Ban calls for greater efforts to protect children in armed conflict in latest report

Children at the International Rescue Committee kindergarden in Hamadiya IDPs camp, Zalingei, West Darfur

22 April 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the Security Council and judicial systems to step up action in the fight to end abuse of children in conflict zones around the world.

In his latest report on the issue, the Secretary-General encourages national and international justice systems to take strong action ending impunity for crimes against children committed within their jurisdictions.

Among other recommendations aimed at halting violations committed against the young caught up in war zones and bolstering their protection, the Secretary-General urged the Security Council to put measures into place against repeat offenders.

“Accountability for perpetrators will create a sense of justice for the victims and it will also have a deterrence effect,” noted Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict.

“Persistent violators have to realize that their crimes will not remain unpunished,” she added.

The Secretary-General’s annual report to the Security Council explicitly lists in its annexes 56 parties, both State and non-State, who have committed grave violations against children, including 19 persistent violators who have been listed for more than 4 years.

The report covers compliance and progress in ending six grave violations against children caught up in armed conflict: the recruitment and use of children, killing and maiming of children, rape and other grave sexual violence, abductions, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access to children.

Noting that while progress has been made through plans to release child soldiers in several countries, such as in Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR), Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda, children continue to suffer in many conflicts.

The report also documents grave violations against children in 20 countries: Afghanistan, Burundi, CAR, Chad, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Georgia, Haiti, Iraq, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nepal, Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, the Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand and Uganda.

Ms. Coomaraswamy stressed that the child protection community was waiting for a strong signal from the Security Council on its commitment to tackle the protection of children during armed conflict when it discusses the report on 29 April.


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