United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

26 August 1996



Fifty-first session
Item 108 of the provisional agenda*

*   A/51/150.


                     Impact of armed conflict on children

                         Note by the Secretary-General

1.   The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit herewith to the
General Assembly the study on the impact of armed conflict on
children, prepared by Ms. Grac'a Machel, the expert appointed by him
on 8 June 1994, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 48/157 of 20
December 1993.  The study was undertaken with the support of the
United Nations Centre for Human Rights and the United Nations
Children's Fund, as provided for in the resolution, and is the fruit
of extensive and wide-ranging consultations.

2.   In the study, the expert proposes the elements of a comprehensive
agenda for action by Member States and the international community to
improve the protection and care of children in conflict situations,
and to prevent these conflicts from occurring.  The study demonstrates
the centrality of these issues to the international human rights,
peace and security and development agendas, and should serve to
promote urgent and resolute action on the part of the international
community to redress the plight of children affected by armed

3.   The Secretary-General trusts that the General Assembly will give
thorough consideration to this study and to the mechanisms required
for following up and monitoring the implementation of the conclusions
and recommendations it will adopt on this important subject.


       Report of the expert of the Secretary-General, Ms. Grac'a Machel,
           submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 48/157


                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION ..........................................   1 - 28      9

      A. The attack on children ............................    1 - 8       9

      B. Course of the study and its methodology ...........    9 - 21     10

      C. Patterns and characteristics of contemporary armed
         conflicts .........................................   22 - 28     13


      A. Child soldiers ....................................   34 - 62     16

         1.   Recruitment ...................................  36 - 43     16

         2.   How child soldiers are used ...................  44 - 48     18

         3.   Demobilization and reintegration into society .  49 - 57     19

         4.   Preventing future recruitment .................  58 - 61     21

         5.   Specific recommendations on child soldiers ....     62       22

      B. Refugees and internally displaced children ........   63 - 90     22

         1.   Vulnerability of children in flight ...........  67 - 68     23

         2.   Unaccompanied children ........................  69 - 74     23

         3.   Evacuation ....................................  75 - 76     25

         4.   Children in camps .............................  77 - 80     25

         5.   The situation of internally displaced children   81 - 83     26

         6.   Asylum and the right to identity and 
              nationality ...................................  84 - 86     27

         7.   Returning home and durable solutions ..........  87 - 89     28

         8.   Specific recommendations for refugee and
              internally displaced children .................     90       28

      C. Sexual exploitation and gender-based violence .....   91 - 110    29

         1.   Gender-based violence:  a weapon of war .......  91 - 95     29

         2.   Child victims of prostitution and sexual 
              exploitation ..................................  96 - 102    30

         3.   Ending impunity ............................... 103 - 106    32

         4.   Preventing gender-based violence .............. 107 - 109    32

         5.   Specific recommendations on sexual exploitation
              and gender-based violence .....................    110       33

      D. Landmines and unexploded ordnance .................  111 - 126    34

         1.   The threat to children ........................ 113 - 118    34

         2.   Mine clearance, mine awareness and 
              rehabilitation ................................ 119 - 122    36

         3.   The need for an international ban ............. 123 - 125    37

         4.   Specific recommendations on landmines and 
              unexploded ordnance ...........................    126       38

      E. Sanctions .........................................  127 - 135    38

         1.   Humanitarian exemptions ....................... 128 - 130    39

         2.   The need for child impact assessments and
              monitoring .................................... 131 - 134    40

         3.   Specific recommendations on sanctions .........    135       41

      F. Health and nutrition ..............................  136 - 165    41

         1.   Communicable diseases ......................... 140 - 142    42

         2.   Reproductive health ........................... 143 - 144    43

         3.   Disability ....................................    145       43

         4.   Destruction of health facilities .............. 146 - 148    44

         5.   Protecting health services and health workers . 149 - 151    44

         6.   Disruption of food supplies ................... 152 - 154    45

         7.   Malnutrition .................................. 155 - 161    46

         8.   Protecting food security ...................... 162 - 164    47

         9.   Specific recommendations on health and 
              nutrition .....................................    165       48

      G. Promoting psychological recovery and social 
         reintegration .....................................  166 - 183    49

         1.   Psychosocial impact of violence on children ... 168 - 171    50

         2.   Best practices for recovery programmes ........ 172 - 182    51

         3.   Specific recommendations to promote 
              psychosocial well-being .......................    183       53

      H. Education .........................................  184 - 203    54

         1.   Risks to education during conflict ............ 186 - 188    54

         2.   Challenges and opportunities .................. 189 - 202    55

         3.   Specific recommendations on education .........    203       58

      PROTECTION OF CHILDREN ................................ 204 - 240    59

      A. Humanitarian law ..................................  211 - 218    61

      B. Human rights law ..................................  219 - 231    62

         1.   Convention relating to the Status of Refugees . 223 - 225    63

         2.   Convention on the Rights of the Child ......... 226 - 231    64

      C. Implementation of standards and monitoring of 
         violations ........................................  232 - 239    65

      D. Specific recommendations on standards .............    240        67

IV.   RECONSTRUCTION AND RECONCILIATION ..................... 241 - 252    68

      A. Reconstruction ....................................  241 - 246    68

      B. Reconciliation ....................................  247 - 252    69

   V.  CONFLICT PREVENTION .................................  253 - 265    71

       A.  Education for peace .............................  255 - 258    71

       B.  Demilitarization ................................  259 - 262    73

       C.  Early warning ...................................  263 - 265    74

  VI.  IMPLEMENTATION MECHANISMS ...........................  266 - 311    74

       A.  Follow-up action for Governments ................  270 - 278    75

       B.  Regional and subregional arrangements ...........  279 - 280    77

       C.  Responsibilities of the United Nations ..........  281 - 306    77

           1.  The United Nations human rights system ......  285 - 287    79

           2.  Institutional arrangements ..................  288 - 302    80

           3.  Inter-institutional mechanisms ..............  303 - 306    86

       D.  Civil society organizations .....................  307 - 311    87

 VII.  CONCLUSION ..........................................  312 - 318    88

Annex.  Research contributions to the report on the impact of armed
        conflict on children ...........................................   94



     (*    Annexes I-VIII are contained in A/51/306/Add.1.)

   I.  Statement of the First Regional Consultation on the Impact of 
       Armed Conflict on Children in the Horn, Eastern, Central and 
       Southern Africa (Addis Ababa, 17-19 April 1995) 

  II.  Statement of the Second Regional Consultation on the Impact of 
       Armed Conflict on Children in the Arab Region (Cairo, 
       27-29 August 1995) 

 III.  Statement of the Third Regional Consultation on the Impact of 
       Armed Conflict on Children in West and Central Africa (Abidjan, 
       7-10 November 1995)

  IV.  Statement of the Fourth Regional Consultation on the Impact of 
       Armed Conflict on Children in Asia and the Pacific (Manila, 
       13-15 March 1996) 

   V.  Statement of the Fifth Regional Consultation on the Impact of 
       Armed Conflict on Children in Latin America and the Caribbean 
       (Santafe' de Bogota', 17-19 April 1996) 

  VI.  Statement of the Sixth Regional Consultation on the Impact of 
       Armed Conflict on Children in Europe (Florence, 10-12 June 1996) 

 VII.  Statement adopted by the World Conference on Religion and Peace:
       Children and Violent Conflict 

VIII.  Selected bibliography on children and armed conflict


                               I.  INTRODUCTION

                          A.  The attack on children

1.   Millions of children are caught up in conflicts in which they are not
merely bystanders, but targets.  Some fall victim to a general onslaught
against civilians; others die as part of a calculated genocide.  Still other
children suffer the effects of sexual violence or the multiple deprivations of
armed conflict that expose them to hunger or disease.  Just as shocking,
thousands of young people are cynically exploited as combatants.

2.   In 1995, 30 major armed conflicts raged in different locations around
the world. 1/  All of them took place within States, between factions split
along ethnic, religious or cultural lines.  The conflicts destroyed crops,
places of worship and schools.  Nothing was spared, held sacred or protected -
not children, families or communities.  In the past decade, an estimated two
million children have been killed in armed conflict.  Three times as many have
been seriously injured or permanently disabled, many of them maimed by
landmines. 2/  Countless others have been forced to witness or even to take
part in horrifying acts of violence.

3.   These statistics are shocking enough, but more chilling is the
conclusion to be drawn from them:  more and more of the world is being sucked
into a desolate moral vacuum.  This is a space devoid of the most basic human
values; a space in which children are slaughtered, raped, and maimed; a space
in which children are exploited as soldiers; a space in which children are
starved and exposed to extreme brutality.  Such unregulated terror and
violence speak of deliberate victimization.  There are few further depths to
which humanity can sink.

4.   The lack of control and the sense of dislocation and chaos that
characterize contemporary armed conflicts can be attributed to many different
factors.  Some observers point to cataclysmic political upheavals and
struggles for control over resources in the face of widespread poverty and
economic disarray.  Others see the callousness of modern warfare as a natural
outcome of the social revolutions that have torn traditional societies apart. 
The latter analysts point as proof to many African societies that have always
had strong martial cultures.  While fierce in battle, the rules and customs of
those societies, only a few generations ago, made it taboo to attack women and

5.   Whatever the causes of modern-day brutality towards children, the time
has come to call a halt.  The present report exposes the extent of the problem
and proposes many practical ways to pull back from the brink.  Its most
fundamental demand is that children simply have no part in warfare.  The
international community must denounce this attack on children for what it is -
intolerable and unacceptable.

6.   Children can help.  In a world of diversity and disparity, children are
a unifying force capable of bringing people to common ethical grounds. 
Children's needs and aspirations cut across all ideologies and cultures.  The
needs of all children are the same:  nutritious food, adequate health care, a
decent education, shelter and a secure and loving family.  Children are both
our reason to struggle to eliminate the worst aspects of warfare, and our best
hope for succeeding at it.

7.   Concern for children has brought us to a common standard around which to
rally.  In the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the world has a unique
instrument that almost every country has ratified.  The single most important
resolve that the world could make would be to transform universal ratification
of this Convention into universal reality.

8.   It was this challenge, of turning good intentions into real change for
children, that led the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in
1993 to recommend to the General Assembly, in accordance with article 45 (c)
of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, that it request the Secretary-
General to undertake a comprehensive study on the impact of armed conflict on

                  B.  Course of the study and its methodology

9.   At its forty-eighth session, the General Assembly adopted resolution
48/157, entitled "Protection of children affected by armed conflicts", in
which it requested the Secretary-General to appoint an expert to undertake a
comprehensive study with the support of the Centre for Human Rights and the
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).  The expert was asked to make
recommendations in five areas:  (1) the participation of children in armed
conflict; (2) the reinforcement of preventive measures; (3) the relevance and
adequacy of existing standards; (4) the measures required to improve the
protection of children affected by armed conflict; and (5) the actions needed
to promote the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of
children affected by armed conflict.

10.  In accordance with the resolution, the expert submitted progress reports
to the forty-ninth and fiftieth sessions of the General Assembly (A/49/643 and
A/50/537).  The expert, Ms. Grac'a Machel, hereby transmits her final report
on the impact of armed conflict on children, pursuant to resolution 48/157. 
The report sets out the findings and recommendations of the expert, who used
the Convention on the Rights of the Child throughout her work as a guiding
source of operative principles and standards.  The Convention on the Rights of
the Child represents a new, multidisciplinary approach to protecting children.

It demonstrates the interdependence of all children's rights, and the
relevance of those rights to the activities of a whole host of actors at all
levels.  In accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, this
report uses the term "child" to include everyone under the age of 18.

11.  In the process of her work, the expert identified a number of particular
concerns in addition to those identified in paragraph nine of resolution
48/157, including:  the changing patterns of conflict; specific impacts on
girls and the children of minority and indigenous groups; economic embargoes;
rape and other forms of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation;
torture; the inadequate provision of education, health and nutrition and
psychosocial programmes; the protection and care of refugee and internally
displaced children and other children at particular risk; and the inadequate
implementation of international human rights and humanitarian law. 
Accordingly, with the cooperation of relevant inter-governmental and
non-governmental organizations and individual experts, a programme of research
into these issues was undertaken through the preparation of twenty-five
thematic papers and field-based case studies.

12.  Six regional consultations were held to determine regional priorities
relating to children in armed conflict and to draw these issues to the
attention of Governments, policy makers and opinion leaders.  The following
consultations took place:  First Regional Consultation on the Impact of Armed
Conflict on Children in the Horn, Eastern, Central and Southern Africa:  Addis
Ababa, 17-19 April 1995 (co-convened with the Economic Commission for Africa);
Second Regional Consultation on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children in
the Arab Region:  Cairo, August 1995 (co-convened with the Economic and Social
Commission for Western Asia and UNICEF); Third Regional Consultation on the
Impact of Armed Conflict on Children in West and Central Africa:  Abidjan,
7-10 November 1995 (co-convened with the African Development Bank, the
Economic Commission for Africa and UNICEF); Fourth Regional Consultation on
the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children in Asia and the Pacific:  Manila,
13-15 March 1996 (co-convened with UNICEF); Fifth Regional Consultation on the
Impact of Armed Conflict on Children in Latin America and the Caribbean: 
Bogota, 17-19 April 1996 (co-convened with the Government of Colombia, Save
the Children UK, the Fundacio'n para la Educacio'n Superior de Colombia, and
UNICEF); and Sixth Regional Consultation on the Impact of Armed Conflict on
Children in Europe:  Florence, Italy, 10-12 June 1996 (co-convened with the
Government of Italy, the Italian National Committee for UNICEF, the Istituto'
degli Innocenti and UNICEF International Child Development Centre).

13.  The consultations included Governments, military authorities and legal
experts.  They also involved human rights organizations, the media, religious
organizations, eminent leaders from civil society and women and children
directly involved in armed conflicts.

14.  The expert personally conducted field visits to areas affected by armed
conflicts.  Visits were made to Angola, Cambodia, Colombia, Northern Ireland,
Lebanon, Rwanda (and refugee camps in Zaire and the United Republic of
Tanzania), Sierra Leone and various places in the former Yugoslavia.  During
these visits, she met with Government representatives, non-governmental
organizations, community organizations, women's organizations, religious
groups, agencies, national institutions and other interested parties, as well
as with children and their families.  This direct contact has helped ensure
that the present report and its recommendations are firmly based on conditions
and priorities within countries.  It also ensures that the report reflects not
only the experience of those most involved in the care and protection of
children, but also the immediate concerns of the affected families and
children themselves.

15.  The expert received guidance from a group of eminent persons
representing a variety of political, religious and cultural backgrounds.  The
members of the group are:  Belisario Betancur (Colombia), Francis Deng
(Sudan), Marian Wright Edelman (United States of America), Devaki Jain
(India), Julius K. Nyerere (United Republic of Tanzania), Lisbet Palme
(Sweden), Wole Soyinka (Nigeria) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (South Africa). 
In addition, the expert received analysis and guidance from an advisory group
of technical experts.  The members of the advisory group include:  Thomas
Hammarberg, Chair (Sweden), Philip Alston (Australia), Rachel Brett (United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Victoria Brittain (United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Maricela Daniel (Mexico),
Helena Gezelius (Sweden), Jim Himes (United States of America), Duong Quynh
Hoa (Viet Nam), Elizabeth Jareg (Norway), Helga Klein (United States of
America), Salim Lone (Kenya), Jacques Moreillon (Switzerland), Vitit
Muntarbhorn (Thailand), Olara A. Otunnu (Uganda), Sadig Rasheed (Sudan),
Everett Ressler (United States of America), Jane Schaller (United States of
America), Anne Skatvedt (Norway) and Jody Williams (United States of America).

The special advisers are:  Ibrahima Fall (Senegal), Kimberly Gamble-Payne
(United States of America), Stephen Lewis (Canada) and Marta Santos Pais

16.  In all of her undertakings, the expert has enjoyed widespread support
from Governments, regional bodies, intergovernmental and non-governmental
organizations, as well as from United Nations bodies, especially the United
Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Centre for Human Rights and the Office
of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  Inter-agency
consultations convened periodically in Geneva and New York were attended by
representatives of the following major international bodies:  the Centre for
Human Rights, the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Committee of the
Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies (IFRC) and their National Societies, the International Labour
Organization (ILO), UNICEF, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UNHCR, the United Nations Research Institute
for Social Development (UNRISD), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World
Health Organization (WHO).

17.  Working groups on children and armed conflict of international
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), particularly the Working Group on
Children in Armed Conflict of the New York-based NGO Committee on UNICEF and
the SubGroup on Refugee Children and Children in Armed Conflict of the
Geneva-based NGO Group on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, provided
substantial contributions to the expert's research and mobilization
activities.  Other international, regional (including the Forum of African
Voluntary Development Organizations and the African Network on Prevention and
Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect) and national NGOs also contributed
to these activities.

18.  Seminars were convened on the role of religious communities in
protecting children in situations of armed conflict (in Geneva, in cooperation
with the World Conference on Religion and Peace) and on the impact of low
intensity conflicts on children (in Belfast, in cooperation with Save the
Children Fund-UK and Ra"dda Barnen (Save the Children Fund-Sweden)).  A third
seminar was held on landmines, child soldiers and rehabilitation (convened in
Stockholm in cooperation with the Swedish National Committee for UNICEF, the
Swedish Foreign Policy Office, Ra"dda Barnen, the Swedish Red Cross and other
Swedish NGOs).

19.  Beyond collecting information, the expert undertook a widespread and
unusual process of sensitization and mobilization.  This facilitated the
development of new networks and coalitions organized both nationally and
regionally, and helped to place the concerns addressed in the present report
on political and development agendas.  The collaborative nature of this
undertaking created an opportunity to develop unique new partnerships across
disciplines and interest groups.  For example, following the First Regional
Consultation in Addis Ababa, a new alliance of children's NGOs was set up to
coordinate action on child rights and development in eastern, central and
southern Africa; following the Third Regional Consultation in Abidjan, a
regional initiative was developed to promote the role of women in
peace-building, and another proposal is currently being negotiated to provide
child rights and protection training for African Chiefs of Defence Staffs;
following the Second Regional Consultation in Cairo, a selected bibliography
on children and war in the Arab region was published; and following the field
visit to Cambodia, UNICEF was requested to assist the Ministry of Social
Affairs in training its personnel in the concrete implementation of the rights
of children.

20.  The expert wishes to acknowledge the considerable support and financial
contributions received from national committees for UNICEF and from Redd Barna
(Save the Children Fund-Norway), without which this work would not have been
possible.  Specifically, she wishes to thank the UNICEF National Committees of
Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden,
Switzerland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the
United States of America.

21.  While the present report is formally submitted for the consideration of
the United Nations General Assembly and its Member States, it is also
addressed to regional institutions, United Nations bodies, specialized
agencies and other competent bodies, including NGOs, relevant special
rapporteurs and working groups, intergovernmental bodies and civil society.

                     C.  Patterns and characteristics of 
                         contemporary armed conflicts

22.  Violent conflict has always made victims of non-combatants.  The
patterns and characteristics of contemporary armed conflicts, however, have
increased the risks for children.  Vestiges of colonialism and persistent
economic, social and political crises have greatly contributed to the
disintegration of public order.  Undermined by internal dissent, countries
caught up in conflict today are also under severe stress from a global world
economy that pushes them ever further towards the margins.  Rigorous
programmes of structural adjustment promise long-term market-based economic
growth, but demands for immediate cuts in budget deficits and public
expenditure only weaken already fragile States, leaving them dependent on
forces and relations over which they have little control.  While many
developing countries have made considerable economic progress in recent
decades, the benefits have often been spread unevenly, leaving millions of
people struggling for survival.  The collapse of functional Governments in
many countries torn by internal fighting and the erosion of essential service
structures have fomented inequalities, grievances and strife.  The
personalization of power and leadership and the manipulation of ethnicity and
religion to serve personal or narrow group interests have had similarly
debilitating effects on countries in conflict.

23.  All of these elements have contributed to conflicts, between Governments
and rebels, between different opposition groups vying for supremacy and among
populations at large, in struggles that take the form of widespread civil
unrest.  Many drag on for long periods with no clear beginning or end,
subjecting successive generations to endless struggles for survival.

24.  Distinctions between combatants and civilians disappear in battles
fought from village to village or from street to street.  In recent decades,
the proportion of war victims who are civilians has leaped dramatically from
5 per cent to over 90 per cent.  The struggles that claim more civilians than
soldiers have been marked by horrific levels of violence and brutality.  Any
and all tactics are employed, from systematic rape, to scorched-earth tactics
that destroy crops and poison wells, to ethnic cleansing and genocide.  With
all standards abandoned, human rights violations against children and women
occur in unprecedented numbers.  Increasingly, children have become the
targets and even the perpetrators of violence and atrocities.

25.  Children seek protection in networks of social support, but these have
been undermined by new political and economic realities.  Conflict and violent
social change have affected social welfare networks between families and
communities.  Rapid urbanization and the spread of market-based values have
also helped erode systems of support that were once based on the extended

26.  Unbridled attacks on civilians and rural communities have provoked mass
exoduses and the displacement of entire populations who flee conflict in
search of elusive sanctuaries within and outside their national borders. 
Among these uprooted millions, it is estimated that 80 per cent are children
and women. 

27.  Involving children as soldiers has been made easier by the proliferation
of inexpensive light weapons.  Previously, the more dangerous weapons were
either heavy or complex, but these guns are so light that children can use
them and so simple that they can be stripped and reassembled by a child of 10.

The international arms trade has made assault rifles cheap and widely
available so the poorest communities now have access to deadly weapons capable
of transforming any local conflict into a bloody slaughter.  In Uganda, an
AK-47 automatic machine gun can be purchased for the cost of a chicken and, in
northern Kenya, it can be bought for the price of a goat.

28.  Moreover, the rapid spread of information today has changed the
character of modern warfare in important ways.  While the world surely
benefits from ready access to information, it will pay a price if it fails to
recognize that information is never entirely neutral.  International media are
frequently influenced by one or another of the parties to a conflict, by
commercial realities and by the public's degree of interest in humanitarian
action.  The result of these influences are depictions that can be selective
or uneven, or both.  Whether a story is reported or not may depend less on its
intrinsic importance than on subjective perceptions of the public's appetite
for information and on the expense of informing them.  For example, while
coverage of the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Somalia was extensive,
very little has been reported about the conflicts in Afghanistan and Angola. 
The media is capable of effectively galvanizing international public support
for humanitarian action, as it did for Indo-Chinese refugees in the late 1970s
and for Somalia in 1992.  The threat of adverse international publicity may
also be positive, holding the potential for keeping some gross violations of
human rights in check.  Ultimately, however, while reports of starving
children or overcrowded camps for displaced persons may be dramatic, they do
little to support efforts for long-term reconstruction and reconciliation.


29.  Armed conflicts across and between communities result in massive levels
of destruction; physical, human, moral and cultural.  Not only are large
numbers of children killed and injured, but countless others grow up deprived
of their material and emotional needs, including the structures that give
meaning to social and cultural life.  The entire fabric of their societies -
their homes, schools, health systems and religious institutions - are torn to

30.  War violates every right of a child - the right to life, the right to be
with family and community, the right to health, the right to the development
of the personality and the right to be nurtured and protected.  Many of
today's conflicts last the length of a "childhood", meaning that from birth to
early adulthood, children will experience multiple and accumulative assaults. 
Disrupting the social networks and primary relationships that support
children's physical, emotional, moral, cognitive and social development in
this way, and for this duration, can have profound physical and psychological

31.  In countless cases, the impact of armed conflict on children's lives
remains invisible.  The origin of the problems of many children who have been
affected by conflicts is obscured.  The children themselves may be removed
from the public, living in institutions or, as is true of thousands of
unaccompanied and orphaned children, exist as street children or become
victims of prostitution.  Children who have lost parents often experience
humiliation, rejection and discrimination.  For years, they may suffer in
silence as their self-esteem crumbles away.  Their insecurity and fear cannot
be measured.

32.  This section of the report documents some of the most grave impacts of
armed conflict on children.  The presentation is not intended to be
exhaustive, but to signal major concerns and to suggest practical steps for
improvement.  It attempts to demonstrate that the impact of armed conflict on
children cannot be fully understood without looking at the related effects on
women, families and communities.  It strives to illustrate how children's
well-being is best ensured through family and community-based solutions to
armed conflict and its aftermath, and that those solutions work best when they
are based on local cultures and drawn from an understanding of child
development.  This section also emphasizes the importance of considerations of
age - in particular, that adolescents have special needs and special
strengths.  Young people should be seen in that light; as survivors and active
participants in creating solutions, not just as victims or problems.

33.  The discussion that follows necessarily includes specific examples.  It
is not an effort to single out specific groups, Governments, or non-state
entities.  Countries are named representatively and on the basis of what is
widely known.  In reality, the impact of armed conflict on children is an area
in which everyone shares responsibility and a degree of blame.

                              A.  Child soldiers

34.  One of the most alarming trends in armed conflict is the participation
of children as soldiers.  Children serve armies in supporting roles, as cooks,
porters, messengers and spies.  Increasingly, however, adults are deliberately
conscripting children as soldiers.  Some commanders have even noted the
desirability of child soldiers because they are "more obedient, do not
question orders and are easier to manipulate than adult soldiers". 3/

35.  A series of 24 case studies on the use of children as soldiers prepared
for the present report, covering conflicts over the past 30 years, indicate
that government or rebel armies around the world have recruited tens of
thousands of children.  Most are adolescents, though many child soldiers are
10 years of age or younger.  While the majority are boys, girls also are
recruited.  The children most likely to become soldiers are those from
impoverished and marginalized backgrounds and those who have become separated
from their families.

                                1.  Recruitment

36.  Child soldiers are recruited in many different ways.  Some are
conscripted, others are press-ganged or kidnapped and still others are forced
to join armed groups to defend their families.  Governments in a few countries
legally conscript children under 18, but even where the legal minimum age is
18, the law is not necessarily a safeguard.  In many countries, birth
registration is inadequate or non-existent and children do not know how old
they are.  Recruiters can only guess at ages based on physical development and
may enter the age of recruits as 18 to give the appearance of compliance with
national laws.

