The United Nations has announced a new and groundbreaking dimension to its peacekeeping operations:the deployment of Child Protection Advisers (CPAs), in a joint statement issued today at United Nations Headquarters in New York by Bernard Miyet, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Olara A. Otunnu, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

The role of the CPA is to help ensure that the protection of children s rights is a priority concern throughout the peacekeeping process and the consolidation of peace in war-torn countries. CPAs will advise the relevant peacekeeping operations and, under the overall authority of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, will coordinate with relevant United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and national authorities to ensure that children s issues are incorporated fully into all relevant peacekeeping and peace-building policies and programmes.

CPAs will also work to ensure that all personnel involved in United Nations peacekeeping operations – both military and civilian – have appropriate training on the protection of children s rights.

This is a real breakthrough for children affected by conflict , the senior United Nations officials stated. This is a major step in integrating the protection of children s rights into the peace and security agenda of the United Nations. This represents a concrete follow-up to Security Council resolution 1261 on children and armed conflict, adopted last August, and is an expression of the values embodied in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The first Child Protection Adviser has assumed her position with the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Sierra Leone, UNAMSIL, pursuant to Security Council resolution 1260. CPAs have also been appointed to serve with MONUC, the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, following the adoption of Security Council resolution 1279. The placement of CPAs in other United Nations peacekeeping operations, as appropriate, is under discussion, in particular in East Timor and Kosovo.

Typically, CPAs will be drawn from the ranks of experienced staff in key United Nations agencies and from relevant non-governmental organizations and development agencies with expertise in the protection of children s rights.

For further information, contact: Margaret Carey (DPKO): (212) 963 1647; Ilene Cohn (OSRSG/CAC): (212) 963 9739; Philip O Brien (UNICEF): (212) 824 6541.