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Research Globalisation Studies Groningen (GSG)

GSG Public Lecture: Child protection in conflict areas

When:Th 19-05-2022 16:00 - 18:00
Where:Heymans Hall, Academy building, University of Groningen

This lecture is free to attend (no registration).

Child protection in conflict areas

"All wars, whether just or unjust," commented Eglantyne Jebb, the founder of Save the Children,"are waged against the child." The war in Ukraine is the latest illustration of her observation. One of the features of modern conflicts from Afghanistan to Syria, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and the Democratic Republic of Congo has been not just a failure to protect children, but the deliberate and systematic targeting of children by armed actors. Yet there is a culture of impunity surrounding those responsible - a culture reflecting a failure to uphold the basic tenets of international law and human rights.

In this lecture Kevin Watkins will argue that the failure to protect children in war is one of the defining challenges of the 21st Century. The lecture will provide an overview of the impact of armed conflict on children, drawing on his experience at Save the Children. After tracing the evolution of humanitarian, human rights, and criminal laws designed to protect children from war, the lecture will highlight deeply rooted institutional and political failures on the part of governments and international agencies. The lecture will include an agenda for change. It will be of interest to all students and staff interested in, for example, humanitarian issues and child protection, international relations and conflict studies, international law and human rights.

Speaker: Dr. Kevin Watkins

Dr. Kevin Watkins

Kevin Watkins (1954) has extensive experience in international development in areas spanning research, advisory work, advocacy, and program delivery. He published extensively on a wide range of development issues and is currently a visiting professor at the London School of Economics.

As CEO of Save the Children UK he was closely involved in humanitarian delivery and policy work. This included work on Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, the Rohingya response, and north east Nigeria.

Priorities included the development and delivery of a major international partnership aimed at combating childhood pneumonia; international advocacy on the protection of children in war; and, more recently, engagement with the IMF-World Bank on financing for post-Covid-19 recovery in low-income countries.

His previous roles include (reverse chronology): Executive Director of the UK Overseas Development Institute; Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Brookings Institution; Director of the Education for All report (UNESCO); Director of the UN’s Human Development Report Office (UNDP); Head of Research Oxfam GB.