37.  Countries with weak administrative systems do not conscript
systematically from a register.  In many instances, recruits are arbitrarily
seized from the streets or even from schools and orphanages.  This form of
press ganging, known in Ethiopia as "afesa", was prevalent there in the
1980's, when armed militia, police or army cadres would roam the streets
picking up anyone they encountered. 4/  Children from poorer sectors of
society are particularly vulnerable.  Adolescent boys who work in the informal
sector, selling cigarettes or gum or lottery tickets, are a particular target.

In Myanmar, whole groups of children from 15 to 17 years old have been
surrounded in their schools and forcibly conscripted. 4/  Those who can
subsequently prove they are under-age may be released, but not necessarily. 
In all conflicts, children from wealthier and more educated families are at
less risk.  Often they are left undisturbed or are released if their parents
can buy them out.  Some children whose parents have the means are even sent
out of the country to avoid the possibility of forced conscription.

38.  In addition to being forcibly recruited, youth also present themselves
for service.  It is misleading, however, to consider this voluntary.  While
young people may appear to choose military service, the choice is not
exercised freely.  They may be driven by any of several forces, including
cultural, social, economic or political pressures.

39.  One of the most basic reasons that children join armed groups is
economic.  Hunger and poverty may drive parents to offer their children for
service.  In some cases, armies pay a minor soldier's wages directly to the
family. 5/  Child participation may be difficult to distinguish as in some
cases whole families move with armed groups.  Children themselves may
volunteer if they believe that this is the only way to guarantee regular
meals, clothing or medical attention.  Some case studies tell of parents who
encourage their daughters to become soldiers if their marriage prospects are
poor. 6/

40.  As conflicts persist, economic and social conditions suffer and
educational opportunities become more limited or even non-existent.  Under
these circumstances, recruits tend to get younger and younger.  Armies begin
to exhaust the supplies of adult manpower and children may have little option
but to join.  In Afghanistan, where approximately 90 per cent of children now
have no access to schooling, the proportion of soldiers who are children is
thought to have risen in recent years from roughly 30 to at least
45 per cent. 7/

41.  Some children feel obliged to become soldiers for their own protection. 
Faced with violence and chaos all around, they decide they are safer with guns
in their hands.  Often such children join armed opposition groups after
experiencing harassment from government forces.  Many young people have joined
the Kurdish rebel groups, for example, as a reaction to scorched earth
policies and extensive human rights violations.  In El Salvador, children
whose parents had been killed by government soldiers joined opposition groups
for protection.  In other cases, armed forces will pick up unaccompanied
children for humanitarian reasons, although this is no guarantee that the
children will not end up fighting.  This is particularly true of children who
stay with a group for long periods of time and come to identify it as their
protector or "new family".

42.  In some societies, military life may be the most attractive option. 
Young people often take up arms to gain power and power can act as a very
strong motivator in situations where people feel powerless and are otherwise
unable to acquire basic resources.  In many situations, war activities are
glorified.  In Sierra Leone, the expert met with child soldiers who proudly
defended the number of "enemies" they had killed.

43.  The lure of ideology is particularly strong in early adolescence, when
young people are developing personal identities and searching for a sense of
social meaning.  As the case of Rwanda shows, however, the ideological
indoctrination of youth can have disastrous consequences.  Children are very
impressionable and may even be lured into cults of martyrdom.  In Lebanon and
Sri Lanka, for example, some adults have used young people's immaturity to
their own advantage, recruiting and training adolescents for suicide
bombings. 8/ However, it is important to note that children may also identify
with and fight for social causes, religious expression, self-determination or
national liberation.  As happened in South Africa or in occupied territories,
they may join the struggle in pursuit of political freedom.

                        2.  How child soldiers are used

44.  Once recruited as soldiers, children generally receive much the same
treatment as adults - including the often brutal induction ceremonies.  Many
start out in support functions which entail great risk and hardship.  One of
the common tasks assigned to children is to serve as porters, often carrying
very heavy loads of up to 60 kilograms including ammunition or injured
soldiers.  Children who are too weak to carry their loads are liable to be
savagely beaten or even shot.  Children are also used for household and other
routine duties.  In Uganda, child soldiers have often done guard duty, worked
in the gardens, hunted for wild fruits and vegetables and looted food from
gardens and granaries.  Children have also been used extensively in many
countries as lookouts and messengers.  While this last role may seem less
life-threatening than others, in fact it puts all children under suspicion. 
In Latin America, reports tell of government forces that have deliberately
killed even the youngest children in peasant communities on the grounds that
they, too, were dangerous. 9/

45.  Although the majority of child soldiers are boys, armed groups also
recruit girls, many of whom perform the same functions as boys.  In Guatemala,
rebel groups use girls to prepare food, attend to the wounded and wash
clothes.  Girls may also be forced to provide sexual services.  In Uganda,
girls who are abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army are "married off" to
rebel leaders. 10/   If the man dies, the girl is put aside for ritual
cleansing and then married off to another rebel.

46.  A case study from Honduras illustrates one child's experience of joining
an armed group:

      "At the age of 13, I joined the student movement.  I had a dream
     to contribute to make things change, so that children would not be
     hungry ... later I joined the armed struggle.  I had all the
     inexperience and the fears of a little girl.  I found out that
     girls were obliged to have sexual relations 'to alleviate the
     sadness of the combatants'.  And who alleviated our sadness after
     going with someone we hardly knew?  At my young age I experienced
     abortion.  It was not my decision.  There is a great pain in my
     being when I recall all these things ...  In spite of my
     commitment, they abused me, they trampled my human dignity.  And
     above all, they did not understand that I was a child and that I
     had rights." 11/

47.  While children of both sexes might start out in indirect support
functions, it does not take long before they are placed in the heat of battle.

Here, their inexperience and lack of training leave them particularly exposed.

The youngest children rarely appreciate the perils they face.  A number of
case studies report that when the shelling starts the children get over-
excited and forget to take cover.  Some commanders deliberately exploit such
fearlessness in children, even plying them with alcohol or drugs.  A soldier
in Myanmar recalls:  "There were a lot of boys rushing into the field,
screaming like banshees.  It seemed like they were immortal, or impervious, or
something, because we shot at them but they just kept coming." 12/ 

48.  The progressive involvement of youth in acts of extreme violence
desensitizes them to suffering.  In a number of cases, young people have been
deliberately exposed to horrific scenes.  Such experience makes children more
likely to commit violent acts themselves and may contribute to a break with
society.  In many countries, including Afghanistan, Mozambique, Colombia and
Nicaragua, children have even been forced to commit atrocities against their
own families or communities.

              3.  Demobilization and re-integration into society

49.  Clearly one of the most urgent priorities is to remove everyone under 18
years of age from armed forces.  No peace treaty to date has formally
recognized the existence of child combatants.  As a result, their special
needs are unlikely to be taken into account in demobilization programmes.  In
Mozambique, for example, where recruitment of children was well known, child
soldiers were not recognized in demobilization efforts by the Resiste^ncia
Nacional de Moc'ambique (RENAMO), the Government or the international
community.  Official acknowledgement of children's part in a war is a vital
step.  Peace agreements and related documents should incorporate provisions
for the demobilization of children; without this recognition, there can be no
effective planning or programming on a national scale.

50.  The process of reintegration must help children to establish new
foundations in life based on their individual capacities.  Former child
soldiers have grown up away from their families and have been deprived of many
of the normal opportunities for physical, emotional and intellectual
development.  As article 39 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
emphasizes, recovery and reintegration should take place in an environment
that fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

51.  Reintegration programmes must re-establish contact with the family and
the community.  Even children who are successfully reunited with their
families, however, have little prospect of smoothly taking up life as it was
before.  A formerly cheerful 12-year-old may return home as a sullen
16-year-old who feels newly assertive and independent.  Reunification may be
particularly difficult for girl soldiers who have been raped or sexually
abused, in part because cultural beliefs and attitudes can make it very
difficult for them to stay with their families or to have any prospects of
marriage.  With so few alternatives, many children have eventually become
victims of prostitution.

52.  In many cases, reunification is impossible.  Families may have perished
in the conflict or may be untraceable.  For some children, a transitional
period of collective care may be necessary.  Institutional approaches have
proven ineffective, but one way to provide such care is through peer-group
living arrangements that are strongly integrated into communities.

53.  Effective social reintegration depends upon support from families and
communities.  But families are also worn down by conflict, both physically and
emotionally, and face increased impoverishment.  The field visits and research
for the present report repeatedly stressed the importance of links between
education, vocational opportunities for former child combatants and the
economic security of their families.  These are most often the determinants of
successful social reintegration and, importantly, they are the factors that
prevent re-recruitment.

54.  Education, and especially the completion of primary schooling, must be a
high priority.  For a former child soldier, education is more than a route to
employment.  It also helps to normalize life and to develop an identity
separate from that of the soldier.  The development of peer relationships and
improved self-esteem may also be facilitated through recreational and cultural
activities.  A difficulty to be faced is the likelihood that former combatants
may have fallen far behind in their schooling, and may be placed in classes
with much younger children.  Specific measures may be required, such as
establishing special classes for former child soldiers who can then
progressively be reintegrated into regular schools.

55.  Many teachers and parents may object to having ex-combatants enrol in
schools, fearing that they will have a disruptive effect.  Programmes must
address these wider community concerns.  In some African cultures, strong
spiritual convictions hold that anyone who has killed is haunted by the evil
spirits of the victims.  Thus, to accept a former child soldier into one's
village is to accept evil spirits.  In such a context, programmes for re-entry
into the community have effectively involved traditional healers in
"cleansing" and other processes.

56.  For older children especially, effective education will require strong
components of training in life-skills and vocational opportunity.  Preparing
older children to find employment will not only help them survive, but may
also facilitate their acceptance at home and provide them with a sense of
meaning and identity.

57.  Child soldiers may find it difficult to disengage from the idea that
violence is a legitimate means of achieving one's aims.  Even where the
experience of participating in "the cause" has been positive, as was often the
case for youth who identified with and drew meaning from their part in the
struggle against apartheid, the transition to a non-violent lifestyle will be
difficult.  This is particularly true where the frustrations of poverty and
injustice remain.  The challenge for Governments and civil society is to
channel the energy, ideas and experience of youth into contributing in
positive ways to the creation of their new, post-conflict society.

                       4.  Preventing future recruitment

58.  The research conducted for this study uncovered many practical steps to
be taken to prevent future recruitment.  First, Governments should work for
the finalization and rapid adoption of the draft optional protocol to the
Convention on the Rights of the Child on involvement of children in armed
conflicts.  Next, Governments must pay much closer attention to their methods
of recruitment, and in particular, they must renounce the practice of forced
recruitment.  They should ensure that all children are registered at birth and
receive documentation of age.  To be certain that these measures succeed,
Governments must establish effective monitoring systems and back them up with
legal remedies and institutions that are sufficiently strong to tackle abuses.

For example, in Guatemala in May and June of 1995, the human rights
ombudsman's office intervened in 596 cases of forced recruitment of youth.  As
a result, 148 children under the age of 18 were released.

59.  The recruitment of children can be minimized if local communities are
aware of national and international laws governing the age of recruitment and
if they are sufficiently organized and determined.  In El Salvador, Guatemala
and Paraguay, ethnic groups and the mothers of child soldiers have formed
organizations to pressure authorities for the release of under-age soldiers. 
NGOs, religious groups and civil society in general have important roles in
establishing ethical frameworks that characterize children's participation in
armed conflicts as unacceptable.  In Peru, it has been reported that forced
recruitment drives have declined in areas where parish churches have denounced
the activity.  Another important preventive measure is the active and early
documentation and tracing of unaccompanied children.

60.  The United Nations and other international organizations also have
important roles in reporting child conscription, raising the issue with those
in authority and supporting local groups in their work for the release of
children.  In Myanmar, protests from aid agencies led to the return of men and
boys who had been forcibly recruited from a refugee camp.

61.  Armed opposition groups are less amenable to external or formal pressure
than government-sponsored armies.  Even with such groups, however, Governments
and international organizations can exert influence.  When Governments ratify
the international humanitarian conventions that apply to internal conflicts,
then international law holds all armed groups within those countries
accountable.  In Sudan, humanitarian organizations have negotiated agreements
with rebel groups to prevent the recruitment of children.  The human rights
component within the United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL)
supported local groups investigating complaints of forced recruitment of
minors and raised the issue with authorities.  In many cases, United Nations
intervention secured the release of the minors involved.

                5.  Specific recommendations on child soldiers

62.  The expert submits the following recommendations on the question of
child soldiers:

     (a) Building on the existing efforts of the Committee on the Rights of
the Child, Ra"dda Barnen, the Friends World Committee for Consultation
(Quakers), UNICEF, UNHCR and the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
(IFRC) and their National Societies, a global campaign should be launched, led
by those same organizations, aimed at eradicating the use of children under
the age of 18 years in the armed forces.  The media, too, should be encouraged
to expose the use of child soldiers and the need for demobilization;

     (b) United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and international civil
society actors should begin to pursue quiet diplomacy with Government and
non-state forces and their international supporters to encourage the immediate
demobilization of child soldiers and adherence to the Convention on the Rights
of the Child;

     (c) All peace agreements should include specific measures to demobilize
and reintegrate child soldiers into society.  There is an urgent need for the
international community to support programmes, including advocacy and social
services programmes, for the demobilization and re-integration into the
community of child soldiers.  Such measures must address the family's economic
security and include educational, life-skills and vocational opportunities;

     (d) States should ensure the early and successful conclusion of the
drafting of the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child
on involvement of children in armed conflicts, raising the age of recruitment
and participation in the armed forces to 18 years.

                B.  Refugees and internally displaced children

63.  Armed conflict has always caused population movements.  During full-
scale conflicts, whether or not they cross national boundaries, people flee in
large numbers.  Their destinations determine whether those who flee will
become internally displaced people 13/ in their own countries or refugees 14/
who have crossed national borders.  Africa and Asia have been most affected by
massive population upheavals but no region has escaped either the phenomenon
itself or its ramifications.  Wherever it occurs, displacement has a profound
physical, emotional and developmental impact on children and increases their
vulnerability.  Except where otherwise distinguished in the present report,
refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as persons in refugee-like
situations, are referred to collectively as displaced persons.

64.  At the beginning of the 1980s, there were 5.7 million refugees
worldwide.  By the end of the decade, the number had increased to 14.8
million, and today there are more than 27.4 million refugees and "persons of
concern" to UNHCR, that is, some returnees and people living in "safe
havens". 15/

65.  According to the report of the Representative of the Secretary-General
on Internally Displaced Persons (E/CN.4/1996/52/Add.2), the number of
internally displaced people has also escalated in recent years, now reaching
an estimated 30 million - more than the number of refugees.  The protection
and assistance needs of the internally displaced are similar to those of
refugees in nearly all respects, and yet their situation can be worse.  While
refugees have often moved outside the war zone, internally displaced persons
usually remain within or close to the scene of conflict and they are often
likely to be displaced repeatedly.

66.  At least half of all refugees and displaced people are children.  At a
crucial and vulnerable time in their lives, they have been brutally uprooted
and exposed to danger and insecurity.  In the course of displacement, millions
of children have been separated from their families, physically abused,
exploited and abducted into military groups, or they have perished from hunger
and disease.

                    1.  Vulnerability of children in flight

67.  To flee from one's home is to experience a deep sense of loss, and the
decision to flee is not taken lightly.  Those who make this decision do so
because they are in danger of being killed, tortured, forcibly recruited,
raped, abducted or starved, among other reasons.  They leave behind them
assets and property, relatives, friends, familiar surroundings and established
social networks.  Although the decision to leave is normally taken by adults,
even the youngest children recognize what is happening and can sense their
parents' uncertainty and fear.

68.  During flight from the dangers of conflict, families and children
continue to be exposed to multiple physical dangers.  They are threatened by
sudden attacks, shelling, snipers and landmines, and must often walk for days
with only limited quantities of water and food.  Under such circumstances,
children become acutely undernourished and prone to illness, and they are the
first to die.  Girls in flight are even more vulnerable than usual to sexual
abuse.  Children forced to flee on their own to ensure their survival are also
at heightened risk.  Many abandon home to avoid forced recruitment, only to
find that being in flight still places them at risk of recruitment, especially
if they have no documentation and travel without their families.

                          2.  Unaccompanied children

69.  Unaccompanied children are those who are separated from both parents and
are not in the care of another adult who, by law or custom, has taken
responsibility to do so. 16/  Children are often separated from parents in the
chaos of conflict, escape and displacement.  Parents or other primary care-
givers are the major source of a child's emotional and physical security and
for this reason family separation can have a devastating social and
psychological impact.  Unaccompanied children are especially vulnerable and at
risk of neglect, violence, military recruitment, sexual assault and other
abuses.  An essential goal of relief programmes must be to provide assistance
to families to prevent separations.

70.  The first priority of relief programmes is to identify a child as
unaccompanied and to ensure their survival and protection.  The next
priorities are documenting, tracing and - whenever possible - reunifying
families.  Most unaccompanied children are not orphans and, even when both
parents are dead, often have relatives, bound by custom and tradition, who are
willing and able to care for them.  In all cases, it is essential to keep
siblings together.  In the Great Lakes region of Africa, a vast tracing
programme was set up in 1994 by ICRC, IFRC and their National Societies,
UNHCR, UNICEF, the Save the Children Fund and other NGOs.  More than 100,000
children were registered as unaccompanied, both inside and outside their
countries of origin.  According to UNHCR, by May 1996, more than 33,000 of
these children had been reunited with family members.  This positive outcome
resulted largely because identification and tracing activities were
implemented from the outset of the emergency, and because agencies had
committed themselves to cooperate together.  Many traditional and
non-traditional tracing methods were used, including photo tracing programmes.

71.  While families are sought, procedures must be set up to prevent further
separation and to provide each unaccompanied child with continuous alternative
care.  Alternative care is most appropriately found with the extended family,
but when this is not possible, it can come from neighbours, friends or other
substitute families.  Nevertheless these arrangements need careful
supervision.  Many foster families take excellent care of a child, but where
economic and social situations have been undermined by war, children may be at
risk of exploitation.  The situation of a child in a foster family should
therefore always be closely monitored through a community-based system. 
Initiatives of this kind in the Great Lakes region have produced positive
results.  These programmes have resulted in closing down unaccompanied
children's centres and returning children into the refugee community,
combining family mediation and projects to support vulnerable families,
enabling them to keep their children.

72.  Centres for unaccompanied children, such as orphanages or other
institutions, cannot fully meet the emotional and developmental needs of
children.  And there is always the risk that temporary centres may become
permanent.  The creation of centres may also in itself generate higher numbers
of unaccompanied children.  During her visit to the Great Lakes region, the
expert was deeply concerned that, as a result of media attention, many centres
had been created as a way of profiting from humanitarian aid.  Such centres
may be attractive to parents who are having difficulty feeding their families
and who might easily think it best to leave their children where they will be
provided with food and health care.  This underlines the need to prevent
family separation by ensuring that vulnerable families are supported in caring
for their children.

73.  In response to the many protection and care problems facing
unaccompanied children, UNICEF and UNHCR, in consultation with ICRC, IFRC and
their National Societies and some specialized NGOs, have jointly developed an
emergency kit to facilitate coordination and to enhance the quality of
response to the needs of unaccompanied children.  The tools included in the
kit, such as registration forms and Polaroid cameras, are derived from
experiences gained from earlier emergencies.  The kit also comes with
guidelines on the protection and care of unaccompanied children, and it is
essential that these are widely disseminated among and followed by relief

74.  At the height of a conflict, tracing is particularly difficult. 
Precisely because that is the case, unaccompanied children should not be
considered available for adoption.  Adoption severs family links permanently
and should not be considered unless all family tracing efforts have been
exhausted.  This principle is safeguarded by a recommendation adopted in the
Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of
Inter-country Adoption signed at The Hague on 29 May 1994. 17/

                                3.  Evacuation

75.  Parents living in zones of armed conflict can become so concerned for
the safety of their children that they decide to evacuate them, sending them
to friends or relatives or having them join large-scale programmes.  To
parents, evacuation may appear at the time to be the best solution, but this
is frequently not the case.  In Bosnia and Herzegovina, for example,
evacuations were often hastily organized with little documentation. 
Evacuation also poses a long-term risk to children, including the trauma of
separation from the family and the increased danger of trafficking or of
illegal adoption.  On her visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the expert was
concerned to learn that some evacuations had been organized by groups intent
on exploiting adoption markets.  In the case of medical evacuations,
difficulties often arise when the foster family, thinking the child will have
better opportunities in the host country, does not want to allow the child in
their care to return to the original family.

76.  As is stressed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with
articles 9 and 10 regarding family unity being of particular note, all such
decisions must be based on the best interests of the child and take her or his
opinions into account.  If evacuation is essential, whole families should move
together, and if this is not possible, children should at least move with
their primary care-givers and siblings.  Great care should also be taken to
ensure that any evacuation is properly documented, and that arrangements are
made for the effective reception and care for children and for maintaining
contact with other family members, as well as for early reunification. 
Guidelines on these criteria are supported by UNHCR, UNICEF, ICRC, IFRC and
their National Societies.  Evacuations are sometimes essential, as
international agencies concluded in the Great Lakes region when orphanages
were being targeted for purposes of ethnic cleansing.  In 1992, UNHCR/UNICEF
issued a publication on considerations and guidelines on evacuation of
children from conflict areas.  These require wide dissemination.

                             4.  Children in camps

77.  Ideally, camps for refugees or the internally displaced should be places
of safety, offering protection and assistance.  However, displaced populations
are complex societies that often reproduce former divisions and power
struggles.  At the same time their traditional systems of social protection
come under strain or break down completely and there are often high levels of
violence, alcohol and substance abuse, family quarrels and sexual assault. 
Women and adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable and even the youngest
children can be affected when they witness an attack on a mother or a sister. 
The UNHCR guidelines on sexual violence against refugees outline practical
protection measures such as careful lighting, arrangement of latrines and the
organizing of people into groups for tasks such as gathering firewood. 18/ 
These and the UNHCR guidelines on the protection and care of refugee children
should be applied to all internally displaced women and children.

78.  One important aspect of relief that particularly affects women and
children is the distribution of resources such as food, water, firewood and
plastic sheeting.  Control of these resources represents power.  Men are
usually in charge of distribution and often abuse their power by demanding
bribes or sexual favours.  This puts women at risk and especially female heads
of households.  As recommended in the UNHCR Guidelines on the Protection of
Refugee Women, UNHCR and WFP should be in the forefront of ensuring that women
are the initial point of control in distribution systems and that appropriate
support systems are established for female-headed households.

79.  The first days and weeks of a mass displacement of people usually result
in high mortality rates for children.  Among displaced children, measles,
diarrhoeal diseases, acute respiratory infections (ARI), malaria and
malnutrition account for 60 to 80 per cent of reported deaths.  Factors
contributing to high mortality include overcrowding and lack of food and clean
water, along with poor sanitation and lack of shelter.  Pregnant and lactating
women require particular attention, as do displaced children living with
disabilities.  Children coming from armed conflict are likely to have injuries
that require special medical attention.  In these circumstances, only a
multi-sectoral approach to health and nutrition can protect young children.

80.  Camp environments are often highly militarized.  In some instances,
children have been taken, either forcibly or fraudulently, from camps to a
third country for "political education" or military training.  In several
cases, host Governments have recruited refugee children for military service.

              5.  The situation of internally displaced children 

81.  Children who are displaced but remain in their own countries face
perilous circumstances.  They are often worse off than refugees, since they
may lack access to protection and assistance.  There are an increasing number
of situations where families and communities are chronically displaced due to
localized, continued armed conflict.  Surveys have shown that the death rate
among internally displaced persons has been as much as 60 per cent higher than
the death rate of persons within the same country who are not displaced. 20/  
Even when internally displaced families are housed with relatives or friends,
they may not be secure, eventually facing resentment from their hosts because
of the limited resources to be shared. 

82.  Another acute problem for internally displaced children is access to
health and education services.  In contravention of humanitarian law, the
access of internally displaced persons to humanitarian assistance is often
impeded.  Flight can put them beyond the reach of existing Government or NGO
programmes.  Even if schools exist, the children may not be able to enrol
because they lack proper documentation, are not considered residents of the
area or are unable to pay school fees.  Feelings of exclusion, as well as the
struggle for survival and protection, may lead children to join parties to the
conflict or to become street children. 

83.  While some organizations such as UNHCR, ICRC, IFRC and their National
Societies and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have specific
mandates with regard to internally displaced persons, at present there is no
clear institutional responsibility for their protection and assistance needs. 
Organizations with mandates to protect and care for children affected by armed
conflicts such as UNICEF, UNHCR and WFP, do not consistently ensure the
protection and care of internally displaced children.  The expert supports the
call of the Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced
Persons for the development of an appropriate legal framework and
institutional arrangements to clearly establish assistance and protection
responsibilities.   The legal framework should be based on the report of the
Representative on the compilation and analysis of legal norms applicable to
internally displaced persons (E/CN.4/1996/52/Add.2).

             6.  Asylum and the right to identity and nationality

84.  Statelessness is a risk for refugee children as they may have difficulty
in establishing their identity and nationality.  As article 7 of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child provides, all children should be
registered and receive citizenship at birth.  In the case of refugee children,
only the host State is in a position to register the child.  It is
particularly important for a refugee child, especially if unaccompanied, to be
provided with clear documentation concerning the identity of parents and place
of birth.

85.  Families who reach a border are still very exposed, and young girls and
women who have been separated from their families are particularly vulnerable
to exploitation and abuse from border guards and others.  Even those who
succeed in crossing a border have no guarantee of asylum.  The 1951 Convention
and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees may not fully cover
those fleeing armed conflict.  In cases of mass exodus from countries like
Afghanistan and Viet Nam, many Governments were sufficiently flexible to grant
temporary refuge.  However, since the end of the cold war, many Governments
have been more reluctant to grant asylum and have even sought to prevent
asylum seekers from reaching their borders.  As a minimum, Governments should
grant temporary asylum pending the identification of a durable solution.

