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SC/12492
26 August 2016

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

At its fifty-eighth meeting, on 17 May 2016, the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, in connection with the examination of the second report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Iraq (S/2015/852), agreed to address the following message through a public statement issued by the Char of the Working Group.

To all parties to the armed conflict in Iraq:

(a) Recalling the previous conclusions of the Working Group on children and armed conflict in Iraq (S/AC.51/2011/6), and reiterating the call for their full implementation;

(b) Expressing its strongest condemnation of all continuing violations and abuses committed against children in contravention of applicable international law in Iraq, and urging parties to the armed conflict to comply with their obligations under international law and to take all measures necessary to immediately end and prevent such violations and abuses, including those involving the recruitment and use of children, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, abduction, attacks against schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access;

(c) Expressing grave concern over the large number of children killed and maimed as a direct or indirect result of hostilities between parties to the armed conflict and of incidents of indiscriminate attacks against the civilian population, including those involving heavy shelling and aerial bombardment, and calling upon all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, and in particular the principles of distinction and proportionality enshrined therein;

(d) Expressing grave concern at the continuing recruitment and use of children in violation of applicable international law, and strongly urging all parties to the armed conflict to immediately and without preconditions release all children within their ranks, in close cooperation with the United Nations and relevant child protection actors, where possible;

(e) 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 in contravention of applicable international law and the targeting of education and medical personnel endanger the safety of children and severely disrupt their access to education and health care;

(f) 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.

To all armed groups operating in Iraq, in particular Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh):

(a) Condemning in the strongest possible terms the abhorrent violations and abuses committed against children by armed groups, in particular ISIL/Da’esh, including their killing and maiming, systematic recruitment and use, abduction and rape, and other forms of sexual violence, noting that such violations may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity, and strongly demanding that all armed groups immediately;

(i) Cease attacks directed against civilians and civilian objects that result in the killing and maiming of children and 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, as well as to terror tactics and indiscriminate attacks in populated areas, including through attacks by suicide bombers or any other form of extreme violence or the indiscriminate use of weapons, in particular improvised explosive devices, and any use of weapons prohibited by international law;

(ii) Cease and prevent the recruitment and use of children in violation of applicable international law, including through abduction, end the military training of children, disband its youth wings and release without preconditions all children within their ranks;

(iii) Cease the abduction of children and all violations and abuses committed against abducted children, in particular rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence against children, especially girls, and release without preconditions all abducted children whose whereabouts remain unknown;

(b) Condemning attacks against humanitarian personnel and facilities, and stressing that the denial of humanitarian assistance, including by deliberately impeding humanitarian access, in particular to those trapped in besieged areas, can constitute a breach of international humanitarian law and have a serious impact on children.

To the Government of Iraq:

(a) Recognizing the commitments of the Government to enhance the protection of children in Iraq, in particular those made towards establishing an interministerial committee on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1612 (2005) to support the monitoring and reporting mechanism on children and armed conflict, and strongly urging in this regard its urgent activation by the Government;

(b) Recalling the commitment of the Government to adopt measures to criminalize the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, and requesting it to immediately implement those measures by taking all appropriate legal and judicial measures against the recruitment and use of children.

To community and religious leaders:

(a) Emphasizing their important role in strengthening the protection of children in armed conflict;

(b) Urging them to continue to publicly condemn and advocate end to and preventing violations and abuses against children, in particular those involving recruitment and use of children, and encouraging them to engage with the Government and the United Nations to support efforts to put an end to child recruitment and use by parties to the armed conflict, in conformity with the laws of Iraq.

For information media. Not an official record.