living in countries affected by armed conflict are impacted in a number of negative ways in the context of efforts to counter terrorism. 

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