86.  One consequence of current policies is that a number of asylum seekers,
including children, are detained while their cases are considered.  Seeking
asylum cannot be considered an offence or a crime, yet in some cases women and
children are incarcerated with criminals.  Countries that determine refugee
status on an individual basis should under no circumstances refuse access to
unaccompanied children seeking asylum.  The Statement of the Sixth Regional
Consultation on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children in Europe stressed
that unaccompanied children should have access to asylum procedures regardless
of age.  Bearing in mind the critical development needs of children, long-term
solutions should be found as quickly as possible.  In accordance with the
Convention on the Rights of the Child and UNHCR guidelines, children should be
fully involved in decisions about their future.

                   7.  Returning home and durable solutions

87.  Long-term solutions for refugees involve voluntary repatriation, local
integration or resettlement into new national communities.  Whichever is
chosen, procedures should be expeditious and carried out in the best interests
of the child.  The principles relating to voluntary repatriation and
reintegration should also be applied to the return of internally displaced
persons.  These are to ensure that conditions of safety and dignity as well as
national protection are available.

88.  For refugee or internally displaced families and children returning to
their home communities, reintegration may be very difficult.  In countries
disrupted by many years of conflict, there are often tensions between
returnees and residents.  For children in particular, one of the most
important measures is to ensure education and the opportunity to re-establish
family life and productive livelihoods.

89.  Another major difficulty is that female heads of households may, on
their return, lose property rights and custody of their children.  Loss of
property rights may also affect child-headed households.  These are usually
family units of siblings, children of extended family members, or even
unrelated children, headed by a minor, usually an adolescent girl.  In
September 1995, UNICEF and the Rwandan Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
identified 1,939 children living in child-headed households.  Their need for
legal and social protection is especially acute; lack of land, property and
inheritance rights add to their instability.  Child-headed households are
particularly vulnerable to exploitative labour and prostitution.  Dilemmas
have arisen in designing appropriate policy and programme responses,
especially around the feasibility of foster arrangements.  The principle of
family unity, even where there are not parents, as safeguarded in the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, must be the basis of all support for
these children. 

             8.  Specific recommendations for refugee and internally
                 displaced children

90.  The expert submits the following recommendations for refugee and
internally displaced children:

     (a) As a priority in all emergencies, procedures should be adopted to
ensure the survival and protection of unaccompanied children.  Family tracing
programmes should be established from the outset of assistance programmes;

     (b) Unaccompanied children should, wherever possible, be cared for by
their extended family and community rather than in institutions.  It is
essential that donors support this principle.  The vast majority of
unaccompanied children have some family somewhere.  Therefore, no adoptions
should be permitted until exhaustive family tracing, including into the
post-conflict phase, has been attempted;

     (c) Practical protection measures to prevent sexual violence,
discrimination in delivery of relief materials, and the recruitment of
children into armed forces must be a priority in all assistance programmes in
refugee and displaced camps.  Such measures should involve women and youth
fully in their design, delivery and monitoring and include advocacy and social
services to address abuses and violations of children's rights; 

     (d) The Inter-Agency Standing Committee and its Task Force on Internally
Displaced Persons should evaluate the extent to which assistance and
protection are being provided to internally displaced children and develop
appropriate institutional frameworks to address their needs.  In cooperation
with the Department of Humanitarian Affairs in its role under the authority of
the Emergency Relief Coordinator, and in consultation with other major
humanitarian agencies, in each emergency, a lead agency should be assigned
overall responsibility for the protection and assistance of internally
displaced persons.  In collaboration with the lead agency, UNICEF should
provide leadership for the protection and assistance of internally displaced

     (e) The General Assembly, the Commission on Human Rights, as well as
regional organizations, should support the work of the Representative of the
Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons to develop an appropriate
legal framework to increase protection for internally displaced persons and to
give particular emphasis to the specific concerns of children;

     (f) Intergovernmental bodies, UNHCR, the United Nations Development Fund
for Women (UNIFEM) and other organizations should support Governments in
strengthening national legislative frameworks challenging any aspect of
discrimination against women, girls and child-headed households with
particular respect to custody, inheritance and property rights;

     (g) The expert urges that UNICEF, UNHCR, FAO and ILO give urgent
attention to the situation of child-headed households, and develop policy and
programme guidelines to ensure their protection and care.

               C.  Sexual exploitation and gender-based violence

                  1.  Gender-based violence:  a weapon of war

91.  Rape poses a continual threat to women and girls during armed conflict,
as do other forms of gender-based violence including prostitution, sexual
humiliation and mutilation, trafficking and domestic violence.  While abuses
such as murder and torture have long been denounced as war crimes, rape has
been downplayed as an unfortunate but inevitable side effect of war.  Acts of
gender-based violence, particularly rape, committed during armed conflicts
constitute a violation of international humanitarian law.  When it occurs on a
massive scale or as a matter of orchestrated policy, this added dimension is
recognized as it was at the most recent International Conference of the Red
Cross and Red Crescent, as a crime against humanity.  Recent efforts to
prosecute rape as a war crime, however, have underscored the difficulties in
applying international human rights law and humanitarian law.

92.  Women of all ages may be victims of violence in conflict, but adolescent
girls are particularly at risk for a range of reasons, including size and
vulnerability.  Their vulnerability is even greater in some localities where
they are considered less likely to have sexually transmitted diseases and the 
HIV/AIDS virus.  Characteristics such as ethnicity, class, religion or
nationality may be factors that determine which women or girls are subjected
to violence.  Women and girls are at risk in all settings whether in the home,
during flight or in camps to which they have fled for safety.  Children
affected by gender-based violence also include those who have witnessed the
rape of a family member and those who are ostracized because of a mother's

93.  Most child victims of violence and sexual abuse are girls, but boys are
also affected and cases of young boys who have been raped or forced into
prostitution are under-reported.  In Bosnia and Herzegovina, sons and fathers
have been forced to commit sexual atrocities against each other.  In some
cases, boys traumatized by violence have also subsequently been the
perpetrators of sexual violence against girls. 

94.  Rape is not incidental to conflict.  It can occur on a random and
uncontrolled basis due to the general disruption of social boundaries and the
license granted to soldiers and militias.  Most often, however, it functions
like other forms of torture and is used as a tactical weapon of war to
humiliate and weaken the morale of the perceived enemy.  During armed
conflict, rape is used to terrorize populations or to force civilians to flee.

95.  Often, gender-based violence is practised with the intent of ethnic
cleansing through deliberate impregnation.  The Special Rapporteur on the
situation of human rights in the territory of the former Yugoslavia found that
this was the case in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Croatia. 21/  The thousands
of Korean women forced to serve as military sexual slaves during the Second
World War is another example of rape being used as a weapon of war. 22/

           2.  Child victims of prostitution and sexual exploitation

96.  Poverty, hunger and desperation may force women and girls into
prostitution, obliging them to offer sex for food or shelter, for safe conduct
through the war zone or to obtain papers or other privileges for themselves
and their families.  Children have been trafficked from conflict situations to
work in brothels in other countries, transported from Cambodia to Thailand,
for example, and from Georgia to Turkey.  In refugee camps in Zaire, the
expert heard numerous reports of girls who had been pressured by their
families to enter prostitution.  Similarly, some parents among the internally
displaced communities in Guatemala have been forced to prostitute their
children.  Other girls have done so in the hope of securing greater
protection.  In Colombia, for example, there have been reports of girls as
young as twelve submitting themselves to paramilitary forces as a means of
defending their families against other groups.

97.  With time, different forms of gender-based violence experienced during
armed conflicts become institutionalized, since many of the conditions that
created the violence remain unchanged.  Young girls who have become victims of
prostitution for armies, for example, may have no other option but to continue
after the conflict has ceased.  In Phnom Penh, the number of child victims of
prostitution continues to escalate with an estimated 100 children sold into
prostitution each month for economic reasons.

98.  Children may also become victims of prostitution following the arrival
of peacekeeping forces.  In Mozambique, after the signing of the peace treaty
in 1992, soldiers of the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ)
recruited girls aged 12 to 18 years into prostitution.  After a commission of
inquiry confirmed the allegations, the soldiers implicated were sent home. 23/
In 6 out of 12 country studies on sexual exploitation of children in
situations of armed conflict prepared for the present report, the arrival of
peacekeeping troops has been associated with a rapid rise in child

99.  Sexual exploitation has a devastating impact on physical and emotional
development.  Unwanted and unsafe sex is likely to lead to sexually
transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS, which not only affect immediate health but
also future sexual and reproductive health and mortality.  In Cambodia,
according to a study prepared for the present report, it is estimated that 60
to 70 per cent of the child victims of prostitution are HIV positive. 
Adolescent girls may nonetheless suffer in silence after the trauma of sexual
exploitation; they often fear reprisals from those who attacked them or
rejection by their families, not to mention the sheer personal humiliation and
anguish which causes so many of them to withdraw into a shell of pain and
denial.  WHO has found that among rape victims the risk of suicide is high.

100. When a pregnancy is forced, the determination about whether it will be
carried to term depends on many local circumstances, including access to and
the safety of abortion, community support systems and existing religious or
cultural mores.  In Rwanda, the expert heard conflicting reports about the
numbers of pregnancies that had been terminated or brought to term, abandoned
or adopted. 

101. All women and young girls who give birth during conflict must contend
with the unexpected economic and psychosocial consequences of raising a child
without adequate systems of support.  The deterioration of public health
infrastructure reduces access to reproductive health services, such as family
planning, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and gynaecological
complications, and pre- and post-natal care. 

102. Complications in pregnancy and delivery are especially likely for
children who have children.  Owing to their physical immaturity, many pregnant
adolescents experience infection as a result of unsafe or incomplete abortion.

Victims of repeated rape and young girls who give birth in the absence of
trained birth attendants and in unhygienic conditions are at greater risk of
chronic pelvic inflammatory diseases and muscle injury that can result in
incontinence.  Without sensitive, timely and adequate medical care, many of
these victims die.  Some commit suicide because of the humiliation and
embarrassment they suffer.

                             3.  Ending impunity 

103. The failure to denounce and prosecute wartime rape is partly a result of
its mischaracterization as an assault against honour or a personal attack
rather than a crime against the physical integrity of the victim.  The
International Tribunal established to try war crimes committed in the former
Yugoslavia has indicted eight people on specific charges of rape and sexual
assault, despite estimates of up to 20,000 victims.  This limited result
underscores the difficulties in applying international human rights and
humanitarian law to rape - difficulties which are reflected both in the
codification and interpretation of national, and even international, law.

104. The widespread practice of rape as an instrument of armed conflict and
ethnic cleansing must be ended and its perpetrators prosecuted.  National and
international law must codify rape as a crime against the physical integrity
of the individual, national Governments must hold those who commit rape in
internal conflicts accountable and must reform their national laws to address
the substantive nature of the abuse.  Unwanted pregnancy resulting from forced
impregnation should be recognized as a distinct harm and appropriate remedies

105. Overall procedures and mechanisms to investigate, report, prosecute and
remedy gender-based violations should be reviewed and strengthened, ensuring
the protection of victims who report violations.  It is encouraging that some
organizations are beginning to include trained and qualified personnel in
international human rights monitoring, investigation and verification
operations to consider issues of gender violence more systematically.

106. As recommended in the Beijing Platform for Action, gender balance must
be sought when nominating or promoting candidates for judicial and all
relevant international bodies, including the International Tribunals for the
former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, the International Court of Justice and other
bodies related to the peaceful settlement of disputes.  Both legal and medical
programme personnel, including medical and relief personnel, prosecutors,
judges and other officials who respond to crimes of rape, forced impregnation,
and other forms of gender-based violence in armed conflict, should be trained
to integrate a gender-specific perspective into their work. 

                     4.  Preventing gender-based violence

107. Prevention of gender-based violence should include a role for the
military, and United Nations peacekeepers in particular.  Senior officers
often have turned a blind eye to the sexual crimes of those under their
command, but they must be held accountable for both their own behaviour and
that of the men they supervise.  The 12 case studies on gender-based violence
prepared for the present report found the main perpetrators of sexual abuse
and exploitation to be the armed forces of parties to a conflict, whether
governmental or other actors.  Military training should emphasize gender
sensitivity, child rights and responsible behaviour towards women and
children.  Offenders must be prosecuted and punished for acts against women
and children.

108. Other preventive measures include the construction of shelter, water and
sanitation facilities in camps which must be carefully designed to avoid
creating opportunities for gender-based aggression against displaced women and
children.  In situations of armed conflict, all humanitarian assistance must
include community-based psychosocial and reproductive health programmes. 
Higher priority should be given to addressing the needs of children who have
witnessed or been subjected to gender-based violence. 

109. Humanitarian responses have been largely inadequate.  UNHCR, however,
has published guidelines on prevention and response to sexual violence against
refugees and guidelines on evaluation and care of victims of trauma and
violence.  These are important efforts to ensure that relief workers are
equipped to respond to the special needs of victims of sexual violence.  Some
effective programmes do exist, such as the "Women Victims of Violence" project
in Kenya.  This was initiated by UNHCR following the very large number of
rapes committed by bandits and local security personnel in the Somali refugee
camps of north-eastern Kenya.  During a field visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina,
the expert visited a number of community-based programmes, such as "Bosfam"
and "Bospo" that provide support for women, including victims of sexual
violence, in regaining control over their lives through small-scale
income-generating activities.  Such programmes have been few and far between,
however.  To be effective, they should provide comprehensive services
including economic assistance and psychosocial support, and they should not
overtly identify the women as victims.  If such initiatives are to succeed,
the local community must be involved in their design and implementation.

               5.  Specific recommendations on sexual exploitation
                   and gender-based violence

110. The expert submits the following recommendations on sexual exploitation
and gender-based violence:

     (a) All humanitarian responses in conflict situations must emphasize the
special reproductive health needs of women and girls including access to
family planning services, pregnancy as a result of rape, sexual mutilation,
childbirth at an early age or infection with sexually transmitted diseases,
including HIV/AIDS.  Equally important are the psychosocial needs of mothers
who have been subjected to gender-based violence and who need help in order to
foster the conditions necessary for the healthy development of their children;

     (b) All military personnel, including peacekeeping personnel, should
receive instruction on their responsibilities towards civilian communities and
particularly towards women and children as part of their training;

     (c) Clear and easily accessible systems should be established for
reporting on sexual abuse within both military and civilian populations;

     (d) The treatment of rape as a war crime must be clarified, pursued
within military and civilian populations, and punished accordingly. 
Appropriate legal and rehabilitative remedies must be made available to
reflect the nature of the crime and its harm;

     (e) Refugee and displaced persons camps should be so designed as to
improve security for women and girls.  Women should also be involved in all
aspects of camp administration but especially in organizing distribution and
security systems.  Increased numbers of female personnel should be deployed to
the field as protection officers and counsellors; 

     (f) In every conflict, support programmes should be established for
victims of sexual abuse and gender-based violence.  These should offer
confidential counselling on a wide range of issues, including the rights of
victims.  They should also provide educational activities and skills training.

                     D.  Landmines and unexploded ordnance

111. The spread of light weapons of all kinds has caused untold suffering to
millions of children caught up in armed conflict.  Many of these weapons have
a devastating impact not only during the period of conflict, but for decades
thereafter.  Landmines and unexploded ordnance probably pose the most
insidious and persistent danger.  Today, children in at least 68 countries
live amid the contamination of more than 110 million landmines.  Added to this
number are millions of items of unexploded ordnance, bombs, shells and
grenades that failed to detonate on impact.  Like landmines, unexploded
ordnance are weapons deemed to have indiscriminate effects, triggered by
innocent and unsuspecting passers-by. 24/

112. Landmines have been employed in most conflicts since the Second World
War, and particularly in internal conflicts.  Afghanistan, Angola and Cambodia
alone have a combined total of at least 28 million landmines, as well as
85 per cent of the world's landmine casualties.  Angola, with an estimated
10 million landmines, has an amputee population of 70,000, of whom 8,000 are
children.  African children live on the continent most plagued by landmines
- there are as many as 37 million mines in at least 19 African countries - but
all continents are affected to some extent. 25/

                          1.  The threat to children

113. Landmines and unexploded ordnance pose a particular danger for children,
especially because children are naturally curious and likely to pick up
strange objects they come across.  Devices like the "butterfly" mines used
extensively by the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Afghanistan
are coloured bright green and have two "wings".  Although they were not
designed to look like toys, such devices can still hold a deadly attraction
for children.  Children are also more vulnerable to the danger of landmines
than adults because they may not recognize or be able to read warning signs. 
Even if they are aware of mines, small children may be less able than adults
to spot them:  a mine laid in grass and clearly visible to an adult may be
less so to a small child, whose perspective is two or three feet lower. 

114. The risk to children is further compounded by the way in which mines and
unexploded ordnance become a part of daily life.  Children may become so
familiar with mines that they forget they are lethal weapons.  In northern
Iraq, children have been known to use mines as wheels for toy trucks, and in
Cambodia children have been seen playing "boules" with B40 anti-personnel
mines, even beginning their own collections of landmines. 26/  The dangers
from unexploded ordnance are very similar, and in many places these weapons
are much more numerous.  During her field visit to Cambodia, the expert noted
that civilians increasingly use mines and other devices for daily activities
such as fishing, guarding private property and even settling domestic
disputes.  Such familiarity dulls awareness of the dangers of these devices.

115. The victims of mines and unexploded ordnance tend to be concentrated
among the poorest sectors of society, where people face danger every day when
cultivating their fields, herding their animals or searching for firewood.  In
many cultures, these are the very tasks carried out by children.  In Viet Nam,
for example, it is young children who look after the family water buffalo,
which often roam freely in areas where the ground has been mined or contains
unexploded bombs and shells.  Many poor children also work as scavengers.  In
a village in Mozambique in 1995, several children were collecting scrap metal
to sell in the local market.  When they took it to the market and placed it on
a scale, the metal exploded, killing 11 children. 27/  Child soldiers are
particularly vulnerable, as they are often the personnel used to explore known
minefields.  In Cambodia, a survey of mine victims in military hospitals found
that 43 per cent had been recruited as soldiers between the ages of 10 and 16.

116. A mine explosion is likely to cause greater damage to the body of a
child than to that of an adult.  Anti-personnel mines are designed not to
kill, but to maim, yet even the smallest mine explosion can be lethal for a
child.  In Cambodia, an average 20 per cent of all children injured by mines
and unexploded ordnance die from their injuries. 28/  For the children who
survive, the medical problems related to amputation are often severe, as the
limb of a growing child grows faster than the surrounding tissue and requires
repeated amputation.  As they grow, children also need new prostheses
regularly.  For young children, this can mean a new prosthesis every six
months.  The extended medical treatment and psychosocial support that mine
injuries demand make them extremely expensive for the families of the victims
and for society in general.  Girls are even less likely than boys to receive
special medical attention and prostheses.  The burden and the expense of
rehabilitative care should be considered in recovery and social reintegration

117. Even where children themselves are not the victims, landmines and
unexploded ordnance have an overwhelming impact on their lives.  Families
already living on the edge of survival are often financially devastated by
mine incidents.  Surveys in Cambodia have revealed that 61 per cent of
families with a mine victim to support were in debt because of the accident. 
Additionally, when a parent is a mine casualty, the lost ability to work can
substantially weaken the care and protection available to children.  A field
survey in Afghanistan reported that unemployment for adult males rose from
6 to 52 per cent as a result of landmine accidents.

118. Indiscriminate weapons also strike at a country's reconstruction and
development.  Roads and footpaths strewn with landmines impede the safe
repatriation and return of refugee and displaced children and their families. 
Land seeded with millions of landmines and unexploded ordnance is unfit for
sowing productive crops, and the threat of mines inhibits the circulation of
goods and services.

             2.  Mine clearance, mine awareness and rehabilitation

119. Protecting children and other civilians from landmines and unexploded
ordnance demands rapid progress in four major areas:  a ban on landmines; mine
clearance that will eventually remove the problem; mine awareness programmes
that help children to avoid injury; and rehabilitation programmes that help
children recover.  The Department of Humanitarian Affairs of the Secretariat
has advanced the relatively new concept of humanitarian mine clearance.  The
United Nations considers that an area meets safety standards when it is
99.9 per cent free of landmines.  Clearing landmines is a long and expensive
business:  each one takes 100 times longer to remove than to deploy and a
weapon that costs $3 or less to manufacture may eventually cost $1,000 to
remove.  The countries most contaminated by mines are generally among the
world's poorest, so there is little prospect that they can afford to finance
their own de-mining programmes.  Only Kuwait has been able to devote the
necessary resources to mine clearance.

120. The United Nations is responding to this problem with the Voluntary
Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance.  To date, countries have pledged
$22 million of the United Nations goal of $75 million, and so far
$19.5 million has been received. 29/  The Department of Humanitarian Affairs,
as the focal point for mine-related activities within the United Nations
system, is developing the Voluntary Trust Fund and de-mining stand-by capacity
as quick response instruments to develop national programmes.  Protection from
landmines is a shared international responsibility and the costs should be
borne by the companies and countries that have profited from the manufacture
and sale of mines.

121. Far greater attention must be paid to increasing national capacity to
address the consequences of landmines and unexploded ordnance.  This requires
sustainable financial support for mine-clearance teams and medical
rehabilitation programmes.  It is essential to establish and support local
mechanisms for coordination, the open sharing of information and the
development of consistent mine awareness messages.  Commercial teams often
clear only the major roads and generally follow the priorities of central
Government or of businesses such as airports and commercial transportation
routes.  Too often, children's needs are ignored and the areas around schools
or rural footpaths are left uncleared.  Mine clearance should be adapted to
local knowledge and priorities.  In the area of medical rehabilitation, the
development of local capacity for prosthetics production is essential.  This
can provide economic opportunity for victims and contribute to their
psychosocial well being. 

122. Mine awareness programmes help people to recognize landmines and
suspected mined areas and explain what to do when a mine is discovered or an
incident occurs.  These programmes have been undertaken in a number of
countries, but for children, they are not as effective as they need to be,
making relatively little use of techniques that are interactive or tailored to
the needs of different age groups.  Often, mine awareness teams simply enter a
community, present information and leave - an approach that does not address
the behavioural changes an affected community must make to prevent injury. 
Recent programmes have been more carefully prepared, not merely telling
participants about the issues, but trying to involve them in the learning
process.  For example, a new programme developed by Save the Children Fund -
 US for Kabul (a city with more than 1 million mines) emphasizes participants'
involvement, child-to-child approaches, multi-media presentations, role
playing, survivors as educators and the creation of safe play areas.

                     3.  The need for an international ban

123. The immense impact of landmines and the damage they will continue to
cause for many years to come has stimulated an international campaign to ban
their manufacture and use.  In 1992, a global coalition of non-governmental
organizations formed the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, and there
has been considerable progress since.  The Secretary-General has strongly
advocated an end to the landmine scourge and, in resolution 49/75 D, the
General Assembly has called for their eventual elimination.  UNICEF and UNHCR
have adopted stringent policies against doing any business with companies or
subsidiaries of companies that produce or sell anti-personnel mines.  Some
41 countries have now stated that they are in favour of banning landmines and
some have already taken concrete steps to ban the use, production and trade of
the weapons and have begun to destroy their stocks.  The expert urges that all
States follow the lead of countries like Belgium and enact comprehensive
national legislation to ban landmines.

124. Many legal experts believe that landmines are already an illegal weapon
under international law and should be prohibited because they counter two
basic principles of humanitarian law.  First, the principle of distinction
holds that attacks may only be directed against military objectives. 
Landmines do not distinguish between military and civilian targets.  Second,
the principle of unnecessary suffering holds that, even if an attack is
directed against a legitimate military objective, the attack is not lawful if
it can result in excessive injury or suffering to civilians.  Thus, the
military utility of a weapon must outweigh its impact on civil society, and
the long destructive life of a landmine is clearly greater than any immediate
utility.  These principles apply to all States as part of customary
international law.

125. The use of landmines is specifically regulated by Protocol II of the
Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional
Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have
Indiscriminate Effects.  Worldwide pressure resulting from the International
Campaign to Ban Landmines led to a call for a review conference on the
Convention, which took place between September 1995 and May 1996.  While some
progress was made in revising Protocol II to the Convention, this legal
protection falls far short of even the bare minimum needed to protect children
and their families.  The expert hopes that the next conference in 2001 will
agree on a total ban, at least on anti-personnel mines. 

       4.  Specific recommendations on landmines and unexploded ordnance

126. The expert submits the following recommendations on landmines and
unexploded ordnance:

     (a) Governments should immediately enact comprehensive national
legislation to ban the production, use, trade and stockpiling of landmines. 
Governments should support the campaign for a worldwide ban, at least on
anti-personnel mines, at the next review conference to the Convention on
Conventional Weapons in 2001.  In order to reduce the threat of unexploded
ordnance, the conference should also make concrete proposals to address the
impact on children of other conventional weapons, such as cluster bombs and
small-calibre weapons;  

     (b) In reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, States
Parties, where relevant, should report on progress in enacting comprehensive
legislation.  Furthermore, they should report on measures being taken in mine
clearance and in programmes to promote children's awareness of landmines and
to rehabilitate those who have been injured;

     (c) Humanitarian mine clearance should be established as a part of all
peace agreements, incorporating strategies to develop national capacity for
mine clearance;

     (d) Governments must provide sufficient resources to support long-term
humanitarian mine clearance.  Such funding should be provided bilaterally and
through international assistance such as the United Nations Voluntary Trust
Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance;

     (e) Countries and companies that have profited from the sale of mines
should be especially required to contribute to funds designated for
humanitarian mine clearance and mine awareness programmes.  Measures to reduce
the proliferation and trade of landmines, such as consumer boycotts, should be

     (f) A technical workshop on mine awareness should be held by the
Department of Humanitarian Affairs, UNICEF, UNESCO and involved NGOs.  The
purpose would be to assess lessons learned, promote best practice in
child-focused mine awareness programmes and improve coordination, assessment
and evaluation.

