Release of women and children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned, in armed conflicts
Report of the Secretary-General
The present report is prepared in response to the request contained in Commission on the Status of Women resolution 52/1. It includes information provided by Member States and entities of the United Nations system.
* Reissued for technical reasons.
1. At its fifty-second session in 2008, the Commission on the Status of Women adopted resolution 52/1 on the release of women and children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned, in armed conflicts. In that resolution, the Commission expressed grave concern at the continuation of armed conflicts in many regions of the world and the human suffering and humanitarian emergencies they had caused. The Commission recalled relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security, 1539 (2004) on children and armed conflict, and 1612 (2005) on children and armed conflict, as well as relevant provisions contained in the instruments of international humanitarian law relative to the protection of the civilian population.
III. Information provided by entities of the United Nations system
14. Fourteen entities of the United Nations system responded to the request for information on the implementation of resolution 52/1.4 The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) provided information on activities related to the release of women and children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned, in armed conflicts.
15. ESCWA highlighted the issue of Palestinian women held in Israeli prisons as a result of armed conflict and the impact of custody on their health and development. …
17. UNICEF addresses child protection in emergencies by focusing on the six grave violations of children’s rights as articulated in Security Council resolution 1612 (2005), including the killing or maiming of children; recruitment or use of child soldiers; rape and other forms of sexual violence against children; abduction of children; attacks against schools or hospitals; and the denial of humanitarian access to children. … In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, UNICEF strengthened child protection monitoring and reporting mechanisms and submitted systematically collected data in bimonthly reports to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. …
18. Within the global protection cluster working group, UNICEF co-leads the gender-based violence and child protection areas of responsibility. UNICEF prevention and assistance activities focused on psychological support to children, reunification activities, dialogue with State and non-State actors in advocating the release of abducted children, capacity-building initiatives and the creation of child-friendly spaces in a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, the Sudan and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
IV. Conclusion and recommendation
23. The present report is based on the responses of Member States and inputs received from entities of the United Nations system. Six Member States provided information on women and children taken hostage or imprisoned in armed conflict and demonstrated that continued actions were being taken by Governments in the development of policies and legislation as well as in the provision of humanitarian support to women and children taken hostage. Much of the information provided by the United Nations focused on programmes in support of women and children demobilized from situations of forced recruitment into armed forces. Little information was provided on the release of women and children taken hostage or imprisoned in armed conflict.
24. The Commission on the Status of Women may wish to invite the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict to take into account the release of children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned, in armed conflicts, and to provide sex-disaggregated data, where available, when preparing the reports requested by the General Assembly.