Protecting civilians in armed conflict
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Burmese armed group commits to child protection and the prohibition of sexual violence

20th March 2014 | Burma-Myanmar - Child protection

To read the version in Burmese, click here.

On 19 March 2014 in Geneva, representatives from the Burma/Myanmar armed non-State actor –  the Chin National Front (CNF) and its armed wing the Chin National Army (CNA) – signed Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment protecting children in armed conflict and the Deed of Commitment prohibiting sexual violence in armed conflict and against gender discrimination.

The CNF/CNA, which signed a ceasefire with the Government in 2012, has been fighting for more autonomy for the Chin people – an ethnic group living in the north west of the country – for more than three decades.

In signing these two Deeds of Commitment, the CNF/CNA commits to the highest international norms in terms of child protection and prohibition of sexual violence. In particular, the CNF/CNA pledges not to allow children under 18 to be recruited or used in hostilities and to strive to protect them from the effects of conflict. In a region where cases of sexual violence have often been reported, the CNF/CNA also reaffirms its determination to strictly prohibit any forms of sexual violence and to involve women in decision-making and in the on-going peace process.

This commitment comes after several years of engagement on these issues by Geneva Call,  including CNF’s  participation in Geneva Call’s regional workshop ”Improving the Protection of Women and Girls during Armed Conflict” in December 2010,  and  intensive training on both child protection and the prevention of sexual violence in August 2012.

“Our signing of these two Deeds of Commitment clearly indicates the priority that we give to seeking to reduce the risk of harm to those who are not involved in the conflict. As with anti-personnel (AP) mines, we will actively take steps to ensure that the terms of the two new instruments are complied with” said  Paul Sitha, Assistant Secretary General 1 .

In 2006, the CNF/CNA signed the Deed of Commitment banning AP mines and has taken measures to implement this commitment, including destruction of components previously used to make these devices. By signing these instruments, it becomes the first armed group in Burma/Myanmar to have signed all three of Geneva Call’s current Deeds of Commitment.