                                 E.  Sanctions

127. The present report focuses on armed conflict, but a closely-related
issue that also has a serious impact on children is the imposition of economic
sanctions.  In recent years, economic sanctions have been seen as a cheaper,
non-violent alternative to warfare.  In his follow-up report to "An Agenda for
Peace" (A/50/60), the Secretary-General of the United Nations recognized that
sanctions raise the ethical question of whether suffering inflicted on
vulnerable groups in the target country is a legitimate means of exerting
pressure on political leaders.  Since 1991, under Article 41, Chapter VII of
the Charter of the United Nations, the international community has
collectively imposed sanctions on Iraq, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(Serbia and Montenegro), the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Haiti.  In addition,
countries can and have employed bilateral sanctions.  In the post-cold war
era, it seems likely that sanctions will play an increasingly important part
in international policy.  Governments are reluctant to commit troops and funds
to international military intervention and see sanctions as a safer recourse
that can be applied at lower cost to the embargoing power.  While not
necessarily the case, sanctions also appear less deadly than military action
for the population of the target country.

                          1.  Humanitarian exemptions

128. In theory, most sanctions regimes exempt critical humanitarian supplies
from general embargoes.  In practice, sanctions have so far proved blunt
instruments.  Humanitarian exemptions tend to be ambiguous and are interpreted
arbitrarily and inconsistently.  They often cause resource shortages; disrupt
the distribution of food, pharmaceuticals and sanitation supplies; and reduce
the capacity of the public health system to maintain the quality of food,
water, air, and medicine.  Delays, confusion and the denial of requests to
import essential humanitarian goods cause resource shortages.  While these
effects might seem to be spread evenly across the target populations, they
inevitably fall most heavily on the poor.  Those with power and influence will
usually have ways of acquiring what they need, while the general population
struggles to survive with what remains.  While adults can endure long periods
of hardship and privation, children have much less resistance, and they are
less likely to survive persistent shortages.  Studies from Cuba, Haiti and
Iraq following the imposition of sanctions each showed a rapid rise in the
proportion of children who were malnourished.  In Haiti after 1991, for
example, one study indicated that the price of staple foods increased fivefold
and the proportion of malnourished children increased from 5 to 23 per cent.

129. Even when exemptions are permitted, the conditions applied may be
unacceptable to the Government in power.  Indeed, those Governments and
authorities against which sanctions are imposed are rarely personally affected
and may be precisely those less responsive to the plight of their people. 
Iraq since 1990 has experienced the most comprehensive regime ever imposed. 
In order to mitigate some of the effects on health and nutrition, the Security
Council adopted resolution 706 (1991) to permit the use of frozen Iraqi funds
to purchase food and medicine, stipulating that these supplies had to be
purchased and distributed under the supervision of the United Nations.  The
Iraqi Government considered these conditions unacceptable and only started to
discuss them in 1995.  Meanwhile, the situation for children has deteriorated.

Over the past five years, infant mortality is thought to have tripled. 31/ 
The "oil-for-food" procedures contained in Security Council resolution
986 (1995) present an opportunity to mitigate the negative impact of sanctions
on Iraqi children.  To take full advantage of this opportunity, however, all
currency generated through oil sales should be dedicated to humanitarian and
civilian purposes. 

130. In the interests of children, the international community should cease
to impose comprehensive economic sanctions without obligatory and enforceable
humanitarian exemptions and agreed mechanisms for monitoring the impact of
sanctions on children and other vulnerable groups.  Any measures taken should
be precisely targeted at the vulnerabilities of the political or military
leaders whose behaviour the international community wishes to change.  These
actions could include an arms embargo, the freezing of all corporate and
individual overseas assets, the stopping of certain kinds of economic
transactions, the suspension of air links and other forms of communication and
the isolation of countries from the rest of the world through cultural,
academic and economic boycotts.

           2.  The need for child impact assessments and monitoring

131. Sanctions should be judged against the standards of universal human
rights, particularly the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The primary
consideration must always be the potential human impact, which should
influence the imposition and choice of sanctions, the duration, the legal
provisions and the operation of the sanctions regime.  Sanctions should not be
imposed without advance assessment of the economic and social structure of the
target country and the ability of the international community to sustain
continuous monitoring.

132. Monitoring systems make it possible to assess the impact of the embargo
on health and well-being.  At minimum, such assessments should measure changes
in access to essential medicines and medical supplies (especially items that
may serve both civilian and military purposes such as chlorine for water
purification or lab reagents for health screening and testing), water quality
and quantity, the nutritional state of children and the infant mortality rate.

133. When targeted sanctions are imposed, humanitarian exemptions should be
formulated with clear guidelines.  At the same time, in order to help
vulnerable groups, the established agencies should formulate appropriate
humanitarian assistance programmes.  If essential humanitarian goods are
denied to the population, the sanctioning powers have a responsibility to
assure new sources of supply.  When the Security Council imposes sanctions, it
should also simultaneously provide resources to neutral, independent bodies to
monitor the situation of vulnerable groups.  In the event that the position of
children deteriorates, the United Nations should assume responsibility for
redressing the situation.

134. Since many of the effects of sanctions, particularly the health impact, 
may only become evident over a period of years, no sanctions regime should be
allowed to continue indefinitely.  When the Security Council imposes
sanctions, it should also clearly define the circumstances under which they
should be lifted.  If the sanctions fail to produce the desired result within
a predetermined period, they should be replaced by other measures. 

                   3.  Specific recommendations on sanctions

135. The expert submits the following recommendations on sanctions:

     (a) The international community should ensure that whenever sanctions
are imposed they provide for humanitarian, child-focused exemptions.  The
international community should establish effective monitoring mechanisms and
child impact assessments.  These must be developed with clear application

     (b) Humanitarian assistance programmes of the United Nations specialized 
agencies and of NGOs should be exempt from approval by the Security Council
Sanctions Committee;

     (c) A primary concern when planning a targeted sanctions regime should
be to minimize its impact on vulnerable groups, and particularly children.
Sanctions or other measures taken by the Security Council should be precisely
targeted at the vulnerabilities of those whose behaviour the international
community wishes to change;

     (d) The Security Council Sanctions Committee should closely monitor the
humanitarian impact of sanctions and amend sanctions immediately if they are
shown to cause undue suffering to children.

                           F.  Health and nutrition

136. The effects of armed conflict on child development accumulate and
interact with each other.  The stage of physical, psychosocial, cognitive and
moral development that a child has reached directly affects his or her ability
to cope with these impacts.  Consistent with article 39 of the Convention on
the Rights of the Child, obliging States Parties to promote the physical and
psychological recovery and social reintegration of children affected by armed
conflict, the following three subsections of the report are devoted to health
and nutrition, psychosocial well-being and education.

137. Thousands of children are killed every year as a direct result of
fighting, from knife wounds, bullets, bombs and landmines, but many more die
from malnutrition and disease caused or increased by armed conflicts.  The
interruption of food supplies, the destruction of food crops and agricultural
infrastructures, the disintegration of families and communities, the
displacement of populations, the destruction of health services and programmes
and of water and sanitation systems all take a heavy toll on children.  Many
die as a direct result of diminished food intake that causes acute and severe
malnutrition, while others, compromised by malnutrition, become unable to
resist common childhood diseases and infections.

138. Given their vulnerability, it is no surprise that around 2 million
children are estimated to have died as a result of armed conflict in the last
decade. 32/  In Mozambique alone, between 1981 and 1988, armed conflict caused
454,000 child deaths, while in Somalia, according to WHO, crude mortality
rates increased 7 to 25 times.  Some of the highest death rates occur among
children in refugee camps.  These statistics are in stark contrast to the
intent behind article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which
asserts that States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the
survival and development of the child.  Article 24 states that the child has a
right to the highest standard of health and medical care available.

139. Many of today's armed conflicts take place in some of the world's
poorest countries, where children are already vulnerable to malnutrition and
disease, and the onset of armed conflict increases death rates up to 24 times.

All children are at risk when conflicts break out, but the most vulnerable are
those who are under five and already malnourished.

                           1.  Communicable diseases

140. Since 1990, the most commonly reported causes of death among refugees
and internally displaced persons during the early influx phase have been
diarrhoeal diseases, acute respiratory infections, measles and other
infectious diseases.   Even in peacetime, these are the major killers of
children, accounting for some seven million child deaths each year. 33/  Their
effects are heightened during conflicts, partly because malnutrition is likely
to be more prevalent, thereby increasing chances of infection.

141. Diarrhoea is one of the most common diseases.  In Somalia during 1992,
23 to 50 per cent of deaths in Baidoa, Afgoi and Berbera were reported to be
due to diarrhoea.  Cholera is also a constant threat and, following armed
conflicts, it has occurred in refugee camps in Bangladesh, Kenya, Malawi,
Nepal, Somalia and Zaire, amongst others.  Acute respiratory infections,
including pneumonia, are particularly lethal in children and, according to
WHO, killing one-third of the children who died in six refugee centres in
Goma, Zaire, in 1994.  Measles epidemics have been reported in recent
situations of conflict or displacement in several African countries - at the
height of the conflict in Somalia, more than half the deaths in some places
were caused by measles.  As tuberculosis re-emerges as a dangerous threat to
health the world over, its effect is heightened by armed conflict and
disruption.  WHO estimates that half the world's refugees may be infected with
tuberculosis, as the crowded conditions in refugee camps often promote the
spread of tubercular infection.  Malaria has always been a major cause of
morbidity and mortality among refugees in tropical areas, particularly among
people who come from areas of marginal transmission and who move through or
settle in endemic areas.  Children, as always, are the most vulnerable to
these collective assaults on health and well-being.

142. The potential for greater spread of sexually transmitted diseases,
including HIV/AIDS, increases dramatically during conflicts.  Population
movements, rape, sexual violence and the breakdown of established social
values all increase the likelihood of unprotected sexual activity and larger
numbers of sexual partners.  Reduced access to reproductive health services,
including education, increases the vulnerability of adolescents in particular.

The breakdown of health services and blood transfusion services lacking the
ability to screen for HIV/AIDS also increase transmission.  NGOs and agencies
such as FAO and UNICEF have noted a dramatic increase in the incidence of
child headed households as one of the consequences of HIV/AIDS in parts of
Africa.  This trend is likely to increase.  It is essential that agencies
design clear strategies to assist children in these situations without
disrupting family unity. 

                            2.  Reproductive health

143. In times of conflict, the provision of primary health care in
conjunction with interventions to secure clean water, adequate nutrition,
shelter and sanitation, will be the priority health agenda.  However,
reproductive health is also important for the physical and psychosocial
well-being of men and women, and particularly of young girls.  The
reproductive health of pregnant women and mothers is integrally tied to the
health of newborns and children.  WHO advocates that reproductive health
services based on women's needs and demands, with full respect for religious
and cultural backgrounds, should be available in all situations.  The effects
of armed conflicts - family and community breakdown, rapid social change, the
breakdown of support systems, increased sexual violence and rape,
malnutrition, epidemics and inadequate health services, including poor
prenatal care - make it imperative that the right to reproductive health care
is given high priority.  The problems caused by complications in pregnancy and
delivery and by unwanted and unsafe sex can be immediate, as is the case with
chronic pelvic inflammatory diseases.  They can also adversely effect women's
future sexual and reproductive health and that of their children by leading to
health conditions such as infertility, paediatric AIDS and congenital

144. The insufficient attention paid to reproductive health issues in
emergency situations led to the development of the UNHCR/UNFPA Inter-Agency
Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Refugee Situations.  Reproductive
health programmes that involve women and adolescents in their design,
implementation and assessment help to build personal capacities, lead to more
relevant programmes and can make important contributions to the health and
development of young people and women in situations of armed conflict.  In
South Africa, for example, UNICEF reports that young people have been involved
effectively in the design, testing and implementation of youth health
situation analyses, and in Ghana, peer educators in health projects for
children living or working in the streets, 34/ have improved their programmes
by involving young people in assessments. 

                                3.  Disability

145. Millions of children are killed by armed conflict, but three times as
many are seriously injured or permanently disabled by it.  According to WHO,
armed conflict and political violence are the leading causes of injury,
impairment and physical disability and primarily responsible for the
conditions of over 4 million children who currently live with disabilities. 
In Afghanistan alone, some 100,000 children have war-related disabilities,
many of them caused by landmines.  The lack of basic services and the
destruction of health facilities during armed conflict mean that children
living with disabilities get little support.  Only 3 per cent in developing
countries receive adequate rehabilitative care, and the provision of
prosthetics to children is an area that requires increased attention and
financial support.  In Angola and Mozambique, less than 20 per cent of
children needing them received low-cost prosthetic devices; in Nicaragua and
El Salvador, services were also available for only 20 per cent of the children
in need.  This lack of rehabilitative care is contrary to article 23 of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, which lays out clearly the
responsibilities of States Parties for ensuring effective access of disabled
children to education, health and rehabilitation services. 

                     4.  Destruction of health facilities

146. In most wars, and particularly in internal conflicts, health facilities
come under attack, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. 
During the armed conflict from 1982 to 1987 in Nicaragua, for example, 106 of
the country's 450 health units were eventually put out of service as a result
of complete or partial destruction, and a further 37 health posts were closed
owing to frequent attacks.  The intensity of the war also diverted much of the
health service to the needs of immediate casualties.  Hospitals maintained low
occupancy rates in order to be able to receive the injured at short notice and
they were forced either to neglect the regular care of patients or to shift
them to health centres.  Even health facilities that remain open during a
conflict offer very restricted service.  In Mozambique, between 1982 and 1990,
about 70 per cent of health units were looted or forced to close down and the
remainder were difficult to reach because of curfews.

147. A concentration on military needs also means that children injured in a
conflict may not get effective treatment or rehabilitation.  Effects on
general health care can be just as severe.  Health services suffer from a
shortage of personnel as health workers move to other areas or leave the
country.  After the Khmer Rouge period, for example, Cambodia was left with
only about 30 doctors.  Restrictions on travel also hamper the distribution of
drugs and other medical supplies, and health referral services, supervision
and logistic support break down. 

148. For children, one of the most dangerous implications of this breakdown
is the disruption of rural vaccination programmes.  During Bangladesh's
struggle for independence in 1971-1972, childhood deaths increased
47 per cent.  Smallpox, a disease that had virtually disappeared prior to the
conflict, claimed 18,000 lives.  By 1973, in Uganda, immunization coverage had
reached an all-time high of 73 per cent.  After the fighting started in that
country, coverage declined steadily until, according to WHO sources, by 1990,
fewer than 10 per cent of eligible children were being immunized with anti-
tuberculosis vaccine (BCG), and fewer than 5 per cent against diphtheria,
pertussis and tetanus (DPT), measles and poliomyelitis.  The situation has
improved dramatically, but the lessons are clear.

              5.  Protecting health services and health workers 

149. In actions at both global and national level, the health sector should
continue to promote children's rights to survival and development while doing
all it can to prevent and alleviate their suffering.  In the midst of armed
conflict, WHO urges that health facilities be respected as safe environments
for the care of patients and as safe workplaces for health workers.  The
delivery of medical assistance should not be prevented or obstructed. 
Moreover, the health care system and the community should work together, using
health care wherever possible as an opportunity to gain access to children for
other positive purposes.

150. During times of war, health services should emphasize the need for
continuity of care and long-term follow-up.  Emergency health relief must be
linked with long-term development support and planning that not only permit
survival, but also bring about long-lasting positive changes in children's
lives.  Paediatric and gynaecological care must become a regular component of
all relief programmes.  In the post-conflict phase, health systems must be
sustainable, and programmes must be designed with as much involvement as
possible from the affected communities.  One obstacle to the full enjoyment of
health services is that they are often dominated by men, whether expatriate or
from the host country.  For cultural or religious reasons, many women and
girls underutilize the services despite risks to their health.  Governments,
United Nations bodies and specialized agencies such as WHO, UNHCR and UNICEF
should increase the numbers of female health and protection professionals
available in emergency situations.

151. Armed conflict is a major public health hazard that cannot be ignored. 
Any disease that had caused as much large-scale damage to children would long
ago have attracted the urgent attention of public health specialists.  When
armed conflict kills and maims more children than soldiers, the health sector
has a special obligation to speak out.  Health professionals must be advocates
of the rights of the child.

                        6.  Disruption of food supplies

152. One of the most immediate effects of armed conflict is to disrupt food
supplies.  Food production is affected in many ways.  Farmers, who are often
women and older children, become fearful of working on plots of land too far
from their homes.  They reduce the area under cultivation, and their water
sources, systems of irrigation and flood control may also be destroyed. 
Restrictions on movement limit access to such necessities as seeds and
fertilizers and stop farmers from taking their produce to market.  Damage to
food systems is incidental to conflicts in some cases.  In others it is
deliberate, as in the early 1980s in Ethiopia, when the Government's scorched
earth policies destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of food-producing land
in Tigray. 35/  Both the quantity and quality of available food is affected by
damage done to food systems, and even when the conflict subsides, it is
difficult to recover quickly.  In many countries, mined fields prevent their
use as agricultural land.  In the Juba valley in Somalia, where people have
been returning to their villages since 1993, the continuing lack of security
means that the main harvest in 1995 was as much as 50 per cent lower than
before the conflict. 36/

153. Warfare also takes its toll on livestock.  In the Kongor area of Sudan,
for example, a massacre of both people and cattle reduced livestock from
around 1.5 million down to 50,000. 37/  This situation creates particular
problems for young children who rely on milk as part of their basic diet. 
Loss of livestock also undermines family security in general, since cattle are
frequently used as a form of savings. 

154. Most households in developing countries, including many farm households,
rely on market purchases to meet their food needs.  Economic disruption
heightens unemployment, reducing people's ability to buy food.  People in
cities are sometimes tempted to resort to looting to feed their families, thus
escalating the violence.  The continuation of conflict also hinders the
distribution of relief.  In contravention of humanitarian law, warring parties
frequently block relief supplies or divert them for their own use.  In
addition, feeding centres for children and vulnerable groups are frequently
bombed or attacked. 

                               7.  Malnutrition

155. For the youngest children especially, many health problems during armed
conflicts are linked to malnutrition.  Before the war in former Yugoslavia,
per capita food supplies were relatively abundant, representing 140 per cent
of daily requirements compared with 98 per cent in Liberia and 81 per cent in
Somalia.  The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina subsequently deteriorated,
but still did not reach levels as shockingly low as in Somalia during 1993 or
Liberia in 1995.  At those times, more than 50 per cent of the children in
some regions were suffering from moderate or severe malnutrition. 38/

156. Malnutrition can affect all children, but it causes the greatest
mortality and morbidity among young children, especially those under the age
of three.  In emergencies, very young children may be at high risk of
"wasting" or acute malnutrition, a condition indicated by low weight for
height.  During the 1983 famine in southern Sudan, FAO reported that the
prevalence of wasting reached the unprecedented level of 65 per cent.  Recent
refugee crises have shown how rapidly morbidity and mortality can progress. 
Malnutrition weakens children's ability to resist attacks of common childhood
diseases, and the course and outcome of these diseases are more severe and
more often fatal in malnourished children.  Malnutrition also has a negative
impact on children's cognitive development.  In addition to these nutritional
hazards, the circumstances of armed conflict greatly increase exposure to
environmental hazards.  Poor waste disposal and inadequate or contaminated
water supplies aggravate the vicious circle of malnutrition and infection.

157. Adequate nourishment also depends on the way food is distributed, the
way children are fed, their hygiene and the time parents have available to
care for children.  Armed conflict puts heavy constraints on the care system,
forcing mothers and other members of the family to spend more time outside the
home searching for water, food or work.  Above all, when the whole family has
to take flight, it has little chance to give children the close attention they

158. Breastfeeding provides ideal nutrition for infants, reduces the
incidence and severity of infectious diseases and contributes to women's
health.  Infants should be breastfed exclusively for about six months and
should continue to be breastfed with adequate complementary food for two years
or beyond.  During conflicts, mothers may experience hunger, exhaustion and
trauma that can make them less able to care for their children.  Breastfeeding
may be endangered by the mother's loss of confidence in her ability to produce
milk.  Unless they are severely malnourished, mothers can breastfeed
adequately despite severe stress. In addition, the general disruption can
separate mothers from their children for long periods.  As the conflicts
proceed, social structures and networks break down.  Knowledge about
breastfeeding is passed from one generation to the next and this can be lost
when people flee and families are broken up.  Artificial feeding, risky at all
times, is even more dangerous in unsettled circumstances. 

159. In times of armed conflict, it is important to support women's capacity
to breastfeed by providing adequate dietary intake for lactating women and
ensuring that they are not separated from their children.  Unfortunately,
during emergencies, donors often respond with large quantities of breast milk
substitutes for which there has been little medical or social justification. 
In July 1996, in response to the increasing prevalence of HIV infection
globally and to additional information on the risk of HIV transmission through
breastfeeding, the Joint and Co-sponsored United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
circulated an interim statement on HIV and infant feeding.  That statement
emphasized the importance of breastfeeding, while highlighting the urgency of
developing policies on HIV infection and infant feeding.  It provided policy
makers with a number of key elements for the formulation of such policies,
laying particular stress on empowering women to make informed decisions about
infant feeding. 39/

160. Children's health and growth are also affected by the lack of fresh
fruits and vegetables, which are good sources of vitamins and minerals. 
Quality of diet is particularly important for small children, who can only eat
small quantities of food at one time.  Thus, it is essential to ensure that
their food has a high concentration of energy and nutrients or is given
frequently.  When, during a conflict, the nutritional quality of food
deteriorates, the family may not have the necessary means or knowledge to make
changes that will assure children an adequate diet.

161. Even when the conflict is over, it may take a long time to return to
normal feeding.  FAO reports that, in Mozambique, for example, some young
couples returning to the country from refugee camps did not know how to
prepare any foods other than the maize, beans and oil that had been
distributed to them as rations.  They were not familiar with traditional foods
or feeding practices and did not know which local foods to use during weaning.
And where parents or grandparents had been lost, there was no one available to
teach them.

                         8.  Protecting food security

162. One of the most common responses to emergencies of all kinds, including
armed conflicts, is food relief.  It is important to move away from the view
that food relief is a solution in itself, and towards the more constructive
approach that includes food relief as part of a wider strategy aimed at
improving household food security and the general health status of the
population.  This is particularly crucial in many long-running conflicts,
where people need to build up their own capacities to support themselves.  In
southern Sudan, the short-term distribution of food is now being linked with
support for agriculture, livestock and fisheries programmes.

163. In many cases, recourse to outside food assistance is unavoidable.  In
these circumstances the goal should be to meet the food needs of all persons,
including young children, by ensuring access to a nutritionally adequate
general ration.  When this is not feasible, it may be necessary to establish
supplementary feeding programmes for vulnerable groups, but these should be
regarded as short-term measures to compensate for inadequate general rations.
Dry rations that can be used by families in their own homes are preferable to
feeding centres, as WHO surveys suggest that less than 50 per cent of
malnourished children actually attend the centres.  They may be too far away,
and mothers may be reluctant to spend a disproportionate amount of time with a
malnourished child over other members of the family.  During a field visit to
Rwanda, the expert was made aware of how many children from the poorest
families did not attend feeding centres.  UNICEF staff reported that these
families often expressed feelings of shame or spoke of discouragement from
better-off neighbours.  Moreover, many such programmes have been poorly
managed. Overcrowded feeding centres lacking basic sanitation and hygiene,
with inadequate water supplies and poorly mixed food, do little for
malnourished children and actually lead to the spread of disease. 

164. In too many situations, children are considered separately from the
family, and feeding programmes for children are established without
considering other options that would improve their nutritional status.  These
options include improving household food security and reducing women's
workloads by offering better access to water and fuel.  This would clear more
time in a woman's day for caring for her children.  The Statements of the
First and Third Regional Consultations on Africa and the field trips for this
study underlined the importance of family unity and of capacity-building for
family and community self-reliance.

             9.  Specific recommendations on health and nutrition

165. The expert submits the following recommendations on health and

     (a) All parties to a conflict must ensure the maintenance of basic
health systems and services and water supplies.  Where new programmes must be
introduced, they should be based on community participation and take into
account the need for long-term sustainability.  Special attention should be
paid to primary health care and the care of children with chronic or acute
conditions.  Adequate rehabilitative care, such as provision of artificial
limbs for injured and permanently disabled children, should be ensured to
facilitate the fullest possible social integration;

     (b) Child-focused basic health needs assessments involving local
professionals, young people and communities should be speedily carried out by
organizations working in conflict situations.  They should take into account
food, health and care factors and the coping strategies likely to be used by
the affected population;

     (c) During conflicts, Governments should support the health and well-
being of their population by facilitating "days of tranquillity" or "corridors
of peace" to ensure continuity of basic child health measures and delivery of
humanitarian relief.  United Nations bodies, international NGOs and civil
society groups (particularly religious groups) should approach and persuade
non-state armed entities to cooperate in such efforts;

     (d) WFP, in collaboration with WHO, UNHCR and other United Nations
bodies, specialized agencies and other international organizations, should
take a lead role in consolidating current attempts to ensure that emergency
food and other relief distribution is structured so as to strengthen family
unity, integrity and coping mechanisms.  It should be an integral part of a
broader strategy for improving the nutrition and health status and physical
and mental development of children and the food and health securities of their

     (e) Parties in conflict should refrain from destruction of food crops,
water sources and agriculture infrastructures in order to cause minimum
disruption of food supply and production capacities.  Emergency relief should
give more attention to the rehabilitation of agriculture, livestock, fisheries
and employment or income generating programmes in order to enhance local
capacities to improve household food security on a self-reliant and
sustainable basis;

     (f) The expert urges WHO, in collaboration with professional,
humanitarian and human rights organizations such as the International
Paediatric Association, Medecins Sans Frontie`res and Physicians for Human
Rights, to encourage doctors, paediatricians and all other health workers to
disseminate child rights information and report rights violations encountered
in the course of their work.

