Ms. Aisha Zannah, a final year student of Mass Communication at Skyline University Nigeria (SUN), has canvassed greater protection of children and youth from inter-communal violence and insurgencies. She made the call on 18th January 2022, at the 25th Anniversary of the Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) Mandate, where she was a panel speaker. “I’m calling everyone to commit to forming action plans and take concrete measures to protect children, especially girls”.
The 25th Anniversary of the CAAC mandate was organized in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations, United Nations Head Quarters in New York. The event provided the opportunity to look back at the progress for children, including the more than 170,000 children released from armed forces and groups, and highlighted the added value of the mandate as part of the human rights, development, and peace-building agendas. It also explored ways in which the CAAC mandate could further evolve and generate more progress for the protection of boys and girls in the coming years.
While making her presentation online, on the theme of the event, Ms. Aisha stated that thousands of children and youth are paying the prices for inter-communal violence and insurgencies. According to her, world leaders must fulfill the wide gap in aid funding so that women and children can receive protection. “I strongly encourage actors and youths around the world to be involved in the peace processes. And to take concrete actions that prioritize the protection of children affected by conflict at the national, regional, and global level”, She stated.
She posited that the world must be ready to do more, to recognize that children’s needs and rights must be considered during all phases of conflicts, from prevention efforts to mediation and recovery, to sustainable inclusive development in education. As she puts it, “Education is all we have to change our future and integrate children and youth into peace processes that can provide a concrete result for children and peace that can last decades. It starts and ends there. Without this, our futures are gone”.
While delivering his remarks, the Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations and moderator of the event His Excellency (H.E.) Mr. Robert Rae, appreciated the contributions from Ms. Aisha for her impact at the event. “Aisha thank you very much your word is very profound and have such an impact on all of us. You are a great leader and we appreciate your inspiration today” he stated.
The 25th Anniversary of the Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) mandate featured participants with high-end professional portfolios. They include the Secretary-General of the United Nations – António Guterres, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway – H.E. Anniken Huitfeldt, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict – Ms. Virginia Gamba, UNICEF Executive Director – Ms. Henrietta Fore, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs – Ms. Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations – Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Advocate for Children Affected by War – Mr. Forrest Whitaker, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations – H.E. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations – H.E. Mr. Juan Ramón de la Fuente Permanent Representative of Niger to the United Nations – Ramírez, H.E. Mr. Abdou Abarry and Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations – H.E. Ms. María del Carmen Squeff.