401 Maria Concepción Pérez Villalobos Military advisers for gender and for the protection of children in armed conflicts Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, signed in 1977, completes and reaffirms these measures, with the aim of developing them and guaranteeing their application. Chapter II is dedicated to the protection of women and children, who are considered the object of “special respect”. As regards children and adolescents, it demands all measures possible be taken to avoid the recruitment of persons who have not attained the age of fifteen years, it prohibits the death penalty for persons who have not attained the age of eighteen years, and regulates with greater detail the evacuation of children and their identification. The reference to the family as a nucleus whose unity should be maintained in the case of detention or internment, and facilitated in the case of dispersement, is significant. Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, also signed in 1977, reaffirms the provisions set out to provide children with the care and aid they require, particularly as regards their education, family reunification, assurance that children who have not yet attained the age of fifteen years are not recruited into the armed forces, and evacuation to safer areas. From this regulation, we can come to the conclusion that the treatment granted by the Geneva Conventions to women and children in conflict situations is, in general, that of a non-participating civilian population most affected by the conflict, which is why measures and protection are foreseen for both groups. It doesn’t make any distinction between the two groups, and places them in the same position of vulnerability. As regards women, however, the developments from the side of the United Nations go far beyond these strict limits and are a vital impulse for conflict resolution. It is an indisputable reality that armed conflicts have a very important gender dimension, as it is through the analysis of the gender issue that the traditional vision of these conflicts as neutral realities can be dismantled and the notion of the origin of armed conflicts as being independent from power structures can be challenged. Many conflicts come about due to the set-up of these structures – structures which exclude an important part of society: women. This new general approach to issues related to women – now shifted to examine the situation of armed conflicts – has generated resolutions from the United Nations Security Council aimed at increasing awareness among the international community of the importance and urgency of protecting women and promoting their participation in all phases of armed conflicts, based on the assumption that this contribution is decisive for an effective and long-lasting solution to the causes and effects of conflicts. To ensure that post-conflict reconstruction will lead to lasting peace, women should be treated in a special way and be incorporated into peace processes. This is why the persons of a similar cultural tradition. In addition “the reception of such children in a neutral country for the duration of the conflict” should be facilitated, and endeavours should be made to arrange for “all children under twelve to be identified”.
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