NATO, UN To Bolster Cooperation To Support Children Affected By Armed Conflicts

The NATO and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) partner nations have agreed to bolster cooperation with the United Nations to support children affected by armed conflicts.

Allied and ISAF partners' Ambassadors On Wednesday took stock of measures already put in action by NATO and received an update by U.N. Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, who briefed the North-Atlantic Council by video link from New York, as part of her efforts to engage with regional organizations, including the EU and AU, on the issue.

Coomaraswamy reminded the Council of the impact of armed conflicts on children, recognizing that the change in character and tactics of modern armed conflicts were leading to new and unprecedented threats to them. These include the deliberate targeting of traditional safe havens for children, including schools and hospitals, and the practice of using children as suicide-bombers or victim bombers.

The envoys welcomed the measures already in place in Afghanistan to counter the problems affecting children caught up in the conflict and welcomed the practical cooperation between the U.N. and ISAF in this complex security environment. Examples of this cooperation include the financial and technical support provided to a nation-wide awareness campaign for the prevention of child recruitment launched by the Afghan Interior Ministry, and the development of specific child protection training for the Afghan Security Forces.

NATO is also working with the U.N. at the strategic level. NATO's Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, conducted a joint workshop with its U.N. counterparts to identify specific training needs to ensure that the issue of children affected by armed conflicts is incorporated more broadly in pre-deployment training for troops deploying to ISAF.

NATO said it was determined to maintain a close dialogue with the U.N. Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict on this important issue, including through the appointment of a high-level point of contact.

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