        G.  Promoting psychological recovery and social reintegration 

166. Armed conflict affects all aspects of child development - physical,
mental and emotional - and to be effective, assistance must take each into
account.  Historically, those concerned with the situation of children during
armed conflict have focused primarily on their physical vulnerability.  The
loss, grief and fear a child has experienced must also be considered.  This
concern is reflected in article 39 of the Convention of the Rights of the
Child, which requires States Parties to take all appropriate measures to
promote children's physical and psychological recovery and social
reintegration.  This is best achieved by ensuring, from the outset of all
assistance programmes that the psychosocial concerns intrinsic to child growth
and development are addressed. 

167. In a survey of 3,030 children conducted by UNICEF in Rwanda in 1995,
nearly 80 per cent of the children had lost immediate family members, and more
than one third of these had actually witnessed their murders.  These
atrocities indicate the extremes to which children have been exposed during
conflicts.  But apart from direct violence, children are also deeply affected
by other distressing experiences.  Armed conflict destroys homes, splinters
communities and breaks down trust among people, undermining the very
foundations of children's lives.  The impact of being let down and betrayed by
adults is measureless in that it shatters the child's world view. 

                1.  Psychosocial impact of violence on children

168. The ways in which children respond to the stress of armed conflict will
depend on their own particular circumstances.  These include individual
factors such as age, sex, personality type, personal and family history and
cultural background.  Other factors will be linked to the nature of the
traumatic events, including their frequency and the length of the exposure. 
Children who suffer from stress display a wide range of symptoms, including
increased separation anxiety and developmental delays, sleep disturbances and
nightmares, lack of appetite, withdrawn behaviour, lack of interest in play,
and, in younger children, learning difficulties.  In older children and
adolescents, responses to stress can include anxious or aggressive behaviour
and depression.

169. Relatively little is known about the psychosocial long-term effects of
recent lengthy civil wars.  The loss of parents and other close family members
leaves a life-long impression and can dramatically alter life pathways. 
During the events marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Second World War,
many people recalled the pain and sorrow they suffered as children at the loss
of loved ones and described how such losses continue to affect them.

170. All cultures recognize adolescence as a highly significant period in
which young people learn future roles and incorporate the values and norms of
their societies.  The extreme and often prolonged circumstances of armed
conflict interfere with identity development.  As a result, many adolescents -
especially those who have had severely distressing experiences - cannot
conceive of any future for themselves.  They may view their lives very
pessimistically, suffer from serious depression or, in the worst of
circumstances, commit suicide.  They may not wish to seek help or support from
adults.  Moreover, sudden changes in family circumstances, such as the death
or disappearance of parents, can leave youth without guidance, role models and
sustenance.  During conflicts, some adolescents become responsible for the
care of younger siblings.  Youth are also often under pressure to actively
join in the conflict, or are threatened with forced recruitment.  Despite all
of this, adolescents, during or after wars, seldom receive any special
attention or assistance.  This is a matter of urgent concern.

171. In addition to the suffering they undergo as a result of their own
difficult experiences, children of all ages also take cues from their adult
care-givers.  Seeing their parents or other important adults in their lives as
vulnerable can severely undermine children's confidence and add to their sense
of fear.  When armed conflict causes a change in the behaviour of adults, such
as extreme protectiveness or authoritarianism, children find it very difficult
to understand.

                  2.  Best practices for recovery programmes

172. All programmes for children should take into account the rights of
children and their developmental needs.  They should also incorporate best
practices that emphasize knowledge and respect for local culture and
traditions and ensure ongoing consultation and participation with local
authorities and communities.   Programmes must have a long-term perspective
and be flexible enough to adapt to the changing circumstances of armed
conflict.  They must also be sustainable and continue well after the conflict.

173. Experience has shown that with supportive care-givers and secure
communities, most children will achieve a sense of healing and some will prove
remarkably resilient.  A large group of unaccompanied boys from southern
Sudan, for example, arrived in Ethiopia after a long and harrowing journey on
foot.  These were boys who had been trained from an early age to survive in
harsh conditions, away from home, in nomadic cattle camps.  When they reached
the relative safety of refugee camps, they were able to recuperate quickly.

174. The ways in which individuals and communities cope with, react to and
understand stressful events can differ markedly from one culture to another. 
Although many symptoms of distress have universal characteristics, the ways in
which people express, embody and give meaning to their distress are largely
dependent on social, cultural, political and economic contexts.  Likewise, the
manner in which different cultures deal with manifestations of emotional
distress is based on different belief systems.  In some eastern spiritual
traditions, for example, the body and mind are perceived as a continuum of the
natural world.  Indeed, in many ethno-medical systems, the body and the mind
are always dependent on the actions of others, including spirits and
ancestors.  In Angola, for example, and in many areas of Africa, the main
sources of trauma are considered to be spiritual.  If a child's mother dies in
armed conflict and the child flees without having conducted the proper burial
ritual, the child will live with the strong fear that the mother's spirit will
cause harm.  Western diagnostic approaches can be ill-suited to a context in
which people are more likely to turn for assistance to family, friends and
traditional healers than to seek medical help for their problems. 

175. Psychotherapeutic approaches based on western mental health traditions
tend to emphasize individual emotional expression.  This method may not be
feasible in all contexts.  While many forms of external intervention can help
promote psychosocial recovery, experience with war trauma programmes has shown
that even those designed with the best intentions can do harm.  Some
organizations, for example, put a great deal of emphasis on trauma therapy in
residential treatment centres.  Exploring a child's previous experience with
violence and the meaning that it holds in her or his life is important to the
process of healing and recovery.  However, such an exploration should take
place in a stable, supportive environment, by care-givers who have solid and
continuing relationships with the child.  In-depth clinical interviews
intended to awaken the memories and feelings associated with a child's worst
moments risk leaving the child in more severe pain and agitation than before,
especially if the interviews are conducted without ongoing support for follow-

176. Another difficulty is faced when journalists or researchers encourage
children to relate horror stories.  Such interviews can open up old wounds and
tear down a child's defences.  Children who are photographed and identified by
name can be exposed to additional problems and harassment.  Journalists and
researchers must carry out their important work with awareness of the ethical
issues at stake.  For example, there should be an understanding in advance of
the kind of information that is confidential and should not be used.

177. Best practice emphasizes that the most effective and sustainable
approach is to mobilize the existing social care system.  This may, for
example, involve mobilizing a refugee community to support suitable foster
families for unaccompanied children.  Through training, and raising the
awareness of central care-givers including parents, teachers and community and
health workers, a diversity of programmes can enhance the community's ability
to provide care for its children and vulnerable groups.  Building expensive
facilities and removing children to them is not a sustainable approach. 
Institutionalizing children and identifying them as traumatized can impose an
inadvertent stigma and contribute to isolation and withdrawal.  Nor should
groups of children who have had especially traumatic experiences, such as
former child soldiers or unaccompanied children, be segregated from the
community, since this will contribute to further risk, distress and
marginalization.  At regional consultations in Africa and Europe, as well as
during several field trips, the importance of urging Governments, donors and
programme practitioners to minimize and actively avoid institutional
approaches was emphasized.

178. Those who wish to help with healing should have a deep understanding of
and respect for the societies in which they are working.  Aside from knowing
the basic principles of child development and the way it is understood
locally, they should also understand local culture and practices, including
the rites and ceremonies related to growing up and becoming an adult as well
as those associated with death, burial and mourning.  People involved in
healing should be aware, for example, of what children are told about the
death of their parents, how they are expected to behave when they experience
distressing events and what actions might be taken to give "cleansing" to a
girl who has been raped or to a child who has killed someone. 

179. Integrating modern knowledge of child development and child rights with
traditional concepts and practices may take time, but it will result in more
effective and sustainable ways to meet children's needs.  In research
contributed to the present study, the International Save the Children Alliance
identified a number of principles and activities that promote healing by
fostering a sense of purpose, self-esteem and identity.  These include
establishing a sense of normalcy through daily routines such as going to
school, preparing food, washing clothes and working in the fields.  Children
also need the intellectual and emotional stimulation that is provided by
structured group activities such as play, sports, drawing and storytelling. 
The most important factor contributing to a child's resilience is the
opportunity for expression, attachment and trust that comes from a stable,
caring and nurturing relationship with adults.

180. Children who have been continually exposed to violence almost always
experience a significant change in their beliefs and attitudes, including a
fundamental loss of trust in others.  This is especially true of children who
have been attacked or abused by people previously considered neighbours or
friends, as happened in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.  At a seminar
convened on behalf of the study, a Bosnian boy told of this devastation:  "We
spent our childhood together.  I saw him and hoped that he would save my life.
He was ready to kill me".  Rebuilding the ability to trust is a universal
challenge in the wake of conflicts, but it is particularly important for those
who are a part of children's daily lives.  Establishing good relationships
with children involves playing with, listening to and supporting them, as well
as keeping promises.

181. Families and communities can better promote the psychosocial well-being
of their children when they themselves feel relatively secure and confident
about the future.  Recognizing that families and communities are often
fragmented and weakened by armed conflict, programmes should focus on
supporting survivors in their efforts to heal and rebuild their social
networks.  It is therefore vital that all forms of external help be given in
such a way as to enhance people's ability to help themselves.  This should
include, for example, assisting parents and teachers to communicate with
children on difficult issues.  Reconstructing a social web and a sense of
community helps people act together to improve their lives.  It is
particularly important that aid programmes include women at an early stage in
making decisions about designing, delivering and evaluating initiatives.  The
process of evaluation can draw upon its relevance for the community, the
improved capacities of parents and care-givers to support child development,
and the enhanced abilities of children to form relationships and to function
well in school and other activities. 

182. In order to ensure that their needs are met, young people should
themselves be involved in community-based relief, recovery and reconstruction
programmes.   This can be achieved through vocational and skills training that
not only helps to augment their income, but also increases their sense of
identity and self-worth in ways that enhance healing.  One way in which
programmes have succeeded in giving adolescents a sense of meaning and purpose
is to involve them in developing and implementing programmes for younger

        3.  Specific recommendations to promote psychosocial well-being

183. The expert submits the following recommendations to promote psychosocial

     (a) All phases of emergency and reconstruction assistance programmes
should take psychosocial considerations into account, while avoiding the
development of separate mental health programmes.  They should also give
priority to preventing further traumatic experience;

     (b) Rather than focusing on a child's emotional wounds, programmes
should aim to support healing processes and to re-establish a sense of
normalcy.  This should include establishing daily routines of family and
community life, opportunity for expression and structured activities such as
school, play and sports;

     (c) Programmes to support psychosocial well-being should include local
culture, perceptions of child development, an understanding of political and
social realities and children's rights.  They should mobilize the community
care network around children;

     (d) Governments, donors and relief organizations should prevent the
institutionalization of children.  When groups of children considered
vulnerable, such as child soldiers, are singled out for special attention, it
should be done with full cooperation of the community so as to ensure their
long-term reintegration.

H.  Education

184. Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child underlines the
right to education, and article 29 states that education should develop the
child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their
fullest potential.  Education also serves much broader functions.  It gives
shape and structure to children's lives and can instil community values,
promote justice and respect for human rights and enhance peace, stability and

185. Education is particularly important at times of armed conflict.  While
all around may be in chaos, schooling can represent a state of normalcy. 
School children have the chance to be with friends and enjoy their support and
encouragement.  They benefit from regular contacts with teachers who can
monitor their physical and psychological health.  Teachers can also help
children to develop new skills and knowledge necessary for survival and
coping, including mine awareness, negotiation and problem solving and
information about HIV/AIDS and other health issues.  Formal education also
benefits the community as a whole.  The ability to carry on schooling in the
most difficult circumstances demonstrates confidence in the future: 
communities that still have a school feel they have something durable and
worthy of protection.

1.  Risks to education during conflict

186. Schools are targeted during war, in part because they have such high
profiles.  In rural areas, the school building may be the only substantial
permanent structure, making it highly susceptible to shelling, closure or
looting.  In Mozambique, for example, a study prepared for the present report
estimated that 45 per cent of primary school networks were destroyed.  Often,
local teachers are also prime targets because they are important community
members and tend to be more than usually politicized.  According to the above-
mentioned study, during the crisis in Rwanda, more than two-thirds of teachers
either fled or were killed.  The destruction of educational infrastructures
represents one of the greatest developmental setbacks for countries affected
by conflict.  Years of lost schooling and vocational skills will take
equivalent years to replace and their absence imposes a greater vulnerability
on the ability of societies to recover after war.

187. Formal education is also generally at risk during war because it relies
on consistent funding and administrative support that is difficult to sustain
during political turmoil.  During the fighting in Somalia and under the Khmer
Rouge regime in Cambodia, public expenditure on education was reduced to
nearly nothing.

188. It is less difficult to maintain educational services during
low-intensity conflicts, as in Sri Lanka and Peru, and schooling is likely to
continue during periodic lulls in countries where fighting is intermittent or
seasonal.  Even where services are maintained, however, education will be of
lower quality. Funds will be short and the supply of materials slow or
erratic.  In addition, fear and disruption make it difficult to create an
atmosphere conducive to learning and the morale of both teachers and pupils is
likely to be low.  Studies in Palestinian schools reported that teachers and
students had difficulty concentrating, particularly if they had witnessed or
experienced violence or had family members in prison or in hiding.  Teachers
are also exposed to political pressure:  in Kurdish areas in Turkey, for
example, teachers have been threatened by non-state forces for continuing to
teach the Turkish curriculum.  In some countries, teachers have been forced to
inform on students and their families.  Teachers who go for long periods
without salaries are more susceptible to corruption.

2.  Challenges and opportunities

189. Though still inadequate, relief programmes direct most attention in
times of armed conflict to the education of refugee children.  This is partly
because, when children are massed together in camps, there are economies of
scale and it is easier to approximate a classroom situation.  In some
countries, this reality simply reflects the dominance of inflexible formal
education systems that persist despite growing doubts about their quality,
relevance and content.  Insufficient attention to the education needs of
non-refugees during armed conflict is also attributable to the fact that some
of the donors most active during conflicts are constrained by their mandates
to work exclusively with refugees.  Other donors have been reluctant to use
emergency funds for what they have chosen to interpret as long-term
development activities.

190. The education needs of children remaining within conflict zones must be
met.  The expert calls, therefore, for educational activity to be established
as a priority component of all humanitarian assistance.  Educational
administrators who wish to ensure continuity must, when possible, collaborate
closely with local political and military authorities and be assured of
considerable support from a wide range of community groups and NGOs.  Indeed,
where public sector agencies are absent or severely weakened, such groups may
provide the only viable institutional frameworks.

191. Since schools are likely to be targets, one element of the planning
process should be to establish alternative sites for classrooms, changing the
venues regularly.  In Eritrea in the late 1980s, classes were often held under
trees, in caves or in camouflaged huts built from sticks and foliage.  Similar
arrangements were made during the height of the fighting in many places in the
former Yugoslavia, where classes were held in the cellars of people's homes,
often by candlelight.  During the field trip to Croatia and Bosnia and
Herzegovina, many people stressed to the expert the importance of maintaining
education, no matter how difficult the circumstances.

192. Education can also incorporate flexible systems of distance learning
after the conflict has ended, which can be cost-effective when school
facilities have been destroyed and teachers have been lost.  These involve
home or group study using pre-packaged teaching materials complemented by
broadcast and recorded media.  Such systems are particularly valuable for
girls when parents are reluctant to have them travel far from home.  The
statement of the Second Regional Consultation on the Impact of Armed Conflict
on Children in the Arab Region emphasized the importance of such programmes
and called upon Governments, educators, NGOs and concerned international
bodies to ensure that formal, non-formal and informal education interventions
are delivered through a variety of community channels.

193. When children have been forced to leave their homes and are crowded into
displaced persons camps, establishing schooling systems as soon as possible
reassures everyone by signalling a degree of stability and a return to normal
roles and relationships within the family and the community.  Such education
requires only the most basic materials.  One important innovation in recent
years has been the development by UNESCO and UNICEF of a teacher's emergency
pack (TEP), otherwise known as "school-in-a-box".  The pack contains very
basic items including a brush and paint for a blackboard, chalk, paper,
exercise books, pens and pencils.  It was first used in Somalia in 1992 and
further refined in the refugee camps in Djibouti.  The packs were widely used
for the rapid establishment of schools for Rwandan refugees at Ngara in
Tanzania, where children attended primary grades in tents on a shift basis. 
Agreements with a number of international NGOs have led to several programmes
in which the distribution of TEPs has been linked with teacher training and
other initiatives.  The TEP is intended to cover the first few months of
emergency schooling.  Longer-term initiatives require the development of
materials tailored to specific groups of children.

194. Notwithstanding the success of initiatives like TEP, the expert was
particularly concerned to discover the lack of meaningful educational activity
for adolescents, particularly at secondary school level.  In situations of
armed conflict, education can prove particularly effective in assisting the
psychosocial well-being of adolescents and keeping them out of military

195. Many modern educators prefer non-competitive learner-centred approaches
that help foster self-confidence in children and develop a wide range of
skills.  The expert agrees, but cautions that such methods are still
unfamiliar in many countries and must be introduced carefully in programmes so
as not to disempower local teachers or confuse pupils.  Special care should
also be taken to adapt the methods and content of education to the social
context.  At the Second Regional Consultation in the Arab Region, it was
suggested that local relevance could be facilitated by allowing parents,
communities and children to play more active roles in the design, content and
implementation of curricula and in flexible education methodologies.  Youth
volunteers and local community leaders should be involved in baseline
assessments, which are a necessary first step in identifying the educational
strengths and weaknesses that are available for those planning educational
services in communities affected by conflict.  During her field visit to
Sierra Leone, the expert was encouraged by the enthusiasm shown for innovative
educational alternatives, particularly for the training and deployment of
mothers, adolescents and other non-traditional teachers in emergency

196. Apart from emergency education programmes in camps, refugee children can
sometimes attend regular schools in host countries, though very few get the
opportunity to do so.  Host States can be reluctant to allow refugee
education, fearing that this will encourage refugees to remain permanently on
their territory.  The denial of education clearly contravenes both article 22
of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and article 28 of
the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which require that States Parties
provide refugee children with the same treatment as is accorded to nationals
with respect to elementary education.  The expert noted with grave concern
that some host Governments refuse to provide, or to allow international
agencies to provide, educational activity for refugee children.  Despite
active intervention and strong protests, UNHCR has sometimes proven unable to
persuade Governments that such action is destructive to children.  The expert
calls upon the international community to support the efforts of United
Nations bodies, specialized agencies and other organizations to meet more
effectively the international standards for the care, protection and welfare
of children.  Further, host Governments, international agencies and other
educational providers are urged to work more closely with the World Bank,
UNICEF, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNESCO to ensure
that education services are part of both relief and immediate reconstruction
activities.  Upon their return home, children should be provided with access
to continued schooling of a consistent level and quality.

197. When international agencies and partners operate programmes for refugees
in remote locations, there is a danger that the education standards will be
higher for the refugees than for the local population.  Clearly, local
children should also be educated to at least a similar standard.  This
requires greater collaboration among international agencies, NGOs and host

198. When refugee children attend local schools, they may need special
programmes to help them fill knowledge gaps and learn the language.  Even when
language is not a barrier, children may still suffer harassment,
discrimination or bullying unless school staff take preventive measures.

199. Even when educational opportunities exist, parents may be reluctant to
send their children to school during armed conflicts.  Some need their
children to work to contribute to the family economy; others are worried about
what their children will learn.  During the conflict between the Muslim and
Croat factions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for example, refugee parents were
worried about the content of education, particularly in subjects like history,
geography and literature.  Some parents have religious objections to girls and
boys attending school together after a certain age.  The recent decision of
the Taliban in Afghanistan to curtail girls' access to education in the areas
under their control has been of particular concern for United Nations
specialized agencies and NGOs.  The expert commends the difficult decisions
taken by NGOs and agencies such as UNICEF to stop working in the affected
areas until there is the possibility of equality of opportunity between girls
and boys, and of implementing the agreed principles of the Convention on the
Rights of the Child and the World Declaration on Education for All and
Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs adopted at Jomtien,
Thailand, in 1990.

200. The expert supports the call from the 1996 Inter-Agency Consultation on
Education for Humanitarian Assistance and Refugees that post-conflict
educational planning be initiated during emergencies with local, national and
regional educational and resource actors, including the World Bank and others
who are currently only involved in reconstruction efforts.  Education has a
vital role to play in rehabilitation, yet is rarely considered a priority in
relief programmes.  Educational initiatives developed for conflict situations
should therefore be designed to allow for easy integration in the
post-conflict period.

201. Many Governments and specialized agencies have given easy priority to
the physical reconstruction of schools, but rather less attention to teacher
training and the development of new curricula and teaching methods.  Even
where the critical political will to invest in education has been present,
education systems often suffer from a persistent shortage of funds.

202. Countries that host refugees often lack resources; most host Governments
in Africa have yet to achieve universal primary education for their own
populations.  Investment in education requires political commitment from
Governments.  The declaration of the 1990 World Conference on Education for
All noted that many developing countries spent more on average on the military
than on education and health combined.  If countries continue to employ four
times as many soldiers as teachers, education and social systems will remain
fragile and inadequate and Governments will continue to fail children and
break the promises made to them through ratification of the Convention on the
Rights of the Child.  At the World Conference on Education for All, UNESCO,
UNICEF, UNDP and the World Bank, called on Governments to adapt their spending
priorities so as to achieve basic education for 80 per cent of the world's
children by the year 2000, and equality of educational opportunity for girls
and boys.  The expert fully supports this call and, further, wishes to
encourage those bodies to reorder their own spending priorities, operational
policies and partnerships to help ensure that the right to education is
fulfilled for children caught up in situations of armed conflict.

3.  Specific recommendations on education

203. The expert submits the following recommendations on education:

     (a) All possible efforts should be made to maintain education systems
during conflicts.  The international community must insist that Government or
non-state entities involved in conflicts do not target educational facilities,
and indeed promote active protection of such services;

     (b) Preparations should also be made for sustaining education outside of
formal school buildings, using other community facilities and strengthening
alternative education through a variety of community channels;

     (c) Donors should extend the boundaries of emergency funding to include
support for education.  The establishment of educational activity, including
the provision of teaching aids and basic educational materials, should be
accepted as a priority component of humanitarian assistance;

     (d) As soon as camps are established for refugees or internally
displaced persons, children should be brought together for educational
activities.  Incentives for attendance should also be encouraged through, for
example, measures to promote safety and security.  Special emphasis should be
placed on providing appropriate educational activities for adolescents. 
Besides promoting access to secondary education, the expert urges Governments,
international agencies and NGOs to develop age-appropriate educational
programmes for out of school youth, in order to address their special needs
and reflect their rights to participation;

     (e) Support for the re-establishment and continuity of education must be
a priority strategy for donors and NGOs in conflict and post-conflict
situations.  Training should equip teachers to deal with new requirements. 
These will include recognizing signs of stress in children as well as
imparting vital survival information on issues such as landmines, health and
promoting respect for human rights;

     (f) The expert urges the Committee on the Rights of the Child to issue
strong guidance to States Parties on the interpretation of articles of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child relating to their responsibility to
provide education to children.


204. Through the Convention on the Rights of the Child, now ratified by
nearly all countries, the world has recognized that the rights of children
include the right to have their basic needs met.  It is a basic need of
children to be protected when conflicts threaten and such protection requires
the fulfilment of their rights through the implementation of international
human rights and humanitarian law.

205. States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child are
responsible for all children within their territory without discrimination. 
In accepting the role of the Committee on the Rights of the Child in
monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
States Parties have also recognized that the protection of children is not
just a national issue, but a legitimate concern of the international
community.  This is especially important since many of the most serious
violations of children's rights are taking place in situations of conflict,
such as Liberia and Somalia, where there is currently no functioning national
Government.  National and international strategies to protect children must
empower and build the capacities of women, families and communities to address
the root causes of conflict and strengthen local development.

206. Increased efforts are needed to ensure that relief and protection
measures specifically include child-centred actions.  During the expert's
field visits and regional consultations, she found that many relief
organizations offer assistance without taking into account the broader needs
of children or ensuring effective cooperation.  Moreover, in many cases only
cursory attention was given to developing appropriate emergency responses that
take age and gender into consideration.

207. One of the greatest challenges in providing protection is to ensure safe
access.  Formerly, hospitals and refugee camps were considered miniature safe
havens, but this is no longer the case.  Humanitarian activities from relief
convoys to health clinics have all become targets, imperiling families,
children and those who try to assist them - particularly locally recruited
staff.  Many governmental and non-governmental agencies have been least able
to assist internally displaced children and their families and to help those
who are living in besieged communities.

208. In some conflicts, temporary cessations of hostilities have been
negotiated to permit the delivery of humanitarian relief in the form of
"corridors of peace" and "days of tranquillity".  In El Salvador, Lebanon and
Afghanistan, for example, these agreements were supported by all warring
parties to permit the vaccination of children.  In the case of Operation
Lifeline Sudan, such arrangements were made to deliver relief supplies and
vaccines during relative lulls in the conflict.  The precedents set by these
child-centred agreements are useful models to relate practical protection
measures to the implementation of humanitarian and human rights law.

209. Thus it is that we seek to have protection framed by the standards and
norms embodied in international law, national legislation and local custom and
practice.  Politicians and soldiers have long recognized that they can achieve
many of their objectives if they fight within agreed standards of conduct. 
Considerations and concerns in the area of protection have led to the
development of two main bodies of law, humanitarian law and human rights law,
that form the legal bases that afford children protection in situations of
armed conflict.

