Five Reasons to Constitute Peace Processes with Structural Foci on Children's Rights

These five reasons are distilled from Law of Peace and Children's Human Rights

1. Children are mostly invisible in the successive processes and resultant agreements that constitute peacemaking. Its extremity is laid bare by a cursory review of collections of peace agreements. Of the close to eight hundred peace agreements in the United Nations database, ninety-five include a reference to children, for example.

2. Yet there is an international human rights obligation on parties to peacemaking to qualify children’s standing as subject of human rights in peacemaking, as recalled by treaty and Charter bodies.

The adoption of any law or regulation as well as collective agreements — such as bilateral or multilateral trade or peace treaties which affect children — should be governed by the best interests of the child.
— Committee on the Rights of the Child, The Right of the Child to have his or her Best Interests Taken as a Primary Consideration, General Comment No. 14, § para. 31, May 29, 2013, UN Doc. CRC/C/GC/14.
[The Security Council] calls upon all concerned parties to ensure that the protection, rights and well-being of children are integrated into the peace processes, peace agreements and the post-conflict recovery and reconstruction phases.
— UN Security Council Resolution 1460, §para. 12 2003, UN Doc. SC/Res/1460.

3. The obligation is mostly interdependent with the pursuance of peace: though the obligation to qualify children’s agency and associated views may yield (commensurate with the general obligation) to the legitimate aim of pursuing peace at strategic points, the obligation to qualify children’s presence and associated rights remains.

4. Taking legal and other measures to ensure children's standing as subjects of human rights is qualified (i.e., officially recognised) and accorded significance in the staged process brings children into being in the staged process — and in doing so supports parties to peacemaking to comply with their broader human rights obligations and commitments.

5. Qualifying children’s standing as subjects of human rights in this way may, thus, have broader rights multiplying effects: in the prenegotiation stage, legal and other measures to halt serious violations of international human rights law (and if applicable international humanitarian law); and in the substantive framework and implementation stages, legal and other measures to give effect to children’s rights through the transforming legal orders.