Lawyer by training, Mrs. Leila Zerrougui was previously the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Deputy Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), where, since 2008, she spearheaded the Mission’s efforts in strengthening the rule of law and protection of civilians. She and her team are committed to working on the concept of the criminal justice system, which is reinforced with interventions to ensure a sustainable institutional chain. She has thus implemented structural programs, intervention tools, and strategy plans. This has notably been translated by the concept of “safe prisons.”
During her meeting with the Director General of the Fondation Chirac, Leila Zerrougui described her current mission and future goals. Then, they discussed possible joint advocacy efforts, as well as programs the Fondation could undertake to raise awareness at the highest levels about the plight of child soldiers. Thus, the Fondation Chirac and Mrs. Zerrougui have agreed to work towards the general awareness of government leaders and to help alert the international community about existing threats.
Ms. Zerrougui also underlined the need to strengthen the presence of states in conflict zones, but under certain “conditions”. Indeed, authorities should not contribute to increased instability. This is one of the focuses of the group headed by Mrs. Zerrougui.
Ms. Zerrougui’s Bureau has developed a 20 point action plan, most of which concern Africa. In the context of this plan, Ms. Zerrougui has developed closer ties to the Union Africaine, who has been shouldering an increasing important share in peacekeeping operations. The latter have effectively contributed to the successful implementation of action plans because they provide logistical and security support. In addition, the involvement of regional and local authorities is necessary in order to find a long term solution.
On the fifth anniversary of the Paris principles and commitments related to children in armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui also met with Hervé Ladsous, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations responsible for operations and peacekeeping and Yamina Benguigui , Delegate Minister for la Francophonie.
They discussed the situation of children in armed conflicts, which affects certain francophone countries, notably the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali.
Leila Zerrougui was also welcomed at the presidency of the Republic, the Ministry of Defense and the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights.