R2P and the Prevention of Mass Atrocities: A Child-Centric Approach

In: Global Responsibility to Protect

Prevention has taken centre-stage in present discussions around both United Nations reform and the r2p implementation agenda. Contemporary humanitarian crises from Myanmar to Yemen reinforce the horrendous atrocities that children face during periods of armed conflict and mass political upheaval to which the prevention agenda is geared. This article considers the atrocity prevention dimension of r2p; it describes changes in both understanding around the dynamics of political violence and strategies for targeting civilians in contemporary conflicts over the past two decades, situates children in the broader social context of mass political violence, and identifies strategies for incorporating a child-centric lens into the existing atrocity prevention toolkit. It argues that while the children and armed conflict agenda strengthens atrocity prevention efforts in relation to children’s specific experiences in violent conflict, it does not serve as an adequate proxy for a child-centric approach to atrocity prevention through both structural and targeted measures.

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