Helping Amnesty International be there for children affected by crisis and conflict
Who they are
Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 7 million people who are campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. In its history of over 50 years, Amnesty has grown from seeking the release of political prisoners to upholding the whole spectrum of human rights. Their work protects and empowers people – from abolishing the death penalty to protecting sexual and reproductive rights, and from combatting discrimination to defending refugees and migrants’ rights. They speak out for anyone and everyone whose freedom and dignity are under threat.
What they do
Today, from Syria to Myanmar, more than 40 conflicts are unfolding worldwide. The violence is brutal and often indiscriminate, and technological advances are making weapons increasingly powerful. Millions have little choice but to flee their homes, risking fraught and treacherous journeys in search of safety. Families are separated, often children find themselves alone. Neighbouring countries taking in the largest numbers of refugees are usually the least equipped to cope. Richer countries build walls, both physical and administrative, to keep people out, spurred on by the populist rhetoric of hate and blame.
Over decades of working on situations of conflict Amnesty International have seen that children and young people constitute the majority affected. It is documented that about 50% of those currently displaced by armed conflict and violence are children. Children are targeted through killing or maiming, recruited into armed groups or fall victims of sexual violence. Conflict-induced displacement alone often results in interrupted schooling, incomplete vaccination programmes, family separation and complex trauma which are hard to recover from. Amnesty is particularly concerned with the lack of accountability for violations against children, notably the growth of violations committed by non-state armed groups such as ISIS or Boko Haram. In many places, stories of suffering go unheard.
Protection of children in and around conflict is vastly different to 10 years ago; new extremist groups are hard to trace and deficiencies in protection systems are letting children down. Government and international response to the protection of children in crisis and to the security of children after fleeing crisis is failing. This must change.
How we’re helping
The tcc foundation is supporting Amnesty International’s transformational programme of work, Be There. The largest ever programme of work to be conceived in the history of the movement, Be There is designed to deliver a huge up-scale in our work to protect people affected by conflict and crisis, preventing abuses and holding those responsible to account.
Amnesty International already works with the very best crisis advisors and researchers in the world, and this programme will provide dedicated, specialist expertise to help vulnerable children. We will pressure governments and others to make the investments now, not after the suffering, focussing on three major steps on the journey of a crisis:
- Helping prevent violence and advocating for better protection of children in crisis and conflict situations.
- Helping children who are affected by conflict to build new and secure lives.
- Fighting for meaningful accountability of crimes against children, bringing those responsible to justice.
The tcc foundation is specifically funding Amnesty International’s research into abuses against children committed by all sides of the conflict in north-eastern Nigeria. While there have been moments when the world paid attention to the conflict, in particular after Boko Haram kidnapped the Chibok schoolgirls in 2014, it remains largely underreported on and under-analysed, especially given the disproportionate impact the conflict has had on children.
Two consultants are being funded for the project: one with substantial experience working in areas of armed conflict and in producing timely, high-quality human rights investigations; and one based in north-eastern Nigeria, with strong connections to the communities impacted by the ongoing conflict. The project team (Senior Crisis Advisor overseeing the project and the two consultants) began the first research mission in December 2019.