Original article by MINUSCA

Sixteen Child Protection Officers and ten Child Protection Focal Points respectively from UNICEF, MINUSCA Child Protection Section and Human Rights Division participated in a workshop organized, from 9 to 13 April 2019 in Bangui, by MINUSCA and Justice Rapid Response (JRR), to strengthen monitoring, investigations and reporting on crimes against children.

The workshop was facilitated by two trainers, Véronique Aubert and Danaé van de Straten, respectively experts on crimes against children and child protection and sexual violence crimes. This workshop follows efforts led by the DPO/Policy and Best Practices Services Child Protection team to identify capacity building needs on child protection in UN Peacekeeping Operations. Training on investigation of crimes against children was identified as a gap – support which is not necessarily provided by the UN system.

The workshop was interactive and addressed numerous subjects including the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on the six grave child rights violations, principles in ensuring that monitoring and reporting on crimes against children are carried out promoting the ‘best interests’ of the child, preparing for investigations and documentation, how to build up the information base and verify allegations when access is not available due to poor security, as well as analysis.

Trainor Veronique Auber expressed her satisfaction in having had the opportunity to share her expertise with very motivated participants. ‘’The Central African Republic people deserve justice, and MINUSCA’s efforts to tackle impunity for crimes against children, an often-neglected issue, is admirable and an example to be followed”, she said.

‘‘Whilst we are actively protecting children through dialogue and action plans, our fight against impunity for serious crimes against children extends beyond the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, for example to the Special Criminal Court and the International Criminal Court. We can always do better and need to ensure that for criminal accountability, our documentation is of the highest quality’’, explained Natalie Ben Zakour Man, the MINUSCA Senior Child Protection Adviser.

Musa Gassama, Director of the Human Rights Division and Representative for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights in the Central African Republic, stated that ‘’MINUSCA Child protection and Human rights officers come from different backgrounds. We share a common goal and responsibility to address accountability for crimes against children’.

Justice Rapid Response works with different partners including UN Women, to strengthen accountability for international criminal law and serious human rights violations. JRR’s participation in this initiative was made possible with the support of the Government of Canada’s Peace and Stabilization Operations Program.