News from the International Organisations: Week of September 17, 2012
This past week, organisations such as Plan International and other child rights watch agencies were delighted by Leila Zerrougui’s plea for an increase in action for the support of the rights of children in areas affected by armed conflict.
Ms. Zerrougui, the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, stated that it is necessary to enforce a better mechanism of accountability and action; a mechanism that would be supported both nationally and internationally. She was also keen to place special emphasis on the recruitment of child soldiers in Sierra Leone, and how this treatment should not be tolerated. She referenced the verdict passed this year by the International Criminal Court against Congolese war lord, Thomas Lubanga, as well as the former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, as part of a campaign to highlight that justice will be sought against those who recruit child soldiers.
The committee on armed conflict also cited a report released in June, 2011 that was released in order to hold organisations accountable for their recruitment of children, or for the harm they cause to children, their schools or hospitals. The list contained the names of 52 political parties, worldwide, including new additions in Yemen, Sudan and conflict-ridden Syria.
The escalating conflict in Syria is creating another problem that was also discussed at the UN this week – the problem of refugees. The longevity of the conflict in Syria has meant that more and more people are fleeing the country to seek refuge in neighbouring Jordan, or just across the border in an uninhabited area of desert. The current estimations are that there are around 85,000 Syrian people who are either registered, or awaiting registration, out of the approximately 280,000 that are still in appalling conditions in the desert.
Angelina Jolie, Hollywood actress and special envoy to the United Nations Refugee Agency, has been visiting the refugee camps in Jordan. Ms. Jolie commended the state of Jordan for saving the lives of countless Syrians by keeping their borders open, and also for allowing the influx of refugee to enter their country. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of refugees is likely to grow by huge proportions, with an average of 2,000 people arriving daily.
Angelina Jolie urged the International community to give aid in order to support the pre-fabricated housing that is being built for the refugees, at a rate of 30 homes per day. With winter approaching, however, there is still much to be done with many refugees still living in tents. The Untied Nations announced this month that they are increasing the allocated budget for this humanitarian crisis from $180 million, to $347 million. The aim of this increase is to assist in the rising costs of housing and medical assistance for the refugees.