210. Many aspects of both bodies of law are relevant to the protection of
children in armed conflict.  The Convention on the Rights of the Child is of
special note, as it is one of the most important bridges linking two bodies of
law whose complementarity is increasingly recognized.  Building on this
complementarity, the international community must achieve the fullest possible
protection of children's rights.  Any purported mitigating circumstances
through which Governments or their opponents seek to justify infringements of
children's rights in times of armed conflict must be seen by the international
community for what they are:  reprehensible and intolerable.  The next section
of this report highlights features of the standards of humanitarian and human
rights law and assesses their adequacy for meeting present needs.

A.  Humanitarian law

211. The international humanitarian law of armed conflict, usually referred
to simply as international humanitarian law 40/ limits the choice of means and
methods of conducting military operations and obliges belligerents to spare
persons who do not, or who no longer, participate in hostilities.  These
standards are reflected in the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and
the two 1977 Protocols Additional to these Conventions.

212. The Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian
Persons in Time of War is one of the main sources of protection for civilian
persons, and thus for children.  It prohibits not only murder, torture or
mutilation of a protected person, but also any other measures of brutality
whether applied by civilian or military agents.  The Fourth Geneva Convention
has been ratified, almost universally, by 186 States.

213. The Geneva Conventions of 1949 have been considered to apply primarily
only to conflicts between States.  However, the Conventions also include
common article 3 which applies also to internal conflicts.  This article
enumerates fundamental rights of all persons not taking an active part in the
hostilities, namely, the right to life, dignity and freedom.  It also protects
them from torture and humiliating treatment, unjust imprisonment or being
taken hostage.

214. In 1977, the Geneva Conventions were supplemented by two additional
Protocols that bring together the two main branches of international
humanitarian law - the branch concerned with protection of vulnerable groups
and the branch regulating the conduct of hostilities.

215. Protocol I requires that the fighting parties distinguish at all times
between combatants and civilians and that the only legal targets of attack
should be military in nature.  Protocol I covers all civilians, but two
articles also offer specific protection to children.  Article 77 stipulates
that children shall be the object of special respect and shall be protected
against any form of indecent assault and that the Parties to the conflict
shall provide them with the care and aid they require, whether because of
their age or for any other reason.  Article 78 deals with the evacuation of
children to another country, saying that this should not take place except for
compelling reasons, and establishing some of the terms under which any
evacuation should take place.

216. Non-international armed conflicts, that is to say, conflicts within
States, are covered by Protocol II.  Protocol II supplements common article 3
and provides that children be provided with the care and aid they require,
including education and family reunion.  However, Protocol II applies only to
a restricted category of internal conflicts:  they must involve conflicts
between the armed forces of a High Contracting Party and dissident armed
forces or other organized armed groups.  According to this criterion, it can
be argued that Protocol II would not apply to the majority of current civil
wars.  The reason is obvious:  few Governments (High Contracting Parties) are
likely to concede that any struggle within their borders amounts to an armed
conflict.  Protocol II does not apply to an internal disturbance or tension, a
riot or isolated acts of violence.  Naturally, for children who are victims of
such struggles, it makes little difference that the violence to which they are
subject does not rise above this minimum threshold.

217. While the Fourth Geneva Convention has been almost universally ratified,
the Protocols have been ratified by far fewer States.  To date, 144 States
have ratified Protocol I, and those absent include a number of significant
military powers; of Gulf War combatants, for example, the United States of
America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, France and
Iraq have yet to ratify Protocol I.  The situation with Protocol II is even
less satisfactory:  only 136 have ratified.

218. In general, humanitarian law represents a compromise between
humanitarian considerations and military necessity.  This gives it the
advantage of being pragmatic.  It acknowledges military necessity yet it also
obliges armed groups to minimize civilian suffering and, in a number of
articles, requires them to protect children.  However, these articles cannot
be considered adequate to ensure the safety and survival of children trapped
in internal conflicts.

B.  Human rights law

219. Human rights law establishes rights that every individual should enjoy
at all times, during both peace and war.  The obligations, which are incumbent
upon every State, are based primarily on the Charter of the United Nations and
are reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (General Assembly
resolution 217 A (III)).

220. In formal legal terms, the primary responsibility for ensuring human
rights rests with States, since they alone can become contracting parties to
the relevant treaties.  It follows that opposition groups, no matter how large
or powerful, cannot be considered directly bound by human rights treaty
provisions.  It is significant, however, that the situation is precisely the
opposite in relation to the application of international humanitarian law to
non-state entities in internal conflicts.  This relative inconsistency between
the bodies of law is further ground for insisting that non-state entities
should, for all practical purposes, be treated as though they are bound by
relevant human rights standards.  Nevertheless, just as the international
community has insisted that all States have a legitimate concern that human
rights be respected by others, so too it is clear that all groups in society,
no matter what their relationship to the State concerned, must respect human
rights.  In relation to non-state entities, the channels for accountability
must be established more clearly.

221. Although human rights law applies both in peacetime and in war, there
are circumstances where the enjoyment of certain rights may be restricted. 
Many human rights treaties make allowance for States to derogate from their
obligations by temporarily suspending the enjoyment of certain rights in time
of war or other public emergency.  However, human rights law singles out
certain rights that can never be subject to derogation.  These include the
right to life; freedom from torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment; freedom from slavery; and the non-retroactivity of penal laws. 
In relation to rights from which derogation is permitted, strict conditions
must be met:  the emergency must threaten the life of the nation (and not
merely the current Government's grip on power); the relevant international
bodies must be notified; any measures taken must be proportionate to the need;
there must be no discrimination; and the measure must be consistent with other
applicable international obligations.  International bodies such as the
Commission on Human Rights, the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on
the Rights of the Child carefully scrutinize the assertion by any Government
that derogation is necessary and justified.

222. Human rights law has a number of specialized treaties which are of
particular relevance to the protection of children in armed conflict.  The
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (General Assembly
resolution 2200 A (XXI)) covers many rights including the right to life and
the right to freedom from slavery, torture and arbitrary arrest.  The
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (General
Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI)) recognizes the right to food, clothing,
housing, health and education.  The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination against Women (General Assembly resolution 34/180) is of
particular note.  In addition, there are treaties that deal with particular
themes or groups of people, covering such issues as genocide, torture,
refugees, and racial discrimination.  In the context of this report, the most
notable specialized treaty is the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

1.  Convention relating to the Status of Refugees

223. As armed conflicts frequently produce large numbers of refugees, refugee
law is of particular relevance.  In its work, UNHCR relies principally on the
Convention relating to the Status of Refugees adopted on 28 July 1951 and its
Protocol of 1967.  These instruments provide basic standards for the
protection of refugees in countries of asylum; most important is the principle
of non-refoulement.  The 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol are
complemented by regional refugee instruments - notably, the Organization of
African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in
Africa of 1969 and the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees of 1984.  States have
primary responsibility to ensure the protection of refugees within their
boundaries.  UNHCR is mandated to provide international protection for
refugees and to find permanent solutions to refugee situations.

224. Many refugees fleeing armed conflict have reason to fear some form of
persecution on ethnic, religious, social or political grounds at the hands of
one or more of the parties to a conflict, but others are fleeing the
indiscriminate effects of conflict and the accompanying disorder, including
the destruction of homes and food stocks that have no specific elements of
persecution.  While the latter victims of conflict require international
protection, including asylum on at least a temporary basis, they may not fit
within the literal terms of the 1951 Convention.  States Parties and UNHCR,
recognizing that such persons are also deserving of international protection
and humanitarian assistance, have adopted a variety of solutions to ensure
that they receive both.  This is most recently exemplified by the regime of
"temporary protection" adopted by States in relation to the conflict in former

225. The standards of the Convention on the Rights of the Child are also of
particular relevance to the refugee child.  Through its guidelines on the
protection and care of refugee children, UNHCR seeks to incorporate the
standards and principles of the Convention into its protection and assistance

2.  Convention on the Rights of the Child

226. The most comprehensive and specific protection for children is provided
by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the General Assembly
in resolution 44/25 in November 1989.  The Convention establishes a legal
framework that greatly extends the previous recognition of children as the
direct holders of rights and acknowledges their distinct legal personality. 
The Convention on the Rights of the Child has, in a very short space of time,
become the most widely ratified of all human rights treaties.  Currently, only
six States have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child:  Cook
Islands, Oman, Somalia, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland and the United
States of America.

227. The Convention recognizes a comprehensive list of rights that apply
during both peacetime and war.  As stressed by the Committee on the Rights on
the Child (A/49/41) these include protection of the family environment;
essential care and assistance; access to health, food and education; the
prohibition of torture, abuse or neglect; the prohibition of the death
penalty; the protection of the child's cultural environment; the right to a
name and nationality; and the need for protection in situations of deprivation
of liberty.  States must also ensure access to, and the provision of,
humanitarian assistance and relief to children during armed conflict.

228. In addition, the Convention on the Rights of the Child contains, in
articles 38 and 39, provisions specifically related to armed conflict.  The
former article is of major significance because it brings together
humanitarian law and human rights law, showing their complementarity.  Its
provisions require that States Parties undertake to respect and to ensure
respect for rules of international humanitarian law applicable to children in
armed conflicts, and paragraph 4 states that:

     "In accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian
     law to protect the civilian population in armed conflicts, States
     Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care
     of children who are affected by an armed conflict."

229. If the Convention on the Rights of the Child were to be fully
implemented during armed conflicts, this would go a long way towards
protecting children.  Children's right to special protection in these
situations has long been recognized.  The Convention on the Rights of the
Child has no general derogation clause and, in light of this, the Committee on
the Rights of the Child stresses that the most positive interpretation be
adopted with a view to ensuring the widest possible respect for children's
rights.  In particular, the Committee has stressed that, in view of the
essential nature of articles 2, 3 and 4, they do not admit any kind of
derogation (A/49/41).

230. As with other human rights treaties, the Convention on the Rights of the
Child can only be formally ratified by States.  Nevertheless, it is well worth
encouraging non-state entities to make a formal commitment to abide fully by
the relevant standards.  Many non-state entities aspire to form governments
and to invoke an existing Government's lack of respect for human rights as a
justification for their opposition.  In order to establish their commitment to
the protection of children, non-state entities should be urged to make a
formal statement accepting and agreeing to implement the standards contained
in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  There are encouraging
precedents here.  In 1995 in Sudan, for example, several combatant groups
became the first non-state entities to commit to abide by the provisions of
the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Significantly, once the
commitments were enacted, the non-state entities immediately put information,
reporting and complaint systems in place.

231. While the Convention on the Rights of the Child offers comprehensive
protection to children, it needs strengthening with respect to the
participation of children in armed conflict.  The Committee on the Rights of
the Child has recognized the importance of raising the minimum age of
recruitment to 18 years, and in 1994 the Commission on Human Rights
established a working group to draft an optional protocol to the Convention to
achieve this.  The scope of the draft text has been significantly broadened to
include articles on non-state entities, on rehabilitation and social
reintegration of child victims of armed conflicts, and on a procedure of
confidential enquiries by the Committee on the Rights of the Child.  Despite
the progress that has been made, there continues to be resistance on the issue
of voluntary recruitment and on distinguishing between direct and indirect
participation.  The argument that the age of recruitment is merely a technical
matter to be decided by individual Governments fails to take into account the
fact that effective protection of children from the impact of armed conflict
requires an unqualified legal and moral commitment which acknowledges that
children have no part in armed conflict.

C.  Implementation of standards and monitoring of violations

 Standards will only be effective, however, if and when they are widely
known, understood, and implemented by policy makers, military and security
forces and professionals dealing with the care of children, including the
staff of United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and humanitarian
organizations.  Standards should also be known and understood by children
themselves, who must be taught about their rights and how to assert them. 
Everyone professionally concerned with the protection of children during armed
conflict should familiarize themselves with both humanitarian and human rights

233. International peacekeepers in particular, must be trained in
humanitarian and human rights law and, particularly, about the fundamental
rights of children.  The Swedish Armed Forces International Centre has
developed a training programme for peacekeeping regiments which includes
components on child rights as well as rules of engagement, international
humanitarian law and ethics.  Child rights components, developed in
collaboration with Ra"dda Barnen, provide an orientation about the impact of
armed conflict on children and situations that peacekeepers are likely to
encounter that would require a humanitarian response.

234. Human rights and humanitarian standards reflect fundamental human values
which exist in all societies.  An aspect of implementation requiring greater
attention is the translation of international instruments into local languages
and their wide dissemination through the media and popular activities such as
expositions and drama.  In Rwanda, Save the Children Fund-US, Haguruka (a
local NGO) and UNICEF supported the development of an official Kinyarwanda
version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  This has been adopted
into Rwandan law and projects are being developed to implement its provisions

235. An effective international system for the protection of children's
rights must be based on the accountability of Governments and other actors. 
This in turn requires prompt, efficient and objective monitoring.  The
international community must attach particular importance to responding
effectively to each and every occasion when those involved in armed conflicts
trample upon children's rights.

236. Within the organs of the United Nations, the principal responsibility
for monitoring humanitarian violations rests, in practice, upon the Commission
on Human Rights.  The Commission can receive information from any source and
take an active role in gathering data.  The latter role is accomplished
through a system of rapporteurs and working groups, whose reports can be an
effective means of publicizing violations and attempting to persuade States to
change their policies.  The reports of each of the rapporteurs and working
groups should reflect the concerns of children in situations of armed

237. Another dimension of monitoring by international bodies relates to the
supervision of treaty obligations.  Each of the principal human rights
treaties has its own monitoring body composed not of formal representatives of
States, but of independent experts.  The various committees and, in
particular, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, should embark upon more
concerted and systematic monitoring and reporting to protect children in
situations of armed conflict.  They should also assist States in translating
their political commitment to children into action, consequently elevating the
priority accorded to this concern.

238. The Geneva Conventions entrust to ICRC, IFRC and their National
Societies the mandate to monitor respect for international humanitarian law. 
ICRC, IFRC and their National Societies report breaches of international
humanitarian law and makes concrete recommendations on how to end breaches and
prevent their recurrence.  As has been noted, international humanitarian law
also recognizes a role for other humanitarian organizations.

239. Where protection of children is concerned, much broader participation in
the monitoring and reporting of abuses is required.  Many of those working for
relief agencies consider that reporting on infractions of either humanitarian
or human rights law is outside their mandate or area of responsibility. 
Others are worried that they will be expelled from the country concerned or
have their operations severely curtailed if they report sensitive information.
But a balance must be struck.  Without reports of such violations, the
international community is deprived of vital information and is unable to
undertake effective monitoring.  Appropriate public or confidential channels
should be established nationally through which to report on matters of grave
concern relating to children.  The High Commissioner for Human Rights,
national institutions and national ombudspersons, international human rights
organizations and professional associations should be actively utilized in
this regard.  The media should also do more to raise awareness of
infringements of children's rights.

D.  Specific recommendations on standards

240. The expert submits the following recommendations on standards:

     (a) The few Governments which have not become Parties to the Convention
on the Rights of the Child should do so immediately;

     (b) All Governments should adopt national legislative measures to ensure
the effective implementation of relevant standards, including the Convention
on the Rights of the Child, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their
Additional Protocols and the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of
Refugees and its Protocol;

     (c) Governments must train and educate the judiciary, police, security
personnel and armed forces, especially those participating in peacekeeping
operations, in humanitarian and human rights law.  This should incorporate the
advice and experience of ICRC and other humanitarian organizations and, in the
process, undertake widespread dissemination;

     (d) Humanitarian organizations should train their staff in human rights
and humanitarian law.  All international bodies working in conflict zones
should establish procedures for prompt, confidential and objective reporting
of violations that come to their attention;

     (e) Humanitarian organizations should assist Governments in educating
children about their rights through the development of curricula and other
relevant methods;

     (f) Humanitarian agencies and organizations should seek to reach signed
agreements with non-state entities, committing them to abide by humanitarian
and human rights laws;

     (g) Civil society should actively disseminate humanitarian and human
rights law and engage in advocacy, reporting and monitoring of infringements
of children's rights;

     (h) Building on existing guidelines, UNICEF should develop more
comprehensive guidelines on the protection and care of children in conflict

     (i) Particularly in the light of articles 38 and 39 of the Convention on
the Rights of the Child, the Committee on the Rights of the Child should be
encouraged to include, in its report to the General Assembly, specific
information on the measures adopted by States Parties to protect children in
situations of armed conflict.


A.  Reconstruction

241. The task of rebuilding war-torn societies is a huge one that must take
place not only at the physical, economic, cultural and political, but also at
the psychosocial level.  Reconstruction must relate to the child, the family,
the community and the country.  Rebuilding need not simply mean returning to
the way things were, but can offer opportunities to leap into the future
rather than follow a slow but steady path of progress.  Programmes designed
during reconstruction can lay foundations for child protection and strengthen
social infrastructures, particularly in relation to health and education. 
Children are rarely mentioned in reconstruction plans or peace agreements, yet
children must be at the centre of rebuilding.

242. Part of putting children at the centre means using youth as a resource. 
Young people must not be seen as problems or victims, but as key contributors
in the planning and implementation of long-term solutions.  Children with
disabilities, children living or working in the streets and children who are
in institutions as a result of conflict should all become essential
participants in post-conflict planning and reconstruction.  In countries
emerging from conflict, agencies such as ILO have a key role to play through
skills and entrepreneurship training programmes that address youth.  The
international community has an important responsibility for sharing technical
skills and knowledge as well as financial resources.

243. The challenges facing communities attempting to rebuild are enormous. 
As a consequence of scorched-earth policies, communities often have little
from which to reconstruct.  In many countries, landmines restrict the use of
roads and agricultural lands.  "Donor pullout" can leave populations
struggling to survive, particularly if humanitarian assistance has been
structured in ways that encourage dependency rather than build family and
community strength and integrity.  For these reasons, the seeds of
reconstruction should be sown even during conflict.  Particularly for
children, emergency aid - investment that secures their physical and emotional
survival - will also be the basis for their long-term development.  In this
sense, emergencies and development should never be arbitrarily or artificially

244. As daunting as reconstruction is the task of restoring family
livelihood.  UNHCR and others have developed a form of reintegration
assistance known as "quick impact projects".  These are simple, small-scale
projects designed to act as bridges between returnees and residents while
bringing immediate, tangible economic and social benefits.  They involve the
beneficiary community in determining priorities and implementation.  One
version of the quick impact projects gives female-headed households special
consideration and provides loans and credits to enable them to form
cooperatives and open small businesses.  Before the conflict, women may have
been less involved than men in economic activity, but armed conflicts can
change this pattern dramatically.  These projects have been particularly
successful in Central America.  However, not all quick impact projects have
managed to involve local communities meaningfully, and some have been
criticised for offering quick fix approaches which fail to benefit the
community in the long term.

245. Such bridging programmes are crucial in providing a more formalized
transition from the emergency phase to the longer-term reconstruction phase. 
In Cambodia, the expert was told that the phasing out of UNHCR has left a gap
in support for many children and families.  Agency staff argue that more
defined programming, using development principles for a transitional
rehabilitation phase would promote the rebuilding of a cohesive, caring social
network supportive of women and children.  The memoranda of understanding
recently agreed between agencies such as UNHCR and UNICEF should be of help in
establishing clearer directives for transition planning between agencies, but
such planning needs to involve a variety of agencies and NGOs.

246. Education for children must be a priority in all reconstruction.  For
refugee children, it is important that their home countries recognize the
schooling they have undertaken in the country of asylum.  To facilitate this
process, students should be provided with appropriate documentation of courses
and qualifications.  The recovery and reintegration of children will affect
the success of the whole society in returning to a more peaceful path.  To
some extent, returning to non-violent daily activities can start the process
of healing and national reconciliation, but communities must also take
positive steps that signal to children the break with the violence of the
past.  In the demilitarization of communities, eroding the cultures of
violence that conflict has engendered must be an important priority.  Women's
groups, religious groups and civil society all play key roles in this area.

B.  Reconciliation

247. Truth commissions, human rights commissions and reconciliation groups
can be important vehicles for community healing.  To date, 16 or more
countries in transition from conflict have organized truth commissions as a
means of establishing moral, legal and political accountability and mechanisms
for recourse.  In South Africa and Guatemala, the commissions are aimed at
preserving the memory of the victims, fostering the observance of human rights
and strengthening the democratic process.  In Argentina, where there was an
assumption that offenders would receive punishment, there have subsequently
been amnesties to the consternation of the human rights community.

248. It is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve reconciliation without
justice.  The expert believes that the international community should develop
more systematic methods for apprehending and punishing individuals guilty of
child rights abuses.  Unless those at every level of political and military
command fear that they will be held accountable for crimes and subject to
prosecution, there is little prospect of restraining their behaviour during
armed conflicts.  Allowing perpetrators to benefit from impunity can only lead
to contempt for the law and to renewed cycles of violence.

249. In the case of the gravest abuses, including but not limited to
genocide, international law can be more appropriate than national action.  In
view of this, the Security Council has established International Tribunals to
punish perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the
former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.  The expert welcomes these tribunals, but is
concerned that they may have neither the resources nor the powers to fulfil
their objectives.  They deserve greater financial support and more determined
political backing.  The expert supports the proposed creation of an
international criminal court, which would have a permanent prosecutor's office
to try cases of genocide and other violations of international law.

250. One of the most disturbing and difficult aspects of children's
participation in armed conflict is that, manipulated by adults, they may
become perpetrators of war crimes including rape, murder and genocide.  As of
June 1996 in Rwanda, 1,741 children were being held in detention in dreadful
conditions.  Of these, approximately 550 were under 15 years, and therefore
beneath the age of criminal responsibility under Rwandan law.  The Government
of Rwanda has transferred responsibility for the cases of young people who
were under the age of 15 at the time of the genocide from the Ministry of
Justice to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.  They were subsequently
released into newly established juvenile or community detention facilities. 
For the estimated 1,191 children who are in detention and deemed criminally
responsible, UNICEF, through the Ministry of Justice, provides legal
assistance for their defence.  It is also advocating special provisions for
the trial of these adolescents.  The dilemma of dealing with children who are
accused of committing acts of genocide illustrates the complexity of balancing
culpability, a community's sense of justice and the "best interests of the

251. The severity of the crime involved, however, provides no justification
to suspend or to abridge the fundamental rights and legal safeguards accorded
to children under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  States Parties
should establish a minimum age below which children are presumed not to have
the capacity to infringe penal law.  While the Convention does not mention a
specific age, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration
of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules) stress that this age shall not be
fixed at too low a level, bearing in mind the child's emotional, mental and
intellectual maturity.  The Committee on the Rights of the Child states that
the assessment of the children's criminal responsibility should not be based
on subjective or imprecise criteria, such as the attainment of puberty, age of
discernment or the child's personality. 41/  Those children who have been
deemed criminally responsible should, as article 40 of the Convention asserts,
be treated with dignity, and have their social reintegration taken into
account.  Children should, inter alia, be given the opportunity to participate
in proceedings affecting them, either directly or through a representative or
an appropriate body, benefit from legal counselling and enjoy due process of
law.  Deprivation of liberty should never be unlawful or arbitrary and should
only be used as a measure of last resort.  In all instances, alternatives to
institutional care should be sought.

252. The prime responsibility for consistent monitoring and prosecution of
violations rests with the national authorities of the State in which the
violations occurred.  Whether justice is pursued after the conflict depends
largely on the prevailing social and political environment.  Even when there
is a willingness to prosecute offenders, the country may not have the capacity
to do so adequately, since the system of justice itself may have been largely
destroyed.  Following the conflict in Rwanda, for example, only 20 per cent of
the judiciary survived, and courts lacked the most basic resources. 42/  At
the Fourth Regional Consultation on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children
in Asia and the Pacific it was proposed that the reconstruction of legal
systems must be viewed as an urgent task of rebuilding and that substantial
international assistance may be required.


            "Children are dropping out of childhood.  We must envision
             a society free of conflict where children can grow up as
                      children, not weapons of war." 43/

253. Much of the present report has focused on methods by which children can
be protected from the worst impacts of armed conflict.  However well such
measures are implemented, clearly the most effective way to protect children
is to prevent the outbreak of armed conflicts.  The international community
must shatter the political inertia that allows circumstances to escalate into
armed conflict and destroy children's lives.  This means addressing the root
causes of violence and promoting sustainable and equitable patterns of human
development.  All people need to feel that they have a fair share in
decision-making, equal access to resources, the ability to participate fully
in civil and political society and the freedom to affirm their own identities
and fully express their aspirations.  Such ideas have been eloquently
expressed, with analytic power that cannot be attempted here, in such texts as
The Challenge to the South:  The  Report of the South Commission and the
report of the Commission on Global Governance entitled "Our Global

254. Preventing conflicts from escalating is a clear responsibility of
national Governments and the international community, but there is also an
important role for civil society.  Religious, community and traditional
leaders have often been successful at conflict management and prevention, as
have scholars and NGOs involved in mediation and capacity building.  Women's
organizations, too, have been very influential, promoting the presence of
women at the negotiating table, where they can act as their own advocates and
agents for peace.  One example is African Women in Crisis, a UNIFEM programme
working to strengthen the capacity of women's peace movements throughout
Africa.  The statement of the Third Regional Consultation on the Impact of
Armed Conflict on Children in West and Central Africa recommends that peace
missions, reconciliation forums and all peace-building efforts should
incorporate women as key members of negotiating teams.  The expert agrees.

A.  Education for peace

255. All sectors of society must come together to build "ethical frameworks",
integrating traditional values of cooperation through religious and community
leaders with international legal standards.  Some of the groundwork for the
building of "ethical frameworks" can be laid in schools.  Both the content and
the process of education should promote peace, social justice, respect for
human rights and the acceptance of responsibility.  Children need to learn
skills of negotiation, problem solving, critical thinking and communication
that will enable them to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence.  To
achieve this, a number of countries have undertaken peace education
programmes.  In Lebanon, the expert visited the education for peace programme,
jointly undertaken in 1989 by the Lebanese Government, NGOs, youth volunteers
and UNICEF and now benefiting thousands of children nationally.  In Liberia,
the student palaver conflict management programme employs adolescents as
resources in peer conflict resolution and mediation activities in schools.  In
Northern Ireland, the expert was informed about initiatives aimed at the
universal inclusion of peace education elements in school curricula. 
Similarly in Sri Lanka, an education for conflict resolution programme has
been integrated into primary and secondary school education.  An innovative
element is the programme's use of various public media to reach to
out-of-school children and other sectors of the community.  While such
initiatives are not always successful, they are indispensable to the eventual
rehabilitation of a shattered society.

