Mali: Launch of the campaign "ACT to Protect Children Affected by Conflict"
Bamako, 12 July 2019 - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, launched today the campaign ACT to Protect Children Affected by Conflict in Bamako with the support of the Prime Minister of Mali, Boubou Cissé, and his Government.
The launch of this new awareness campaign focusing on the importance of protecting conflict affected children took place during an event bringing together members of the Malian authorities, representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil society and the diplomatic community, as well as United Nations.
The campaign “ACT to Protect Children Affected by Conflict” aims to catalyse global attention and efforts to end the six grave violations against children as well as to prevent future violations by strengthening collaboration, partnership and synergies between local, regional and international actors.
“Mali needs to implement sustainable solutions to enable girls and boys who have suffered - and still suffer - from the ravages of conflict to recover and enjoy their childhood but moreover, to give them access to real options to reintegrate society and rebuild their lives with the hope of a better future,” said Virginia Gamba at the launch of the campaign in Bamako.
In Mali, ACT to Protect will strengthen advocacy for the protection of children, the first victims of the conflict. The campaign will also promote the exemplary work done in the field by a range of partners and build on the foundation of this work by highlighting the challenges facing boys and girls, while trying to identify appropriate responses.
"The campaign launched today is hopeful for Mali's most vulnerable girls and boys but must be accompanied by concrete actions to end grave violations against children," said the co-presidents of the United Nations Task Force on Children and Armed Conflict in Mali. "It will support the ongoing actions of all partners in child protection to end and prevent violations and ensure that every child, everywhere in Mali, enjoys a childhood freed from violence," they added.
The campaign will also be an opportunity for the Malian authorities to amplify their commitments to children, notably through the effective implementation of international instruments such as the Safe Schools Declaration, adopted by Mali in February 2018, and the rapid adoption of a revised Child Protection Code.
The dialogue with armed groups and movements will also seek the release of all girls and boys who were recruited or used during the conflict, as well as the prevention and cessation of all grave violations against children.
Mali is at the heart of the Special Representative's global action and advocacy with the international community. This campaign will contribute to advocate for broader and sustainable access to reintegration programs so that all released children can receive appropriate support, while guaranteeing access to quality education for all children in Mali.
Launched in New York on April 2, 2019, the ACT to Protect campaign will continue until the end of 2022.