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International Conferences

In addition to attending numerous international and national conferences on the impact of armed conflict on children and children's rights, the Unit has been involved in the organisation of two international conferences.

In February "The First Hearings on the Protection of War-Affected Children: Securing Children's Rights in the Context of Armed Conflict" was held at the University of Essex. This was organised jointly with the International Bureau for Children's Rights and attended by prominent individuals in the field, including a representative from the office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children in Armed Conflict.

The Unit was part of the organising committee for the International Children's Rights Conference, co-ordinated by Human Rights International Alliance. The Unit organised a day dedicated to exploring the issues relating to children and armed conflict. The sessions included contributions from young people from Northern Ireland and England.

Staff have attended a number of conferences and meetings and presented papers on our work and lessons to be learnt for the implementation of children's rights, in London, Washington, Ankara and recently in Italy on the rights of Roma people.

Two representatives of the Unit were also part of an international panel that visited Northern Ireland in June 2000. This visit was organised by Community Conflict Impact on Children. The International panel was taken on a two day tour of Northern Ireland visiting areas that are particularly significant for the Troubles and meeting with youth groups and young people to find out their feelings about the conflict and to better understand the impact of the conflict on their lives. The panel then reported their experiences to the Building the Future conference on young people and the troubles. Besnik Kajtazi, from Kosovo gave his views on the visits. The conference focussed heavily on child participation. Olara Otunnu and Peter Mandleson also attended the conference.

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