256. The statement of the Second Regional Consultation on the Impact of Armed
Conflict in the Arab Region called for a comprehensive review of the content,
process and structure of peace education programmes (sometimes called "global
education" or "education for development" programmes).  The review was to
include an assessment of best practice and coordination, the promotion of
effective evaluation techniques and an exploration of stronger methods of
involving and responding to local needs, aspirations and experiences.  The
consultation also emphasized the importance of integrating peace education
principles, values and skills into the education of every child.

257. Adults are just as much in need of conflict management skills and human
rights education as children and youth.  Here, the most difficult challenge is
to achieve tolerance not just between individuals, but also between groups. 
The media can play an important role by helping readers and viewers to enjoy
diversity and by promoting the understanding that is needed for peaceful
co-existence and the respect that is required for the enjoyment of human
rights.  The media's role as mediator has been explored in South Africa, where
some journalists have been trained to use their access to both sides of
conflict in order to help bring about national consensus on divisive issues.

258. Current levels of animosity in the former Yugoslavia, which had a
long-running peace education programme, illustrates that programmes promoting
respect for human rights and teaching conflict management skills are not
enough on their own.  Also essential are clear and strong mechanisms for
reconciliation, the protection of minorities and access to social justice. 
Governments can specifically outlaw the kinds of discrimination that breed
resentment.  The persistent violation of the rights of minority and indigenous
groups has helped generate the conditions that lead to armed conflict.

B.  Demilitarization

259. In addition to pursuing equitable patterns of development, Governments
can lower the risk of armed conflict by reducing levels of militarization and
by honouring the commitments made at the World Summit for Social Development
to support the concept of human security.  Towards that end, Governments must
take firm action to shift the allocation of resources from arms and military
expenditures to human and social development.  Sub-Saharan Africa, for
example, is heavily militarized:  between 1960 and 1994, the proportion of the
region's gross domestic product (GDP) devoted to military spending rose from
0.7 per cent to 2.9 per cent.  The region's military expenditure is now around
$8 billion, despite the fact that 216 million people live in poverty.  South
Asia is another region that spends heavily on arms.  In 1994, it spent
$14 billion on the military although 562 million South Asians live in absolute
poverty. 44/  Governments worldwide should take uncompromising steps to
demilitarize their societies by strictly limiting and controlling access to

260. At the international level, Governments must exercise the political will
to control the transfer of arms to conflict zones, particularly where there is
evidence of gross violation of children's rights.  The United Nations must
adopt a much firmer position on the arms trade, including a total ban on arms
shipments to areas of conflict and determined efforts to eliminate the use,
production, trade and stockpiling of anti-personnel landmines.  The United
Nations Register of Conventional Arms should be expanded to include more types
of weapons and mandatory reporting should be required.

261. Donors and development agencies should give priority to programmes that
include conflict prevention components designed to help manage diversity and
reduce economic disparities within countries.  Economic development in itself
will not resolve conflicts.  However, unless the reduction of economic
disparities becomes an essential ingredient in all programmes, human
development will be constantly thwarted by violent conflict.  Donors should
make stronger efforts to ensure that a greater percentage of their funding is
aimed directly at social infrastructures and programmes for children.

262. In a report on strengthening of the coordination of emergency
humanitarian assistance (A/50/203-E/1995/79), the United Nations
Secretary-General estimated that spending on refugees doubled between 1990
and 1992, that the cost of peace operations increased 5-fold in the same
period and 10-fold in 1994 and that spending on humanitarian programmes
tripled from $845 million to $3 billion between 1989 and 1994.  Significantly,
official development assistance (ODA) figures for 1994 were at their lowest
point for the past 20 years amongst the world's richer countries - just
0.3 per cent of combined gross national product (GNP), rather than the
0.7 per cent agreed by the Development Assistance Committee of the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and endorsed by
the General Assembly.  Decreasing levels of aid and increasing costs of
emergencies have a negative impact on aid for long term development, despite
growing awareness that longer term development may be one of the more
effective methods of preventing conflicts and rebuilding communities.

C.  Early warning

263. Improvements in early warning systems and stand-by capacity are
necessary to reduce the dangers of armed conflict for children.  On numerous
field visits, it was stressed to the expert that, although massive
displacement and threats to children had been anticipated in a region, they
had not been sufficiently taken up by the international community.  Recent
efforts of the international humanitarian community to establish improved
early warning systems and contingency planning have included NGOs and local
institutions.  Noting the rare inclusion of child-specific expertise in
stand-by arrangements, the expert recommends the full consideration of
children's rights and needs in the development of early warning systems and
contingency planning.  The media can alert the international community to
child rights violations, but early warning must be linked to early action to
be of any use.  The escalation of conflict in the Great Lakes region of Africa
is a clear example of the failure to link early warning with preventive
measures and early action.

264. The burden and consequences of armed conflict usually have transborder
impacts, diverting energy and resources from all countries in the region and
leading to increased impoverishment.  Civil society and international NGOs can
mitigate these impacts by providing their own early warning, advocating
international and local human rights standards, promoting community-level
peace- building and offering mediators.  Action can also come from regional
organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the League of
Arab States, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), OECD and the European
Union (EU), as well as those assembled for particular projects, such as the
former Contadora Group, which was related to the central American peace
process, and the Economic Community of West African States Military Observer
Group (ECOMOG), related to peacekeeping in Liberia.  The capacity of regional
bodies, which differ greatly in their experience and resources, should not be
overstated, but they can engender frank and open discussion among neighbouring
governments.  Regional organizations, NGOs and other actors have a number of
preventive diplomacy instruments open to them, including grass roots
dialogues, mediation, human rights missions, peacekeeping and peace-building.

265. In the long run, conflict prevention is everyone's responsibility.  It
requires action at local, national and international levels to remove both the
underlying causes of conflict and the immediate provocations for violence. 
Ultimately, the failure to achieve comprehensive peace-building, the failure
to settle disputes peacefully and the failure to prevent child rights
violations each represent a collapse of moral and political will.


266. To keep these issues very high on the international human rights, peace,
security and development agendas, the expert believes that it is essential to
ensure a follow-up to the present report.  She recommends the establishment of
a special representative of the Secretary-General on children and armed

267. The special representative would act as a standing observer, assessing
progress achieved and difficulties encountered in the implementation of the
recommendations presented by the present study.  The representative would
raise awareness about the plight of children affected by armed conflict and
promote information collection, research, analysis and dissemination at the
global, regional and national levels.  The representative would encourage the
development of networking to exchange experiences and facilitate the adoption
of measures intended to improve the situation of children and reinforce action
undertaken to such a purpose and would also foster international cooperation
to ensure respect for children's rights in these situations, contribute to the
coordination of efforts by Governments, United Nations bodies, specialized
agencies, and other competent bodies, including NGOs, regional organizations,
relevant special rapporteurs and working groups, as well as United Nations
field operations.

268. The special representative would prepare an annual report to be
submitted to the General Assembly as well as to the Commission on Human
Rights.  The report would contain information received from all relevant
sources, including Governments, United Nations bodies, specialized agencies,
NGOs and other competent bodies, on progress achieved as well as on any other
steps adopted to strengthen the protection of children in situations of armed

269. The special representative would work closely with the Committee on the
Rights of the Child, relevant United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and
other competent bodies, including NGOs.  The representative would also
maintain close contact with Department of Humanitarian Affairs and members of
the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, and would make use of the mechanisms
established by the Administrative Committee on Coordination for inter-agency
follow-up to recent global conferences.  The representative would be supported
in her/his work, including financial support, by the United Nations system
and, in particular, by the High Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for Human
Rights, UNICEF and UNHCR.

A.  Follow-up action for Governments

270. Governments bear the primary responsibility for protecting children from
the impact of armed conflict, and indeed, for preventing conflicts from
occurring.  While this report provides testimony of the efforts of
Governments, United Nations bodies and civil society to protect children from
the atrocities of war, it is ultimately a testimony of their collective
failure to do so.  Governments have clearly failed to harness the necessary
financial and human resources or to demonstrate the compassion, the commitment
and the tenacity required to fulfil their moral, political and social
obligations to children.  The following recommendations are addressed to all
Governments.  Improvement in the situation of children affected by armed
conflicts requires improved international cooperation, political commitment
and action not only on the part of Governments within whose borders conflict
exists, but also on the part of those Governments whose citizens are
indirectly responsible for inciting or protracting conflicts for economic or
political gain.

271. All States Parties are encouraged to implement the Convention on the
Rights of the Child in times of peace and conflict, inter alia, through
legislative, administrative, budgetary, judicial, educational and social
measures.  In addition, States Parties should engage in international
cooperation through bilateral and multilateral actions and by providing and
facilitating humanitarian assistance and relief programmes during conflict

272. Governments that have not yet ratified the Convention on the Rights of
the Child should do so.  All States should support the adoption of the
proposed draft optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child
on involvement of children in armed conflicts, and adhere to it as soon as
possible.  In addition, they should support the international ban on landmines
and other weapons deemed to have indiscriminate effects.  Governments should
also ratify and implement other relevant instruments, such as the Geneva
Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols; the 1951 Convention and the
1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees; the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and other specific
regional undertakings that address children's rights.

273. Governments must give priority to preventive measures by ensuring
balanced economic, social and human development through capacity building, the
promotion of a child-centred culture and the equitable reallocation of
resources, including land.  States must enact measures to eliminate
discrimination, particularly against children, women, indigenous and minority
populations, and must carry out their responsibilities to ensure protection
for refugee and internally displaced children.

274. Governments should recognize that economic and social disparities,
neglect and patterns of discrimination contribute to armed conflict, and
should consequently review their national budgets with a view to reducing
military expenditure and redirecting those resources to economic and social
development.  Child development and child rights indicators should form the
basis for national strategies for children which assess progress and indicate
policy and programme reforms.  Governments should also ensure that, on matters
affecting the child, children's views are taken into account.

275. Governments must create enabling environments within which civil society
can work on issues related to armed conflict and child rights.  Governments
should actively encourage and support coalitions that represent the views of
parliamentarians, the judiciary, religious communities, educators, the media,
professional associations, the private sector, NGOs and children themselves. 
Such coalitions will facilitate service delivery, social mobilization and
advocacy for children affected by armed conflicts.  The establishment of
national ombudspersons, national human rights commissions, international
courts and other institutions should be explored.  So should long-term
measures designed to ensure respect for children's rights.

276. Immediately following conflicts and during periods of transition,
Governments must ensure that health, education and psychosocial support are
central to reconstruction efforts.  Demilitarization, the demobilization of
all armed groups, de-mining, mine awareness and the control of the flow of
arms within and outside of national borders must become immediate priorities. 
To achieve justice and reconciliation, it is essential for Governments to
engage in national-level dialogues with the military, to strengthen their
judicial systems, to carry out human rights monitoring and to establish
investigative mechanisms, tribunals and truth commissions that consider
violations of children's rights.

277. Multilateral, bilateral and private funding sources should be committed
to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child as part of
the process of development and post-conflict reconstruction.  In the light of
article 4 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, States Parties should
commit themselves, with regard to economic, social and cultural rights, to the
maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the
framework of international cooperation.  This means that those countries with
greater resources have an obligation to support the implementation of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child in those countries with fewer resources.

278. States should use the collective authority of their intergovernmental
(such as the Commonwealth secretariat), regional and subregional bodies to
support region-wide initiatives for conflict prevention, management and

B.  Regional and subregional arrangements

279. Regional organizations, such as OAU, OAS, EU and the Asia-Pacific
Regional Cooperation Framework (APEC), economic commissions, development banks
and subregional organizations, such as the Association of South-East Asian
Nations (ASEAN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the
Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD), should be
encouraged to work with national organizations and Government entities to
formulate plans of action to protect children.  The work should be undertaken
within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other
relevant international and regional treaties, declarations and guidelines that
emphasize children's rights.  These include the African Charter on the Rights
and Welfare of the Child, the European Convention on Human Rights and the
Santiago declaration.

280. In seeking to promote peace and stability within regions, regional and
subregional organizations are encouraged to share information and develop
common preparedness measures, early warning systems and rapid-reaction
responses that use child rights indicators and are sensitive to children's
needs.  The organizations should convene meetings with the military and its
chiefs of staff to develop systems of accountability and measures to protect
children and civilians in conflict situations.  Such measures may include, for
example, human rights training and monitoring, the creation of regional
mine-free zones, "days of tranquillity", "corridors of peace" and the
demobilization of child soldiers.

C.  Responsibilities of the United Nations

281. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference
on Human Rights (A/CONF.157/24 (Part I) chap. III) recommended that matters
relating to children's rights be regularly reviewed and monitored by all
relevant organs and mechanisms of the United Nations system and by the
supervisory bodies of the specialized agencies, in accordance with their
mandates.  The protection of children must be central to the humanitarian,
peacemaking and peacekeeping policies of the United Nations, and should be
given priority within existing human rights and humanitarian procedures.

282. Humanitarian concerns are increasingly an important component of the
Security Council's international peace and security agenda.  In recent years,
the Council has authorized United Nations operations which support political,
military and humanitarian objectives. 45/  Consistent with this trend, the
Council should therefore be kept continually and fully aware of humanitarian
concerns, including child specific concerns, in its actions to resolve
conflicts, to keep or to enforce peace or to implement peace agreements.  When
taking up issues such as demobilization, the Council should bear in mind the
very special situation of child soldiers.  Where appropriate, the protection
of children should be considered in comprehensive resolutions which set out
peacekeeping and demobilization mandates reflecting considerations such as
monitoring adherence to human rights, the establishment and maintenance of
safe areas and humanitarian access.  With regard to the issue of landmines,
the Security Council is encouraged to consider their particular threat to
children.  In circumstances where a lack of political stability and peace
hinder the provision of humanitarian assistance, the expert urges the Security
Council to take up requests for the provision of such assistance to children
and other vulnerable groups.

283. The Economic and Social Council requested, in its resolution 1995/56 of
28 July 1995, that certain issues pertaining to humanitarian assistance be
reviewed in anticipation of a more general analysis of institutional needs. 
Many of these issues, such as resource mobilization, internally displaced
persons, coordination, relief, rehabilitation, development and local coping
mechanisms, relate to the situation of children affected by conflict
situations.  Working groups in these areas should ensure that the particular
needs of children are included in recommendations presented to the Economic
and Social Council and that this subject should become one of the main themes
for discussion.

284. Within their respective mandates, the executive boards of relevant
United Nations specialized agencies and other competent bodies should consider
the recommendations contained in this report and inform the Secretary-General
of the ways and means that they can contribute more effectively to the
protection of children in armed conflict.  Particular emphasis should be
placed on systematically addressing these concerns in field activities,
monitoring and reporting, the development of preventive measures and
post-conflict recovery.  The Department of Humanitarian Affairs, UNICEF,
UNHCR, UNDP, WHO, FAO, WFP, UNFPA, UNIFEM, the High Commissioner for Human
Rights/Centre for Human Rights and other United Nations bodies must treat
children affected by armed conflicts as a distinct and priority concern.  Such
treatment should result in the establishment of the mechanisms necessary for
reporting on violations of children's rights.

1.  The United Nations human rights system

285. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference
on Human Rights recommended that matters relating to human rights and the
situation of children be regularly reviewed and monitored by all relevant
organs and mechanisms of the United Nations system and by the supervisory
bodies of the specialized agencies, in accordance with their mandates. 
Children's rights must become distinct and priority concerns within all United
Nations human rights and humanitarian monitoring and reporting activities. 
Within the framework of their mandates, all special rapporteurs and working
groups for countries or themes should consider the situation of children
affected by armed conflict and should suggest measures to prevent children's
involvement in conflicts and to promote the physical and psychological
recovery and social reintegration of those who are affected.  The legal
framework to increase the protection provided for internally displaced persons
that is being developed by the Representative of the Secretary-General on
Internally Displaced Persons should be supported and endorsed by the
Commission on Human Rights and the General Assembly as a matter of priority.

High Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for Human Rights

286. The General Assembly, in resolution 48/141, recognized the
responsibility of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the coordination
of the human rights promotion and protection activities throughout the United
Nations system.  In addition, the World Conference on Human Rights considered
that the Centre for Human Rights should play an important role in coordinating
system-wide attention to human rights.  The High Commissioner for Human
Rights/Centre for Human Rights are encouraged to consider children's rights in
conflict situations by institutionalizing cooperation in agreements with
UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDP, and UN Volunteers.  The Centre must be given the
necessary resources and qualified staff to carry out these functions in a way
which does not compromise the mandate which it has been given to fulfil.  The
priority of children's rights within human rights field operations in conflict
areas should be ensured through the training of human rights officers and
peacekeepers, and attention to these concerns should be given when defining
relevant mandates and manuals of field operations.

International treaties and their monitoring systems

287. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Human Rights Committee,
the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Committee Against
Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women should consider
the situation of children affected by armed conflicts when reviewing States
Parties reports and when requesting information from States Parties.  The
meeting of chairpersons of the monitoring treaty bodies should periodically
assess the progress achieved in the protection of children in situations of
armed conflict, as well as any additional measures required to improve the
level of implementation of their fundamental rights.  More specifically, the
Committee on the Rights of the Child should:

     (a) Continue to monitor the measures adopted by States Parties to ensure
compliance with the principles and provisions of the Convention on the Rights
of the Child, giving particular consideration to steps undertaken to promote
respect for children's rights and to prevent the negative effects of conflicts
on children, as well as to any violation of children's rights committed in
times of war;

     (b) Assess, in the light of article 41 of the Convention, the measures
adopted by States Parties which are even more conducive to the realization of
children's rights than those prescribed by the Convention;

     (c) Include, in its reports to the General Assembly, specific
information on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
of relevance to the protection of children's rights in times of armed

     (d) In the light of article 45 of the Convention, strengthen its role as
a focal point for children's rights, thus ensuring a multidisciplinary and
holistic approach to the United Nations system-wide action.  It should also
encourage and foster international cooperation, particularly with United
Nations bodies, specialized agencies and other competent bodies, including
NGOs, to improve the situation of children affected by armed conflicts, to
ensure the protection of their fundamental rights and to prevent their
violation, whenever necessary, through the effective application of relief
programmes and humanitarian assistance.

2.  Institutional arrangements

288. In armed conflicts, everyone concerned with children must practice a
consistent set of principles, standards and guidelines.  All United Nations
field personnel should follow principles similar to those proposed in the
operational guidelines for the protection of humanitarian mandates.  This
should include the situation of conflict-affected children, the human rights
of children, and violations of their rights.  For these purposes agencies
should ensure access to relevant training.  Recognizing the crucial role that
women play in situations of armed conflict, and the ways in which women and
children are rendered vulnerable in situations of armed conflict, humanitarian
assistance should be gender and age specific.  This should apply to needs
assessments, as well as to preparedness and post-conflict reconstruction

289. United Nations field personnel and the staff of humanitarian relief
organizations must treat children in armed conflict as a distinct and priority
concern.  This principle applies to staff in all sectors -  military,
political, humanitarian, human rights, electoral and administrative - and in
all their monitoring and reporting activities.  In the light of article 45 of
the Convention on the Rights of the Child and of the Vienna Declaration and
Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights, all such
sectors should establish mechanisms to assess and to report on the
implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their

290. Governments bear the primary responsibility for protecting children in
situations of armed conflict and in preventing those conflicts from taking
place.  The present report documents the magnitude of the task and the need
for civil society and United Nations bodies and the specialized agencies to
support these efforts.  Through her work, the expert has come to believe that
the singular capacity of a number of United Nations and specialized agencies
bodies provides significant hope for the protection and care of children
affected by armed conflicts.  Indeed, the expert came to believe that their
contributions posited one of the strongest hopes for the future.  In both the
short and long-term, the principle aim of these contributions must be to
strengthen the capacity of Governments to fulfil their obligations to
children, even in the most difficult circumstances.  The present report
describes many of the excellent initiatives on the part of United Nations
bodies and specialized agencies while at the same time acknowledging that many
of the United Nations bodies and specialized agencies themselves are far from
satisfied with their results overall.  With this in mind, the expert has
chosen to be particularly forthright in making recommendations about future
activities and priority actions.  The following recommendations are addressed
to related United Nations bodies, programmes and funds, specialized agencies
and other autonomous bodies and the Bretton Woods Institutions.

Department of Humanitarian Affairs

291. The rapid response, assessment, policy planning, training and evaluation
activities of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs should ensure a child and
gender focus.  This will require the development of new indicators to be used
in information gathering and in training and evaluation programmes.  The
Department's mine-awareness and rehabilitation activities should emphasize
age- and gender-appropriate design and delivery.  On behalf of UNICEF, UNHCR
and other relevant bodies, the Department should request the Department of
Political Affairs and Department of Peacekeeping Operations of the Secretariat
to identify ways in which military and civilian defence assets (logistics,
supplies, equipment and specialist personnel) can offer better protection for
children.  Through the framework for coordination established by the
Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Political Affairs and
the Department of Humanitarian Affairs and in collaboration with the High
Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for Human Rights, guidelines,
accountability mechanisms and systematic training in humanitarian and human
rights instruments for peacekeepers should be developed with an emphasis on
child rights.  As Chair of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee's Task Force on
Internally Displaced Persons, the Department of Humanitarian Affairs should
ensure the development of an appropriate institutional framework to address
the special needs of internally displaced children.

United Nations Children's Fund

292. UNICEF's anti-war agenda is a reflection of the agency's commitment to
reaching children affected by conflict and the recently approved policy on
child protection is an important step in giving greater impact to the agenda. 
Within this framework UNICEF needs to accelerate development of policy and
programme guidelines specifically designed for the protection of children in
situations of armed conflict, with special attention given to measures for the
recovery and development of those children who are displaced or separated from
their families, who are living with disabilities, who have been sexually
exploited or unlawfully imprisoned or conscripted to armed groups.  UNICEF
should also accelerate the development of programming for adolescents,
including opportunities for their participation in programme design,
implementation and evaluation and reflecting the importance of education,
sport and recreation in adolescent recovery and development.  UNICEF should
ensure that all these concerns are incorporated into inter-agency consolidated
appeals.  In addition, the agency should establish channels through which its
personnel can report on violations of children's rights.  In collaboration
with other specialized agencies and NGOs, UNICEF should develop a set of
indicators based on child rights that will guide assessment and country
programming.  In cooperation with the Department of Humanitarian Affairs and
with major humanitarian organizations, UNICEF should provide leadership for
the protection and care of internally displaced children.  UNICEF should pay
special attention to the situation of women and girls affected by armed
conflict, ensuring a gender-sensitive approach to emergency assessments,
programme planning, design and implementation - and offer appropriate training
in this and other child rights areas for field and headquarters staff.  UNICEF
should ensure that peacemaking and peacekeeping actions take into account the
needs of children - through the Department of Humanitarian Affairs/Department
of Political Affairs/Department of Peacekeeping Operations framework for
coordination and by monitoring Security Council meetings.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

293. Relying on strong policy guidelines, particularly the Guidelines on the
Protection and Care of Refugee Children, UNHCR needs to ensure that gender and
age related principles and standards are consistently implemented in all
country programmes and agreements with implementing partners.  This will
require further development of its response capacity and training programmes
for staff and implementing partners.  Recognizing that UNHCR is often first to
respond to emergencies, it is essential that it deploys qualified staff in the
initial emergency phase to ensure that assessments and programme responses are
gender and age appropriate.  Among other matters, this would entail the
systematic inclusion of issues relating to sexual violence in health and
psychosocial programmes, and practical prevention measures identified for camp
design, security and distribution processes.  UNHCR should ensure a
psychosocial focus from the outset of an emergency, taking into account local
community and social networks.  Building upon its experience with returnees,
local capacity building and institution strengthening, UNHCR should ensure
that the protection and assistance needs of women and children, in particular,
custody, property and inheritance issues for female- and child-headed
households, are fully addressed in repatriation and reintegration programmes. 

World Health Organization

294. At all stages of conflict, WHO should promote emergency preparedness and
responses in relation to child health and development.  The organization
should design indicators and instruments which would enable other
organizations and specialized agencies to rapidly assess, plan and implement
essential and priority child health activities, involving affected
communities.  WHO should produce materials for children of differing ages and
stages of development in situations of armed conflict.  Reflecting WHO's
definition of health as encompassing physical, mental and social well being,
the organization should increase its collaboration with UNICEF, UNHCR, the
World Bank and UNDP in multi-sectoral programming for children and in
strengthening public health infrastructures in the reconstruction of
conflict-affected countries.  This would include provision of substantial
technical support through technical guidelines and planned work on child
health, plus technical support and training materials to assist countries and
NGOs in the prevention and management of health issues related to violence
against women and girls during armed conflict.  These issues should be
reflected in WHO's humanitarian and consolidated emergency appeals. 
Inter-agency collaboration in a critical appraisal of best practice in
conflict situations could lay the foundation for improved programming for
children and adolescents.  WHO should provide reproductive health expertise in
emergency responses and develop the inclusion of gender and women's
perspectives into health policies and programmes.  WHO should take a lead role
in training for all health workers in children's human rights.  At the same
time it should establish and promote appropriate child rights monitoring and
reporting mechanisms for health professionals.  While these are not new ideas
or policies, WHO is encouraged to give priority to their implementation.

United Nations Development Programme

295. UNDP is encouraged to give greater priority to the special needs of
children and women in special development situations.  UNDP's efforts to
reduce regional, political, economic and social disparities through country
programmes should emphasize a preventative approach through, for example,
measures to prevent discrimination against women, minorities and indigenous
communities.  Within the resident coordinator system, UNDP has a
responsibility to ensure that children are central to the overall programme
framework for national and international action.  UNDP should consider the
restoration of health, education and judicial services, as well as economic
and national institutions, to be essential elements of post conflict recovery.

