Twentieth anniversary of the landmark “Machel Study” on  “The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children”

Twenty years ago, Graça Machel published her landmark study entitled  “The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children”. This report has alerted the international community to the suffering of children during armed conflicts and has opened door to robust action from the United Nations. Substantive progress in child protection has followed the publication of the “Machel Study ” even though there is still a lot that remains to be done to preserve children from the harsh effects of today’s conflicts.

The “Machel Study” described the violations most commonly occurring to children in times of war, as well as a call to action with practical recommendations, including the nomination of a special representative of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict to keep the protection of children “very high on the international human rights, peace, security and development agendas” (source: A/RES/48/157). Four months later, the General Assembly answered the call and recommended the appointment of a Special Representative on children and armed conflict, who would report back to the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council (then called the Commission on Human Rights) annually.

According to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict :

“Since 2000, more than 115,000 child soldiers have been released as a result of dialogue and Action Plans with national armed forces and armed groups …..
Despite this important progress, emerging and protracted conflicts are disrupting the lives of millions of children, and continue to fuel the largest movement of populations the world has experienced since the Second World War. The UN reports annually on tens of thousands of children killed, maimed, recruited and used as child soldiers, abducted and victims of sexual violence. ”  (source Press Release from the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and armed conflict – 25 August 2016).

Terre des Hommes has actively collaborated to the production of the “Machel study” on “The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children” in providing background documents and information on children affected by armed conflicts. Since then, Terre des Hommes has been active in preventing the recruitment of children as soldiers and is one of the co-founders of the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers (now Child Soldiers International). Terre des Hommes is also offering care, psycho-social support and perspectives to children affected by armed conflicts and refugee children. It stands alongside the most deprived children in the aftermath of conflicts and supports the efforts of communities to rebuild their lives and pave the way for peaceful and durable solutions.

Helping these children and combating a culture of violence with a culture of peace and democracy – this is Terre des Hommes’ concern. Learn more