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The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict serves as the leading UN advocate for the protection and well-being of children affected by armed conflict.

The mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict was created by General Assembly resolution A/RES/51/77 following the publication, in 1996, of the report by Graça Machel on the impact of armed conflict on children.
Since 1999, the systematic engagement of the UN Security Council has placed the protection of children affected by armed conflict at the heart of its international peace and security agenda.
Six grave violations affecting children in times of conflict were identified

  • Recruitment and use of children*
  • Killing and maiming of children*
  • Sexual violence against children*
  • Attacks on schools and hospitals*
  • Abduction of children
  • Denial of humanitarian access.

*Indicates violations that are triggers for listing by the Secretary-General
Advocacy efforts focus on a number of key priority areas with rule of law actors. These include ending impunity for grave violations against children, addressing issues of children detained for their association with armed groups and ensuring there is provision for comprehensive and long-term reintegration assistance. The Special Representative also works to ensure that children are treated primarily as victims before the law and courts take into account fair trial and juvenile justice standards.
A particular advocacy initiative of the Special Representative is the campaign “Children, Not Soldiers” which aims to end the recruitment and use of children by government armed forces in conflict by 2016.
Relevant Documents and Links: