Recent years have seen an escalation in impact of war on children – from the sexual enslavement to the deliberate bombing of their schools – subjecting a generation of children to targeted violence and indiscriminate attacks. Crimes against children which should send shock waves around the world are coming to be accepted as commonplace. In Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Myanmar and elsewhere, international laws and human rights provisions developed in the 20th Century are being violated at an alarming rate. This failure to protect children in conflict raises questions as to whether existing international law norms and institutions provide sufficient protection and accountability.

I spoke with Just Security‘s Shaheed Fatima QC to discuss a new effort, that she played a key role in, to better protect children in armed conflict.

The Inquiry on Protecting Children in Conflict examined whether there is more that international law can do, practically and effectively, and considered whether there are new laws or procedures that may enhance the protection of children. Chaired by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown – and sponsored by international charities, Save the Children and Their World – the Inquiry was commissioned in April 2017. It is comprised of a legal panel, led by Fatima, and an advisory panel of globally influential policy-makers, thinkers and activists.


Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Music: Autumn Leaves by Poddington Bear