High-level Side Event on Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Children Affected by Armed Conflict

Sharing Best Practices in Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration in the Field

NEW YORK –On July 11, the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict organized a high-level event on the rehabilitation and reintegration of children affected by armed conflict at the United Nations Headquarters. This event featured a discussion to share best practices on psychosocial rehabilitation and social reintegration of children in the field.

His Excellency, Mr. Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Belgium, started the event by giving the welcoming remarks.  As the keynote speaker, Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians emphasized that “emotional wounds of armed conflict must be healed through psychological support to children.”

Thousands of children around the world are associated with armed forces and armed groups. Boys and girls are not only used in combat, but also in support roles or for sexual purposes. Once released from armed forces or armed groups, many suffer from severe psychological disorders.

 

IMG_1850

“Providing reintegration opportunities for children affected by conflict is not only a moral and legal obligation incumbent upon us,” Ms Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, said in the event: “but also an important pillar to create sustainable peace.”

The event highlighted challenges and opportunities to ensure an effective reintegration for children. Kabba Williams, a former child soldier from Sierra Leone, emphasized the importance of education to help children reclaim their lives.

“What we expect and demand is that former child soldiers should be part and parcel of dialogue, the policy making, planning and implementing of policies that lead to access to education,”said Mr. Kabba Williams, “I know only too well the pain and suffering of children affected by armed conflict – and the healing power of education in aiding children affected by conflict to build back their lives and enrich their communities.”