United Nations

A/50/537


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

10 October 1995

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 110


PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN

Study on the impact on children of armed conflict

Progress report by the Secretary-General


I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   At its  forty-eighth session,  the General  Assembly adopted resolution
48/157 entitled  "Protection of  children affected by  armed conflicts",  in
which  the Assembly expressed  grave concern  about the  tragic situation of
children in many parts  of the world as a  result of armed  conflicts; urged
all  Member  States to  continue  seeking  comprehensive improvement  of the
situation  with appropriate and concrete measures; and  requested bodies and
organizations of the United Nations, as  well as intergovernmental and  non-
governmental organizations, within  the scope of their respective  mandates,
to cooperate  in order  to ensure more  effective action  in addressing  the
problem of children affected by armed conflicts.

2.     In  the   same  resolution,   the  General   Assembly  requested  the
SecretaryGeneral  to appoint  an expert,  working in  collaboration with the
Centre for Human Rights and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF),  to
undertake   a  comprehensive   study  of   this  question,   including   the
participation of children in armed conflict  and the relevance and  adequacy
of existing  standards.  The  study is  to make specific  recommendations on
ways and means  to prevent children from  being affected by  armed conflicts
and to  improve their protection, for  example, from  the indiscriminate use
of all  weapons of  war, especially anti-personnel  mines.   The study  will
also  recommend measures to  promote the physical and psychological recovery
and  social  reintegration  of  children  affected  by  armed  conflict,  in
particular measures  to ensure proper  medical care  and adequate nutrition,
taking  into account the  recommendations by  the World  Conference on Human
Rights and the Committee  on the Rights  of the Child.  In August  1994, Ms.
Graca Machel was appointed to undertake the study.



95-30492 (E)   191095/...
*9530492*
3.   In the  same resolution, the  General Assembly requested  Member States

and  United Nations  bodies and  organizations,  as  well as  other relevant
intergovernmental   and   non-governmental  organizations,   including   the
Committee on  the Rights  of the  Child, UNICEF,  the Office  of the  United
Nations  High   Commissioner  for   Refugees  (UNHCR),   the  World   Health
Organization (WHO) and the International Committee  of the Red Cross (ICRC),
to  contribute  to  the  study.  The  General  Assembly  also  requested the
Secretary-General to  submit a progress  report on  the study at  its forty-
ninth session.  At its forty-ninth  session, the Assembly adopted resolution
49/209, in  which it took note  of the  SecretaryGeneral's report (A/49/643)
and requested  that a second  progress report be  submitted at its  fiftieth
session.


II.  IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WORK PLAN

4.   The expert  is working  in close collaboration with  the United Nations
Centre for  Human  Rights  and  UNICEF.    Professional  and  administrative
assistance  is being  provided jointly  by UNICEF  and the  Centre for Human
Rights.  The  study enjoys  the guidance  and advice of  a group of  eminent
persons made up of individuals of  international repute and integrity  drawn
from  every  geographic  region  and   representing  a  wide   diversity  of
political,  religious and cultural  backgrounds; this  group also  acts as a
public advocate.    The study  receives  further  counsel from  a  technical
advisory  group  composed  of men  and women  with  recognized international
expertise in  the areas to  be studied  and in  the welfare  of children  in
general;  its task  is  to help  ensure that  the  study benefits  from  the
highest  standards of accuracy  and professionalism.   Both  groups have met
once during  the last  12 months and  are expected  to meet  at least  three
times over the course of the study.

5.   In order  to ensure  a coordinated response by  the major international
bodies representing  the rights  of children  in armed  conflict, an  inter-
agency  task  force  meets periodically  at  Geneva.   Participants  include
representatives  from  the  Centre  for  Human  Rights,  the Department  for
Humanitarian Affairs, the  Food and Agriculture  Organization of  the United
Nations, the  International Committee  of the Red  Cross, the  International
Labour  Organization   (ILO),  UNICEF,  the   United  Nations   Educational,
Scientific  and  Cultural  Organization  (UNESCO),  UNHCR,  the  World  Food
Programme (WFP) and WHO.  Representatives of non-governmental  organizations
have also played a  major role in developing  the research programme and are
actively participating in the study.

6.  Wide-ranging consultations  at the regional level  are under way.  These
are being organized in collaboration with  UNICEF, Centre and UNHCR regional
or  country  representatives,  regional   economic  commissions  and   other
international  agencies  and  non-governmental   organizations.     National
institutions,  ministries  of  health  and  social  welfare,  human   rights
organizations, the  media, religious organizations,  independent experts and
eminent  leaders  within  civil  society  are  being  consulted.    Military
authorities, Governments and  legal experts are also involved,  particularly
with  regard  to  the application  of international  humanitarian  and human
rights  law  and  the   reinforcement  of  preventive   measures.  To  date,
consultations on  eastern and southern Africa and the Arab  region have been
held in  Addis  Ababa and  Cairo,  respectively.   Other  consultations  are
planned for Asia, Europe and Central America.
  7.   At  the  national  level, field  visits and  consultations  are being
undertaken. The expert  has visited  Angola, Rwanda,  Cambodia and  Lebanon,
with other visits being  planned over the coming  months.  Field visits have
allowed the expert to meet with government representatives, as well as  with
non-governmental   organizations,   youth   and   community   organizations,
religious groups,  agencies,  national  institutions  and  other  interested
parties.   They have also  provided a first-hand  opportunity to witness the
impact of  armed conflict  on  all aspects  of  the  child's life,  to  hear
children  and their families tell  of their own experiences,  and to observe
the  implementation  of  programmes  designed to  promote  the  physical and
psychological recovery  and social  reintegration of  children within  their

families and communities.  The study  is paying particularly close attention
to the  experience of countries dealing  with the  long-term consequences of
armed conflict.

8.   As set out in the Secretary-General's first progress report (A/49/643),
the final report of the  study will be presented to  the General Assembly at
its fifty-first  session in  1996.   The report  was made  available to  the
Commission on  Human Rights  at its  fifty-first session  to facilitate  its
consideration of  the study, in accordance  with paragraph  10 of resolution
48/157;  the Commission will  receive a  further report  at its fifty-second
session.


III.  CONCLUSIONS

9.   The study on the impact on children of armed conflict will seek to give
new  coherence  and  fresh  impetus  to  the  efforts  of  the international
community to  protect children  and children's  rights from  the effects  of
armed  conflicts.   The study  will draw  on a  wide range  of practices and
experiences  at  all levels,  which  will  be  combined  in a  comprehensive
appraisal  of   the  needs  of  children,   leading  in   turn  to  specific
recommendations  for   action  directed  to   the  national,  regional   and
international  communities to  enable them  to respond  more effectively  to
those needs.


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