18 JUNE 2015
7466th Meeting* (AM)
In All-Day Debate, Speakers Stress 2014 Worst Year of Child Abuse,
Call for Increased Preventive, Corrective Action
Decrying a marked increase in grave violations committed against children in conflict zones, the Security Council today added abduction to the list of such crimes to be closely monitored, during an open debate on the issue that heard from some 80 speakers.
The Council requested the Secretary-General, in his annual report on the issue, to list parties “that engage in patterns of abduction of children in situations of armed conflict” along with those who recruit, kill, maim and sexually abuse children and target schools and hospitals, through the unanimous adoption of resolution 2225 (2015) in a meeting chaired by the Foreign Minister of Malaysia, which holds the June presidency, and opened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
This year’s report (document S/2015/409) called 2014 among the worst in children’s vulnerability to violence and listed 58 groups responsible for violations in 23 conflict situations. No new parties were listed, but additional violations were attributed to the anti-Balaka in the Central African Republic, the Allied Democratic Forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Boko Haram in Nigeria.
According to the concept note provided by the Malaysian presidency (S/2015/402), despite normative progress and the release of some children by armed groups, 2014 was seen as the worst year for children affected by armed conflict, looking at the conflicts mentioned above as well as those in in South Sudan and Gaza. Mass abduction of children, particularly by Boko Haram and ISIL, was frequently a prelude to sexual slavery and other crimes and a cause of displacement, it said.
In today’s resolution, the Council urged the immediate, safe and unconditional release of all abducted children and called upon those parties listed in the Secretary-General’s report to adopt without delay concrete time-bound action plans to halt all violations. In regard to children formerly associated with armed groups, it encouraged Member States to consider alternatives to prosecution and detention, with a focus on rehabilitation and integration.
The resolution urged an end to impunity for crimes against children in armed conflict, and stresses the importance of child protection provisions in peace negotiations, peace agreements, mandates of United Nations missions, where appropriate, and other related areas. It encouraged Member States to take concrete measures to deter use of by armed forces and armed groups, rendering them targets of attack.
Through the text, the Council invited the Working Group on the issue to make full use of tools at its disposal to protect children, including increased engagement with concerned Member States.
“Around the world, many thousands of children have experienced acts that no child should suffer,” Mr. Ban said in his opening statement. Abduction was evolving into a tactic used by a range of non-State armed groups to terrorize particular ethnic or religious groups. He noted progress, however, in protecting children from recruitment into armed groups through the “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign and other efforts to change attitudes.
Mr. Ban warned against politicization of the issue of protecting children, which he called “a moral imperative and legal obligation”. His annual report was an important tool to put under scrutiny those who engage in military action that resulted in numerous grave violations. “Let us keep the rights of children at the centre of our efforts to build a future of dignity for all,” he said.
Briefing the Council this morning, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui said that the sharp increases in the number of children killed, injured and abused in conflict in 2014 should not just shock the international community; it should galvanize collective global action. The response to abductions should be scaled up with its increase and include early warning mechanisms.
Also briefing, Yoka Brandt, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), likewise urged concerted action to protect children from the range of crimes that threatened them, and Eunice Apio, Director of Facilitation for Peace and Development, relating her experiences in Northern Uganda, called for a greater focus on reintegration of abducted children that had been released as well as psychological help for families and communities to which they return.
Following those presentations, speakers welcomed the adoption of today’s resolution and seconded the deep concern over the growing suffering of children in situations of armed conflict, urging stepped-up collective action to protect them as well as to provide rehabilitative services to those who had suffered. Ending impunity for crimes against children, applying sanctions against perpetrators and engaging non-State actors to end violations were discussed.
Most speakers also concurred with the inclusion of abduction as a trigger for listing in the Secretary-General’s report. Recounting the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls over one year ago by Boko Haram, Nigeria’s representative welcomed the international attention the crime of abduction was now receiving.
Some speakers, including the Observer for the State of Palestine and the representative of Algeria, on behalf of the Arab Group, expressed severe disappointment that the Secretary-General’s report did not list Israeli armed forces as violators of children’s rights given the hundreds of children killed and injured in Gaza during last year’s conflict as well as damage to schools.
Israel’s representative said his country had tried to end the fighting and warn civilians away from the missile launching sites and other facilities it attacked, which Hamas had placed in populated areas. He regretted what he called politicization of the report that led to more attention to Gaza than Syria, scarce mention of Hamas and dismissal of the factor of intention.
Also speaking today at the ministerial or diplomatic level were the representatives of Malaysia, Spain, France, Chile, New Zealand, China, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Chad, Jordan, Lithuania, Venezuela, United States, Angola, Italy, Guatemala, Ukraine, Brazil, Colombia, India, Sweden, Iran, Liechtenstein, Japan, Mexico, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Thailand, Syria, Poland, Estonia, Belgium, Germany, Morocco, Canada, Austria, Slovenia, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Argentina, Greece, Croatia, Viet Nam, Iraq, Indonesia, Uruguay, Panama, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Qatar, Sudan, Georgia, Pakistan, Kuwait (on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), Cambodia, Turkey, Egypt, Zimbabwe (on behalf of the Southern African Development Community), Montenegro, Myanmar, Botswana, Azerbaijan, Kenya, Portugal and Australia, as well as the Holy See, European Union and the League of Arab States.
The meeting opened at 10:05 a.m. and adjourned at 7:35 p.m.
Statement by Secretary-General
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said, “My report outlines the enormous challenges we face in upholding the fundamental rights of tens of millions of children.” He pointed to grave violations in the Central African Republic, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan and Syria, as well as deep alarm over the situation in Gaza, where he urged Israel to take immediate steps, including reviewing policies and practices, to prevent the killing and maiming of children and respect the special protections afforded to schools and hospitals.
“Around the world, many thousands of children have experienced acts that no child should suffer,” he stated. Abduction, used by the Lord’s Resistance Army for many years, was now evolving into a tactic used by a range of non-State armed groups to terrorize particular ethnic or religious groups. There had been progress, he said, in protecting children from recruitment into armed groups through the “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign and other efforts to change attitudes. He called the release of 1,757 children from the Cobra Faction in South Sudan a bright spot in the otherwise bleak picture in that country.
He said much work was needed, however, to end grave violations against children both in their countries of origin and in countries they fled to, where they required urgent and sustained interventions. He warned against politicization of the issue of protecting children, which he called “a moral imperative and legal obligation”. His annual report was an important tool to put under scrutiny those who engaged in military action that resulted in numerous grave violations. “I urge Member States and, in particular, all the parties to conflict identified in this report to work with my Special Representative to prevent future grave violations against children,” including through ending impunity. He affirmed his commitment to ensure that the United Nations itself did better in preventing abuse of children. “Let us keep the rights of children at the centre of our efforts to build a future of dignity for all,” he concluded.
LEILA ZERROUGUI, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, said the intensification of several conflicts in 2015 had imposed terrible short- and long-term consequences for many children caught up in the violence. An estimated 230 million children now lived in countries and areas affected by conflict and more than 5 million refugee children had been forced to flee from countries where the monitoring and reporting mechanism was in place. Appalling impacts on the welfare of children were felt, especially in Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, State of Palestine, Syria and Yemen. The Secretary-General’s annual report documented sharp increases in the numbers of children killed in 2014 and an equally shocking number of injured. That should not just shock the international community; it should galvanize collective global action.
Responses to the threat posed by extreme violence had also raised child protection concerns — by both militia groups and in some cases Government forces, she said. The response to abductions needed to be scaled up to address their increasing frequency in conflicts, including through early warning mechanisms. While expanding the tools available, integration programmes must be tailored for those who underwent the traumatizing experience of abduction and associated violations. Engagement with non-State armed groups was another vital area of focus. She had been working to engage a wide range of groups in the annexes to the Secretary-General’s reports to secure commitments to stop violations and protect children. Member States needed to help facilitate contact with those groups and allow independent access to facilitate discussions. It was in the interest of all involved that those groups be brought into a process that would expedite the end of violations against children and prevent future ones.
While progress was being made with several countries involved in the “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign, the crises in South Sudan and Yemen had severely hampered efforts in those countries, she said. Sexual abuse and exploitation of children by peacekeepers or foreign troops was particularly egregious and underscored the collective international responsibility to prevent such behaviour and hold perpetrators accountable. The issue of deprivation of liberty was another concern with security forces detaining children for actual or alleged association with armed groups, she said, expressing concern that children were being treated primarily as security threats rather than as victims. The rise in the number and the gravity of recent crises had tested both the international community’s resolve and its ability to respond. The world should redouble its efforts and address new challenges with new tools. The fight against impunity remained a key aspect in efforts to not only react to but also prevent grave violations against children.
