Democratic Republic of Congo: first contacts with armed groups in the Masisi territory
In February, 36 leaders and representatives of local civil society organizations attended a two-day workshop on Geneva Call’s work and on the laws of armed conflict. The workshop took place in a village located in the Masisi territory, an area partly controlled by armed groups. Clashes between these groups and governmental forces are common and highly affect civilian lives.
All participants – including representatives of women and youth organizations - expressed their support to Geneva Call’s work to engage armed non-State actors on the protection of civilians. Discussions and exchanges notably focused on the protection of schools from armed occupation and attacks.
Following this workshop, first contacts with armed groups operating in the region were established.
Syria, Kobane: explosive traps and remnants of war put the returning population at risk
After several months of intense fighting, the city of Kobane is now under the control of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) / the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) – the main Syrian Kurdish armed movement. Thousands of civilians that had fled to Turkey are now attempting to cross the Turkish border to return home. However, the city is reported to have been left with explosive devices, booby traps and remnants of war.
In June 2014, YPG-YPJ signed Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment banning anti-personnel
(AP) mines and committed to prohibit under any circumstance the use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of AP mines [and any other victim-activated explosive device]. They also pledged to undertake and cooperate in stockpile destruction; mine clearance; victim assistance; mine awareness; and various other forms of mine action, in cooperation with specialized organizations.
Geneva Call welcomes the announcement by the FARC-EP on a raise of the minimum recruitment age
Geneva Call welcomes the announcement by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) that they will raise the minimum age of incorporation into their forces from 15 to 17.
Geneva Call finds this to be a positive first step for the well-being and protection of conflict-affected children in Colombia, and an important gesture in the context of the peace process with the Government and towards the Colombian society and international community.
Geneva Call, amongst other humanitarian and human rights organizations, has been in dialogue with the FARC-EP on the issue of child protection, including the recruitment and the use of children, for more than two years
. This dialogue started with the peace process in 2012 and in September 2014 Geneva Call submitted concrete proposals on different humanitarian issues to the FARC-EP, in particular to increase the recruitment age and to demobilize those younger as a first step.
Geneva Call ranks among the top 500 NGO worldwide
The Swiss non-profit Global Geneva has ranked Geneva Call 91st in their 2015 listing of the world’s top 500 non-governmental organizations.
1,800 NGOs were considered out of which 500 appear on the list.
Geneva Call is working towards an enhanced protection of civilian populations in armed conflict and is one of the world’s leading organizations in the field of sustainable humanitarian engagement with armed non-State actors. In 2014, it engaged 53 armed non-State actors in 15 countries.
More information on the ranking and selection methodology is available on www.top500ngos.net