Iraq, student Kristel Tonstad investigated child protection in war zones. She
interviewed US Army Officers who had been deployed in Iraq and former Iraqi government and
health officials regarding the situation of children in violent regions of the country.
With a grant from the Carr Center, she traveled to Amman and interviewed child protection
officers and other humanitarian personnel. She conducted a review of Iraqi laws and
policies affecting children and examined child protection policies in neighboring
Her policy analysis (PAE) concerns what may be done to protect children in Iraq from
violence, abuse and exploitation. Though the paper makes recommendations for child
protection in the aftermath of the war and in the long-term, the focus is on immediate
interventions. These include increased monitoring and reporting regarding the situation
of children; publicizing the harm of children in the war; training Iraqi armed forces to
avoid any engagement, exploitation or targeting of children in combat. Recommendations in
the aftermath of the war and less violent locations center on reuniting families;
establishing child protective services and child and family services; strengthening the
Child Welfare Commission; and drafting and enforcing an Iraqi Child Protection Act. The
priority, however, should be to arouse public opinion in the Middle East and in the
international community to call for an urgent end to sectarian violence on behalf of
Iraq's children - the future of Iraq.
Read Kristel's paper here.