Public Statement by Chair of Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

SC/12359
12 May 2016

Public Statement by Chair of Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

At its fifty-fifth meeting, on 6 July 2015, the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, in connection with the examination of the third report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Afghanistan (S/2015/336), agreed to address the following message through a public statement issued by the Chair of the Working Group:

To all parties to the armed conflict in Afghanistan, including the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces and in particular all the armed groups operating in Afghanistan, including the Taliban and affiliated groups, such as the Tora Bora Front, Jamat Sunat al-Dawa Salafia and the Latif Mansur Network, the Haqqani Network and Hezb-i-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General, as well as affiliates of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh):

  • Recalling the previous conclusions of the Working Group on children and armed conflict in Afghanistan (S/AC.51/2011/3 and S/AC.51/2009/1);
  • Expressing its strongest condemnation of the recruitment and use of children, as well as all other violations and abuses committed against children in Afghanistan, including those involving killing and maiming of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, attacks against schools and hospitals, abduction of children and the denial of humanitarian access, in contravention of applicable international law, by all parties to the conflict;
  • Expressing grave concern over the rising number of children killed and maimed as a result of hostilities between parties to the conflict, explosive remnants of war and the continued use of improvised explosive devices, and strongly condemning the targeting of and indiscriminate use of weapons against civilians and civilian objects, recalling in this regard that indiscriminate attacks and the indiscriminate use of weapons are prohibited under international humanitarian law;
  • Expressing deep alarm at acts of terrorism committed by non-State armed groups, such as suicide attacks, and deploring the recruitment and use of children by such groups to perpetrate acts of terrorism;
  • Expressing grave concern over the increasing cases of abduction of children by all parties to the conflict for various purposes, including revenge and ransom, and in this regard urging all parties to immediately cease the abduction of children, as well as all violations and abuses committed against abducted children, including those involving recruitment and use, killing and maiming, rape or other forms of sexual violence;
  • Strongly condemning the targeting of schools and hospitals in violation of international humanitarian law, and noting with deep concern that such attacks, the military use of schools and the targeting of education and medical personnel endanger the safety of children and severely disrupt their access to education and health care;
  • Urging all parties to the conflict to cease attacks or threats of attacks against schools and hospitals, as well as their personnel, in violation of international humanitarian law and to respect the civilian character of those institutions and their personnel in accordance with international humanitarian law;
  • Calling upon all parties to the conflict to take immediate and specific measures to end and prevent the perpetration of rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, including the practice of bacha bazi, by their members;
  • Strongly condemning attacks against humanitarian personnel and facilities, including the abduction and killing of humanitarian personnel, and calling upon all parties to the conflict to allow full, unimpeded and secure access for humanitarian assistance, in particular for children, and to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel;
  • Urgently calling for all parties to the conflict to comply with their applicable obligations under national and international law, including international humanitarian and international human rights law, and to immediately cease all violations and abuses against children;
  • Expressing concern over allegations of torture and ill-treatment of children in detention for alleged association with armed groups or on national security charges,
  • Welcoming the commitment of and measures taken by the Government of Afghanistan to implement the Action Plan and its annexes, and calling upon the Government to continue strengthening its child protection efforts, including through the adequate allocation of resources to this end;
  • Stressing the importance of accountability for all violations and abuses against children, and urging the Government of Afghanistan to put an end to impunity through the implementation and enforcement of relevant legislation as well as by ensuring that all such perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice, including through rigorous, timely, independent and impartial investigation and prosecution;
  • Acknowledging that the majority of violations and abuses against children in Afghanistan were perpetrated by armed groups, and strongly urging all armed groups in Afghanistan:
  1. To immediately cease and prevent the recruitment and use of children in violation of applicable international law, and to release without preconditions all children associated with their respective groups to relevant child protection actors;
  2. To immediately cease attacks directed against civilians and civilian objects that result in the killing and maiming of children, and to comply fully with international humanitarian law by, inter alia, putting an end to any targeting of the civilian population, especially children, in violation of international humanitarian law and any indiscriminate use of weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and any use of weapons prohibited by international law;
  3. To undertake a dialogue with the United Nations, including the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, to prepare, adopt and implement without delay action plans to end and prevent violations and abuses against children in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009), 1998 (2011) and 2225 (2015), and reiterating that the full implementation of action plans, verified by the task force on monitoring and reporting, is an important step for a party to the conflict to take in order to be delisted from the annexes of the report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict;
  4. To cease all attacks and threats of attacks against schools, education personnel and students, in particular against schools for girls’ education, in violation of applicable international law;
  5. To cease attacks against the wounded and sick, hospitals and other medical facilities, health-care personnel, medical transport and equipment, in accordance with international humanitarian law.

To Community and Religious Leaders:

  • Emphasizing their important role in enhancing the protection of children in armed conflict;
  • Urging them to publicly condemn and continue to advocate ending and preventing violations and abuses against children, in particular those involving recruitment and use of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, abductions, attacks and threats of attacks against schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access.
For information media. Not an official record.