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The Fight for a Right out of Sight: The Under-Prioritization of Attacks on Schools and the Lack of Accountability under the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism...

Shevell, Meaghan

The multifaceted effects of armed conflict on children are well-documented. Systematic monitoring and reporting on human rights violations committed against children aim to mitigate these impacts by better informing programmatic response and analyzing trends to prevent future violations. Through personal field research, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the UN Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) as implemented in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with a particular emphasis on attacks on schools. The research sought to address the following questions: 1) What are the current challenges in effectively implementing the MRM in the DRC? 2) Is the MRM effective in linking monitoring to response for the grave violation of attacks on schools? 3) Is the MRM accountable to children in situations of armed conflict? Results of qualitative Nvivo analysis of key informant interviews indicated that several challenges remain, with two major findings warranting further discussion. First, attacks on schools are relegated by other violations. Second, there is a bifurcation in accountability approaches between local grassroots groups excluded from the MRM (i.e. victim-focused and ‘downward’ accountability, building capacity) and UN bodies and international organizations on the MRM Task Force (i.e. perpetrator-focused and ‘upward’ accountability, favoring weak penal measures). Additional examination revealed that the latter strategy is often unsuccessful in its approach, highlighting the need for the MRM to be part of a broader effort, engaging with a more diverse set of actors including local representation. The challenges highlighted in this study have significant implications on whether the MRM can be used to prevent future violations and inform effective programmatic responses. Additionally, results call into question whether the UN’s use of punitive measures are merely ‘empty threats’ that do not set a strong precedent to deter future perpetrators of grave violations against children.

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More Information

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Boothby, Neil G.
Degree
M.A., Columbia University

Notes

Full title: The Fight for a Right out of Sight: The Under-Prioritization of Attacks on Schools and the Lack of Accountability under the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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