UNDP's support for the role of women in rebuilding institutions and improving
governance should be strengthened, as should its support for the work of
UNIFEM in these areas.  Throughout its multi-sectoral country and regional
programmes, UNDP should integrate measures designed to prevent conflict,
namely, through the strengthening of civil society.

World Food Programme

296. Food aid can be a powerful instrument in the rehabilitation process, not
only as a practical matter in providing a nutritional supplement, but also as
a resource to be used in recovery.  WFP should encourage community
participation in the design and delivery of food aid and, in particular,
ensure that in refugee and internally displaced persons camps women are the
initial point of control for distribution systems.  WFP should collaborate
with other United Nations specialized agencies and with NGOs in combining food
aid with programmes designed to strengthen family unity, integrity and coping
mechanisms.  Food aid programmes such as "food for guns" should be linked to
health, education and other development activities in recovery and
reintegration, particularly for adolescents and former child combatants.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

297. Given the importance of FAO's work in early warning systems and food
security assessments and analysis, the organization should, during armed
conflicts, incorporate data and information that identify the particular
vulnerabilities of children.  FAO should provide technical expertise and
advice in the design of programmes, such as food security programmes that
disproportionately benefit children, and projects for demobilized child
soldiers that offer alternative livelihoods and promote social integration. 
Having identified a growing number of child-headed households through its work
with rural farmers, FAO should develop, implement and share guidelines on
appropriate support with other specialized agencies.  FAO should work with
WFP, UNICEF, UNHCR and WHO, among others, to strengthen the capacity of
families to care for their children, and to ensure that these programmes are
linked to development activities in the areas of agriculture, fisheries and

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

298. Education has a crucial preventive and rehabilitative part to play in
fulfilling the needs and rights of children, particularly those in conflict
and post-conflict situations.  UNESCO's expertise in educational curricula
development and teacher training should be utilized in support of educational
programmes run by operational agencies in all phases of conflict, but
especially during emergency situations and in the critical period of
rehabilitation and reconstruction.  UNESCO is encouraged to collaborate with
ILO, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDP and relevant specialized agencies, as well as with
international and national NGOs, in the more rapid development of appropriate
activities and programming for adolescents, particularly former child
combatants.  Such activities could include the development of communication,
sports and recreation as opportunities to develop life-skills and promote
health.  In collaboration with the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, UNICEF
and involved NGOs, UNESCO should produce and promote mine-awareness materials
through a technical meeting to identify best practices and evaluate
mine-awareness programmes for children.  UNESCO should also assist other
United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, NGOs and educational systems
in peace education, identifying best practice, developing strong evaluation
mechanisms, assessing programmes and better coordinating principles and

United Nations Development Fund for Women

299. UNIFEM should work closely with UNICEF in expanding its support for
girls and women in crisis situations.  It should also expand its women's
peace- building and peacemaking activities.  UNIFEM should take the lead in
ensuring that system-wide emergency assessments, guidelines, training and
evaluation are gender sensitive.  UNIFEM should develop and promote training
in women's human rights for the military and judicial systems.  In cooperation
with UNFPA, WHO and UNICEF, UNIFEM should ensure that all humanitarian
responses address the special reproductive health needs of girls and women,
and should develop guidelines for reporting on gender-based violations. 
Further, the Fund should facilitate access to appropriate legal and
rehabilitative remedies for victims of gender-based violence and sexual

The Bretton Woods Institutions

300. The momentum of collaboration between Bretton Woods Institutions and the
specialized agencies of the United Nations system should help to make
available the resources that are needed to address the issues of children
affected by armed conflict.  The World Bank is encouraged to pay increasing
attention to the preservation and development of human capital in conflict-
affected countries, particularly children and youth.  Post-conflict recovery
initiatives that are not fundamentally linked to relief, especially in the
area of education, will ultimately undermine any potential benefit. 
Macroeconomic initiatives cannot sustain peaceful reconstruction without
equivalent attention to micro-level cooperation.  The World Bank can make an
important contribution overall by evaluating the preventive value of
development aid, and by ensuring a better coordinated and funded response to
the needs of conflict-affected countries.  Within these parameters, the Bank's
emerging work in education, mine clearance and demobilization should provide
an even greater focus on children. 

Other related organizations

301. There are some organizations of the United Nations system that have
mandates closely related to many of the concerns raised in the present report.

The International Labour Organization's (ILO) standards, for example, in areas
such as vocational rehabilitation, the employment of disabled persons, special
youth employment and training schemes and human resource development, should
form the basis of innovative rehabilitation and social reintegration
programmes for adolescents in post-conflict situations, especially for former
child soldiers, children with disabilities and children who have missed
educational opportunities.  The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) should
increase its collaboration with operational agencies to ensure that the
reproductive health needs of girls and women are fully addressed in emergency
and post-conflict situations.  Furthermore, the role of the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) in refugee and migration activities is
increasingly important.  As a special intergovernmental agency, IOM is
encouraged further to develop its role in the care and protection of
internally displaced children, in particular to ensure that the special
concerns of children are incorporated in its activities of evacuation,
transportation and processing.  The expert also wishes to call attention to
the work of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development's
(UNRISD) war torn societies project, recognizing its potential to draw
attention to the needs of children in post-conflict recovery.

International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red
Cross and Red Crescent Societies and National Societies

302. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and National
Societies have a special mandate and unique contribution, including emergency
medical assistance, the reunification of separated families, and access to the
internally displaced.  The resolutions adopted at the twenty-sixth
International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, in particular
resolution 2, and the plan of action for child victims of armed conflict
should be implemented throughout the movement.  The role of the Central
Tracing Agency of ICRC is vitally important in the reunification of children
and families.  The expert urges continued and expanded cooperation in tracing
and reunification programmes with UNHCR, UNICEF and specialized NGOs.  As a
critical contribution to prevention and to promoting the practical application
of humanitarian law, the ICRC's advisory services to Governments should be
strengthened with special attention to children.  Dissemination should be
extended to civil society and other humanitarian agencies.  The development of
the guidelines for United Nations forces regarding respect for international
humanitarian law is especially welcome. 

                      3.  Inter-institutional mechanisms

303. Further discussion of inter-institutional mechanisms is needed to ensure
that sufficient priority is given to the dimensions of peacekeeping and
humanitarian operations that involve children. 

Department of Peacekeeping Operations/Department of Political
Affairs/Department of Humanitarian Affairs:  framework for coordination

304. In 1994, a framework for sharing information was established by the
Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Political Affairs and
the Department of Humanitarian Affairs of the Secretariat.  In consultation
with members of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, the United Nations
Emergency Relief Coordinator must ensure that special consideration for
children affected by conflict is incorporated in United Nations peacekeeping
and humanitarian planning, advice, recommendations and proposals presented to
the Security Council.  In this context, the role of peacekeeping forces in
promoting and respecting children's rights should be emphasized, with special
attention to the demobilization and social reintegration of child soldiers. 
The Emergency Relief Coordinator should insist that the situation of
conflict-affected children is addressed in all country level activities as
well as in United Nations field operations mandated by the Security Council,
the General Assembly or the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  The
Coordinator should also ensure priority consideration for programmes that
support the needs of conflict-affected children and their primary care
providers in the preparation of the inter-agency consolidated appeals. 

Inter-Agency Standing Committee

305. Emanating from General Assembly resolution 46/182 of 19 December 1991,
the Inter-Agency Standing Committee was established to ensure a coordinated
policy and operational response to emergency issues.  Concerned agencies such
as UNICEF should develop generic inter-agency guidelines regarding
conflict-affected children to be used in the consolidated inter-agency appeal
process.  The substance of the guidelines should be reflected in the terms of
reference for resident and humanitarian coordinators and those with political
responsibilities, such as special representatives of the Secretary-General.

Administrative Committee on Coordination and Consultative Committee for
Programme and Operational Questions 

306. The Administrative Committee on Coordination and its subsidiary
machinery, namely the Committee for Programme and Operational Questions should
discuss ways to link child-related rehabilitation and development activities
with relief and recovery, and ensure that all relevant guidelines and strategy
proposals reflect the specific needs of war-affected children.  The
Administrative Committee on Coordination should endorse the principles and
guidelines that result from this process, and use them as a model for
incorporating child-related concerns into inter-agency assessments,
consolidated appeals, round tables and consultative group meetings.  In
addition, the Administrative Committee on Coordination should be informed
periodically by the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, UNICEF and UNHCR about
developments relating to children's issues.  Special areas of concern should
be considered by the various working-groups established by the Administrative
Committee on Coordination for Inter-Agency follow-up to recent global
conferences, and as a part of the peace-building, conflict-resolution and
national reconciliation activities of the United Nations System-wide Special
Initiative on Africa.  In other words, children in conflict must be a regular
part of the agenda of the Administrative Committee on Coordination. 

                           D.  Civil society organizations

307. In the course of the regional consultations, field trips and research
undertaken by the expert, civil society organizations have contributed an
enormous range of knowledge and expertise in children and conflict issues. 
Many of these organizations have been central in spreading the message of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child and in implementing its principles. 
They have shown themselves willing and able to break new ground in developing
programmes, to be daring in advocacy and to take risks in protecting and
promoting the rights of children in situations of conflict.  From
international federations of religious groups and national development
organizations to local service delivery projects, civil society organizations
continue to demonstrate their critical role in promoting the rights and
ensuring the well-being of children and families.  Many of these groups have
helped develop the issues and recommendations contained in the present report.

The role of civil society will be crucial in implementing these
recommendations and in assisting Governments and international agencies to
fulfil their obligations to children.

308. Civil society organizations play a fundamental role in preventing
conflicts, protecting children and in reconstructing conflict-affected
societies.  They do so through advocacy, research and information, human
rights monitoring, programme interventions, training and humanitarian
assistance.  Because of their importance, it is essential to have lively
dialogue and cooperation between and among all groups and with regional
bodies, national institutions and the international community.  NGOs,
religious communities, cultural organizations, educators, professional and
academic networks and associations and the media are encouraged to use
international standards relating to the protection of children's rights as the
framework for their work, and to continue to bring these issues of concern to
the attention of the international community. 

309. Organizations dealing specifically with women, family and communities
are especially important.  While women's roles in protecting and sustaining
children and families are well recognized, their participation in the
economic, political and security arenas is less well acknowledged and
supported.  Women have been active agents of peace-building and conflict
resolution at the local level and their participation at the national,
regional and international levels should be increased.  Governments, agencies
and other civil society actors must utilize the ideas, knowledge and
experience women have gained from protecting their children, maintaining
families and sustaining communities, often in perilous or insecure
circumstances.  Women's organizations and networks should be strengthened at
all levels as one way to maximize women's contributions to child protection,
peace, social justice and human development.  

310. Civil society organizations are encouraged to develop capacities, at
national, regional and global levels, to undertake relevant research; form
alliances, networks and campaigns on key issues such as child soldiers; and to
assist in creating an enabling environment for child rights activities. 

311. With support from the international community, the expert encourages
civil society organizations to prepare an international meeting on children's
rights and armed conflict.  Such a meeting might be held in September 2000, 10
years after the Convention on the Rights of the Child went into force and
world leaders met at the World Summit for Children.  The meeting should
evaluate progress achieved globally subsequent to the tabling of the present
report, as well as future ways and means to continue to improve the situation
of children affected by armed conflict.  While it may be thought that this is
an unusual recommendation for the expert to make, it must be realized that we
are dealing with often desperate circumstances for children, and the ongoing
role for civil society is crucial for their rescue and well-being.

                               VII.  CONCLUSION

"We want a society where people are more important than things,
where children are precious; a world where people can be more 
human, caring and gentle." 46/

312. The present report has set forth recommendations for the protection of
children during armed conflict.  It has concentrated on what is practical and
what is possible, but this cannot be enough.  In considering the future of
children, we must be daring.  We must look beyond what seems immediately
possible and find new ways and new solutions to shield children from the
consequences of war and to directly address the conflicts themselves. 

313. There is a clear and overwhelming moral case for protecting all children
while seeking the peaceful resolution of wars and challenging the
justification for any armed conflict.  That children are still being so
shamefully abused is a clear indication that we have barely begun to fulfil
our obligations to protect them.  The immediate wounds to children, the
physical injury, the sexual violence, the psychosocial distress, are affronts
to each and every humanitarian impulse that inspired the Convention on the
Rights of the Child.  The Convention commits States to meet a much broader
range of children's rights, to fulfil the rights to health, to education and
to growth and development within caring and supportive families and

314. The report has shown how all rights to which children are entitled are
consistently abused during armed conflict.  Throwing a spotlight on such
abuses is one small step towards addressing them.  Exposure challenges
perpetrators to face up to their actions and reminds defenders of children's
rights of the enormity of the task ahead.  The only measure by which the
present report can be judged is the response it draws and the action it
stimulates.  To some extent, both are already under way:  the report has in
many ways broken new ground, focusing not just on the debate or resolution
that form the final product, but on a process of consultation and cooperation
among Governments, international agencies, NGOs and many other elements of
civil society.  Above all, the report has engaged families and children in
explaining their situations and asserting their rights. 

315. The present report's mobilization work is ongoing.  Commitments have
already been made, at national and regional levels, to hold meetings that will
begin to implement the report's conclusions.  Further publications are
planned, including a book, a series of research papers, information kits and a
popular version of the report.  In the preparation of the report, there were
many other issues that could not be covered in the time available, and that
demand further investigation.  These include:  operational issues affecting
the protection of children in emergencies; child-centred approaches to the
prevention of conflict and to reconstruction and development; the treatment of
child rights violations within existing human rights mechanisms; the role of
the military in protecting child rights; child rights issues in relation to
peace and security agendas; special programming for adolescents in conflict
situations, and particularly child-headed households; the role of women in
conflict prevention, management and resolution; community and regional
approaches to humanitarian relief; and the development of effective training
programmes in the area of child rights for all actors in conflict situations. 
In following up the present report, it is recommended that each of these
issues be pursued through research and other means.  

316. The flagrant abuse and exploitation of children during armed conflict
can and must be eliminated.  For too long, we have given ground to spurious
claims that the involvement of children in armed conflict is regrettable but
inevitable.  It is not.  Children are regularly caught up in warfare as a
result of conscious and deliberate decisions made by adults.  We must
challenge each of these decisions and we must refute the flawed political and
military reasoning, the protests of impotence, and the cynical attempts to
disguise child soldiers as merely the youngest "volunteers".

317. Above all else, the present report is a call to action.  It is
unconscionable that we so clearly and consistently see children's rights
attacked and that we fail to defend them.  It is unforgivable that children
are assaulted, violated, murdered and yet our conscience is not revolted nor
our sense of dignity challenged.  This represents a fundamental crisis of our
civilization.  The impact of armed conflict on children must be everyone's
concern and is everyone's responsibility; Governments, international
organizations and every element of civil society.  Each one of us, each
individual, each institution, each country, must initiate and support global
action to protect children.  Local and  national strategies must strengthen
and be strengthened through international mobilization.

318. Let us claim children as "zones of peace".  In this way, humankind will
finally declare that childhood is inviolate and that all children must be
spared the pernicious effects of armed conflict.  Children present us with a
uniquely compelling motivation for mobilization.  Universal concern for
children presents new opportunities to confront the problems that cause their
suffering.  By focusing on children, politicians, Governments, the military
and non-State entities will begin to recognize how much they destroy through
armed conflict and, therefore, how little they gain.  Let us take this
opportunity to recapture our instinct to nourish and protect children.  Let us
transform our moral outrage into concrete action.  Our children have a right
to peace.  Peace is every child's right.


     1/  Smith, Chris and D. Henrickson, "The Transformation of Warfare and
Conflict in the Late-Twentieth Century", London, Centre for Defence Studies,
King's College, 1996, p. 50.

     2/  United Nations Children's Fund, State of the World's Children 1996,
Oxford, Oxford University Press, p. 13.

     3/  Brett, Rachel, Margaret McCallin and Rhonda O'Shea, "Children:  The
Invisible Soldiers", Geneva, Quaker United Nations Office and the
International Catholic Child Bureau, April 1996, p. 88.

     4/  Ibid., p. 23.

     5/  Ibid., p. 33.

     6/  Ibid., p. 34.

     7/  Ibid., p. 53.

     8/  Ibid., p. 31.

     9/  Ibid., p. 52.

     10/ Almquist, Kate, Robbie Muhumuza and David Westwood, "The Effects of
Armed Conflict on Girls", Geneva, World Vision International, May 1996, p. 21.

     11/ Brett, Rachel, Margaret McCallin and Rhonda O'Shea, "Children:  The
Invisible Soldiers", Geneva, Quaker United Nations Office and the
International Catholic Child Bureau, April 1996, p. 84.

     12/ Ibid., p. 53.

     13/ See E/CN.4/1996/52/Add.2.  The Representative of the Secretary-
General on Internally Displaced Persons has developed the following working
definition of internally displaced persons:  "Persons who have been forced to
flee their homes suddenly or unexpectedly in large numbers as a result of
armed conflict, internal strife, systematic violation of human rights or
natural or man-made disasters, and who are within the territory of their own

     14/ Article 1A, paragraph 2, of the 1951 Convention relating to the
Status of Refugees defines a refugee as someone who, "owing to well founded
fear of being persecuted for reason of race, religion, nationality, membership
of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside of the country
of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail
himself of the protection of that country, or who, not having nationality and
being outside of the country of his former habitual residence, as a result of
such events, is unable or unwilling to return to it".

     15/ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, State of the World's
Refugees 1995:  In Search of Solutions, New York, Oxford University Press,
1995,  p. 248.

     16/ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Refugee Children:
Guidelines on Protection and Care.  Geneva:  UNHCR, 1994.

     17/ See also General Assembly resolution 41/85 entitled Declaration on
Social and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of
Children, with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally
and Internationally.

     18/ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sexual Violence
Against Refugees:  Guidelines on Prevention and Response.  Geneva:  UNHCR,

     19/ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, The Impact of Armed
Conflict on Children:  The Refugee and Displaced Children Dimension, Geneva,
1996, p. 36.

     20/ Ibid., p. 53.

     21/ See E/CN.4/1996/63.

     22/ See E/CN.4/1996/53/Add.1.

     23/ Schade, Ernst, "Experiences with regard to the United Nations Peace-
keeping Forces in Mozambique", Norway, Redd Barna, 1995.

     24/ Statistics from the United Nations Department of Humanitarian

     25/ Williams, Jody, "The Protection of Children Against Landmines and
Unexploded Ordnance", Washington, D.C., Viet Nam Veterans of America
Foundation, p. 1.

     26/ Ibid., p. 12.

     27/ Ibid.

     28/ Ibid., p. 13.

     29/ Information obtained from the United Nations Department of
Humanitarian Affairs.

     30/ Garfield, Richard, "The Impact of Economic Sanctions on the Health
of Women and Children", New York, Columbia University, April 1996, p. 9.

     31/ Ibid., p. 11.

     32/ Ibid., p. 13.

     33/ United Nations Children's Fund, State of the World's Children 1995,
New York, Oxford University Press, p. 20.

     34/ Youth for Population Information and Communication, "Improved
Quality of Life, Empowerment and Development for Street Youth in Kumasi",
Ghana, Youth for Population Information and Communication, 1996.

     35/ United Nations Children's Fund, State of the World's Children 1996,
Oxford, Oxford University Press, p. 20.

     36/ Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "Report of
the Study on the Nutritional Impact of Armed Conflicts on Children", Rome,
1996, p. 16.

     37/ Ibid., p. 18.

     38/ Ibid., p. 10.

     39/ Joint and Co-sponsored United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, "HIV
and Infant Feeding:  An Interim Statement", Geneva, July 1996.

     40/ The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and
the National Societies have adapted the following as a full definition of
international humanitarian law:  "international rules, established by treaties
or custom, which are specifically intended to solve humanitarian problems
directly arising from international or non-international armed conflicts and
which, for humanitarian reasons, limit the right of parties to a conflict to
use the methods and means of warfare of their choice or protect persons and
property that are, or may be, affected by conflict".

     41/ Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC/C/46, paras. 203-238.

     42/ United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, States of
Disarray:  The social effects of globalization, Geneva, 1995, p. 112.

     43/ Devaki Jain speaking at the Eminent Persons Group meeting for the
United Nations Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children, Tarrytown,
New York, 9 May 1995.

     44/ United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 1996,
New York, Oxford University Press, 1996, p. 72.

     45/ See E/AC.51/1995/2.

     46/ Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaking at the Eminent Persons Group
meeting for the United Nations Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on
Children, Tarrytown, New York, 9 May 1995.


                         OF ARMED CONFLICT ON CHILDREN

                           (Unpublished manuscripts)

Adam, Hubertus and Joachim Walter et al., "Refugee Children in Industrial
Countries - Reports of the Psychosocial Situation and Case Studies in the
United Kingdom, Germany and South Africa", University Clinics of Hamburg,
Germany, 1996.

Almquist, Kate, Robbie Muhumuza and David Westwood, "The Effects of Armed
Conflict on Girls", Geneva, World Vision International, May 1996.  The paper
draws on the work of more than 15 World Vision country offices and was
prepared in consultation with other international non-governmental

Balian, Hrair, "Armed Conflict in Chechnya:  Its Impact on Children", Covcas
Center for Law and Conflict Resolution, Virginia, November 1995.

Barnes, Catherine, ed., "The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children from
Minority and Indigenous Communities:  Four Case Studies on the Experiences of
Jumma, Mayan, Roma and Somali Children", United Kingdom, Minority Rights Group
International, May 1996.  Three of the case studies for this report were
prepared with local non-governmental organizations.

Boyden, Jo and Sara Gibbs, "Vulnerability and Resilience:  Perceptions and
Responses to Psycho-social Distress in Cambodia", United Kingdom, May 1996. 
This report was prepared in cooperation with other United Nations agencies,
UNICEF and UNRISD in particular, and a local working group on psychosocial
vulnerability and coping strategies in Cambodia.

Boyden, Jo and Paul Ryder, "The Provision of Education to Children Affected by
Armed Conflict", April 1996.

Brett, Rachel, Margaret McCallin and Rhonda O'Shea, "Children:  The Invisible
Soldiers", Geneva, Quaker United Nations Office and the International Catholic
Child Bureau, April 1996.  The report is the result of the Child Soldiers
Research Project of the Sub-Group on Refugee Children and Children in Armed
Conflict of the Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Many of
the 24 case studies were prepared by local non-governmental organizations. 
Ra"dda Barnen was a major funding partner of the study on the impact of armed
conflict on children and will publish a more detailed study later in 1996.

Cohn, Ilene, "Verification and Protection of Children's Rights by United
Nations Human Rights Missions (MINUGUA and ONUSAL)", Guatemala, May 1996.

Djeddah, Carol and P. M. Shah, "The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children:  A
Threat to Public Health", Geneva, World Health Organization, Family and
Reproductive Health and Division of Emergency and Humanitarian Action,
June 1996.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "Report of the Study
on the Nutritional Impact of Armed Conflicts on Children", Rome, 1996.

Garfield, Richard, "The Impact of Economic Sanctions on the Health of Women
and Children", New York, Columbia University, April 1996.

Hamilton, Carolyn and Tabatha Abu El-Haj, "Children and War:  Humanitarian Law
and Children's Rights", United Kingdom, University of Essex, May 1996.

Hampson, Franc'oise J., "Legal Protection Afforded to Under International
Humanitarian Law", United Kingdom, University of Essex, May 1996.

Kadjar-Hamouda, Eylah, "An End to Silence:  A Preliminary Study on Sexual
Violence, Abuse and Exploitation of Children Affected by Armed Conflicts",
Geneva, International Federation Terre des Hommes and Group for the Convention
on the Rights of the Child, July 1996.  This study was based on 12 case
studies prepared by a number of contributing local and international non-
governmental organizations.

Kur, Dengtiel A., ed. and Larjour Consultancy, "The Impact of War on Children
and the Role of Traditional Values and International Humanitarian Principles
in South Sudan", Nairobi, South Sudan Law Society, June 1996.

Marcelino, Elizabeth Protacio et al., "Community Participation in the Recovery
and Reintegration of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict (The Philippine
Experience)", contribution to the Asia Pacific Regional Consultation of the
study on the impact of armed conflict on children, Philippines, University of
the Philippines, 1996.

Marcelino, Elizabeth Protacio, "Torture of Children in Armed Conflict",
Philippines, Center for Integrative and Development Studies, 1996.

Monan, Jim, "The Impact of Landmines on Children in Quang Tri Province -
Central Viet Nam", report prepared for the Asia Pacific Regional Consultation
of the study on the impact of armed conflict on children, Hanoi, Viet Nam
Veterans of America Foundation and UNICEF, 1995.

Save the Children Alliance Working Group on Children Affected by Armed
Conflict and Displacement, "Promoting Psychosocial Well-Being Among Children
Affected by Armed Conflict and Displacement:  Principles and Approaches",
Working Paper No. 1, March 1996.  The paper was based on the experience of a
number of international and local professionals with over 15 Save the Children
field programmes.

Smith, Chris and D. Hendrickson, "The Transformation of Warfare and Conflict
in the Late-Twentieth Century", London, Centre for Defence Studies, King's
College, 1996.

Thinh, Nguyen Tien, "The Impact of Herbicides and Defoliants on Vietnamese
Children", report prepared for the Asia Pacific Regional Consultation of the
study on the impact of armed conflict on children, Hanoi, UNICEF, 1996.

United Nations Centre for Human Rights, "The Impact of Armed Conflict on
Children:  A Survey of Existing Standards and of their Relevance and
Adequacy", Geneva, 1996.

United Nations Development Fund for Women, "Women in Crisis Situations
Resulting from Armed Conflict", UNIFEM contribution to the study on the impact
of armed conflict on children, New York, March 1996.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, "Refugee and Displaced
Children", Geneva, 1996.

Williams, Jody, "The Protection of Children Against Landmines and Unexploded
Ordnance", Viet Nam Veterans of America Foundation, International Campaign to
Ban Landmines, April 1996.


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