What are the Paris Principles and Paris Commitments?

They were adopted in 2007 at the "Free Children from War" conference organized by France and UNICEF. In the last 10 years, 105 states have endorsed these Principles and Commitments.

The "Paris Commitments"

The signatory States have declared that they are prepared to identify and implement durable solutions to combat the unlawful use and recruitment of child soldiers in conflicts.

Two priorities:

  • Putting an end to the use or recruitment of child soldiers;
  • Making every effort to have the Paris Principles observed and applied through political, diplomatic, humanitarian, technical assistance and funding actions.

Several goals:

  • Preventing recruitment in armed forces,
  • Releasing children enlisted into armed groups,
  • Sanctions against people having unlawfully recruited children,
  • Defining the attitude to adopt with children recruited or used by armed groups and who end up being deprived of their liberty,
  • Reintegrating child soldiers: affirming the need for adequate funding granted sufficiently early to allow their full and effective reintegration into civilian life.

The "Paris Principles" are complementary to the "Paris Commitments"

They propose defining an effective framework for taking action on the ground, operational directives and best practices for helping the affected States and international donors.

The Paris Principles address several aspects:

The prevention of unlawful recruitment or use of children in armed conflict:
  • Information campaigns for armed forces or groups
  • Awareness of all factors which may encourage children to join the armed forces
  • Prioritizing schooling for children
  • Awareness of gender and specific risks for girls
  • Preventing family separations
  • Proposing alternatives to recruitment (education and vocational training programmes or income-generating activities),
  • Providing security to local communities.
Releasing child soldiers:
  • Planning release processes which are as quick as possible
  • Seeking the inclusion of provisions in ceasefire and peace agreements on the release and subsequent treatment of children
Reintegration:
  • Adopting an inclusive approach, prioritizing family reunification
  • Providing support, including financial support, to enable full reintegration into civilian life.

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