Fight for Humanity welcomes the signature by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Self-Administration of North East Syria (SA-NES) of the United Nations (UN) Action plan to End and Prevent the Recruitment and Use of Children. The ceremony took place on 29 June 2019 in Geneva in presence of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.
Fight for Humanity participated in several meetings between the SDF/ SA-NES and the UN and as a ressource organization, it contributed to build trust and mutual understanding between both parties and to maintain a continuous dialogue. As such it is pleased that this process finally resulted in the signature of an action plan.
According to the UN, “through this Action Plan, the SDF commits to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children, to identify and separate boys and girls currently within its ranks and to put in place preventative, protection and disciplinary measures related to child recruitment and use.”
The People’s Protection Units (YPG/YPJ) - SDF main component - has been listed in the Annexes of the Secretary-General Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict for the recruitment and use of children together with other Syrian armed actors. The SDF / SA-NES is the first Syrian actor to sign an action plan with the UN.
“The SDF / SA-NES has decided to take another commitment to protect children during the conflict. Even if they have made some effort to stop recruiting children in their rank, more must be done to ensure that no children under 18 is used as a combatant or even associated with the armed forces for example as a spy, a cook or a porter. We are ready to continue our work to support the implementation of the action plan” said Mehmet Balci, Fight for Humanity’s Co-Director.
In a meeting with Mehmet Balci, Mazlum Abdi, SDF General Commander, welcome a contribution of Fight for Humanity to implement of the Action Plan in coordination with UN agencies and its partners.
Fight for Humanity has been dialoguing with the SDF / SA-NES on human rights issues including the protection of children in the conflict and the legal situation of former Islamic State detainees.