Web review

L’Osservatorio monitors the web and other information sources daily to provide in-depth news on the impact of contemporary armed conflicts on civilians.

1 July 2019

Syrian Democratic Forces signed the United Nation Action Plan to prevent recruitment of Syrian children as soldiers

On Monday 1 July, it was announced that, on 29 June, the United Nations (UN) signed an Action Plan for children protection with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

In order to prevent the recruitment of syrian children as soldiers, Action Plan was signed by Virginia Gamba Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) and Mazloum Abdu, SDF commander. 

 Children situation in Syria is one of the most desperate. Among the several groups that enlistee children, there are the People’s Protection Units (YPG), Syrian government forces and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ). UN recorded 3,377 cases of children being used in the Syrian conflict from 2013 to 2018 and also said that there were over 380 verified cases of children used by the YPG and the YPJ in 2013-2018. In order to heal the situation, a plan was needed and after months of engagement between UN and SDF, the result is the Action Plan in which  SDF commits to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children under 18, to identify and separate boys and girls currently within its ranks and to create preventative, protection and disciplinary measures related to the use of minors.

Ms. Gamba highlighted the importance of Action Plan since it represents a great opportunity for the parties involved in the conflict to put an end to violations against children as well as to improve the protection of those affected by armed conflict. Ms. Gamba described this result as an “important day” for syrian children and she urged all parties listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General annual report, in Syria and elsewhere, to adopt the Action Plan. She also asked them to work together for a political solution in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2254 (2015) in order to restore peace in the country.


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Author: Giulia Francescon; Editor: Aleksandra Krol

Category: Syria - Web Review
Wednesday, 17 July 2019

As conflict in the Great Lakes region heightens, Uganda continues to accept more refugees. 

26 June 2019

With an open door policy and being trapped between three large active conflicts in the Great Lakes region, Uganda’s refugee population has increased to more than one million since 2016.  More specifically, Uganda currently hosts more than 345,000 refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), more than 825,000 South Sudanese refugees, and nearly 105,000 refugees from Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Dunia Aslam Khan, the spokesperson for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Uganda, recalls: “There’s not a single day when we don’t receive refugees. Last week we received more than 1,000 from DRC alone.”. 

Since the start of June 2019, violence resulting from decades-long conflict between the militias associated with Lendu farmers and Hema herders in DRC has peaked . Especially high escalation can be seen in the Ituri province, where, apart from large-scale displacement, "armed groups are said to be attacking villages, torching and looting houses, and killing men, women and children," says UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic. 

In the Beni area within the Nord-Kivu province of DR, over 40 people were killed at a funeral for a journalist by the same rebels that killed him, recalls the journalist's sister-in-law Maska Wizine. Wizine left for Uganda with the family shortly after the attack.

In addition to being affected by the conflict, Beni is the second-worst troubled area with regard to the ongoing Ebola epidemic in the DRC. As Wizine’s family were getting onto the boat to Uganda, Wizine’s sister fell ill and died shortly after.

According to UNHCR’s Khan, the organization is working with the Ugandan government to create more screening facilities and all refugee reception centres in Uganda already screen for Ebola with infrared thermometers. Although refugees coming from DRC form a very small part of the Ugandan population, Khan warns against Ebola-related scapegoating while the country is overburdened with the refugee influx. 

UNHCR estimates that Uganda will need $927 million to be able to adequately respond to the influx of refugees. So far it has received merely $150 million which is less than 20 percent of what is required.


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Author: Giulia DeLuca, Editor: Aleksandra Krol


Category: Uganda - Web Review
Monday, 08 July 2019