YOKA BRANDT, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said that abductions, used to instil fear and terror in populations, were often only the first in a series of grave violations, including sexual assault and rape, indoctrination, recruitment as child soldiers, and murder. Each offence blighted that child and violated international law. “It both shames us for not doing more to prevent atrocities and urges us to act,” she said. Left unaddressed, each offence could contribute to the recurring cycles of violence and conflict that shattered lives and communities and perpetuated conflicts into future generations. Combined efforts had led to the release earlier this year of more than 1,700 children from non-State armed groups in South Sudan, she said, adding that the “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign had been central to that shared progress. It had galvanized the commitment of eight Governments to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in national security forces by the end of 2016.
However, the world must think about what happened after children were released, she said. How could they resume normal life burdened, inevitably by physical wounds and psychological scars? Those children were victims and must be treated as such. After their release, the best option was to transfer them quickly to child protection services. Trained professionals could support them as they recovered and were reintegrated, as well as address the needs of girls and children with special needs. As the world celebrated progress in some areas, it must also remain vigilant, because where conflict had re-emerged or escalated, the risks of backsliding were real. In South Sudan and Yemen, the use of children had increased during recent outbreaks of conflict. Urgently and collectively, the international community must consider how best to prevent abduction. While the most effective way was to step up efforts to end conflict, it was important to pursue accountability not only as a means of addressing past wrongs but also of deterring future ones.
Children were at risk of new forms of violence via social media, she said. Aggressive forms of recruitment for extreme violence, such as participating in executions and suicide bombings, were real and reached well beyond conflict zones. More initiatives like the Safe Schools Declaration were needed, she said, adding that community-based reintegration programmes were important not only to help children recover and reintegrate but also in terms of learning new skills to build for the future.
EUNICE APIO, Executive Director of Facilitation for Peace and Development, spoke on the challenges faced by individuals, their families and communities affected by the abductions and other activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Northern Uganda. Of the more than 65,000 civilians abducted between 1986 and 2008, at least 53 per cent were children as young as nine, who became forced labourers, soldiers and sexual slaves vulnerable to impregnation and sexually transmitted diseases. Many were killed and maimed during the course of the war and many were still unaccounted for.
“Those who returned were a shadow of themselves, broken in body in spirit, just like the families and communities they left behind,” she said. Unfortunately, most disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) actions were fragmented, uncoordinated, experimental and incomplete. Most children moved directly from the LRA to squalid displaced persons camps, with not all receiving basic counselling at reception centres. Mental illnesses, alcohol and substance abuse and suicide had greatly increased in the region.
Actors in current war zones, she said, should learn from that experience and ensure families received adequate psychological support alongside returning children. She related the stories of traumatized family members who were expected to support the reintegration of abducted children in Northern Uganda. Due attention must also be paid to land ownership issues when societies were torn apart by abductions, as well as to the welfare of young women released from armed groups with their own children, who found it extremely difficult to re-integrate due to stigma and discrimination.
Children born in the LRA were now increasingly filling positions in the group’s hierarchy, showing how such suffering can perpetuate itself, she said. Innovative ways to appeal to such children to leave the group should be considered by the Council. In general, children conceived after sexual violence fell through the cracks in the protection framework, she noted. They often had no idea how to dissociate from the armed groups. She said that she was part of a network of scholars studying the particular problems of children born out of violence. In closing, she urged Governments to integrate reintegration of ex-combatants, including abducted children and the progeny of abduction, into long-term national development priorities.
MAHMOUD DAIFALLAH MAHMOUD HMOUD (Jordan) said the unprecedented increase in the crimes committed against children in the context of conflicts in the Middle East and Africa required greater efforts in tackling armed groups, including by deploying early-warning mechanisms. While protection of children was primarily a national responsibility, the transnational nature of the challenge required sustained international cooperation over the long term. The media was as dangerous as any other weapon when used by armed groups pursuing hateful ideologies and methods, he said, calling for international cooperation to prevent the use of the Internet as a recruitment tool. Similar cooperation was required in reintegration, information sharing and ending impunity. He expressed surprise that the Secretary-General’s report failed to include in the annex violations committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians, and stressed the need to maintain the integrity of the listing system.
CARLOS RAUL MORALES, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, said…he regretted “inconsistencies” in the latest report of the Secretary-General, namely due to the lack of inclusion of the abuses against children in Gaza and Israel. The Council’s tools, including sanctions regimes, should be improved and used consistently, and perpetrators should be referred to the International Criminal Court.
SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group…called on the Council not to forget about the plight of Palestinian children, who suffered grave violations of their rights due to the ongoing Israeli occupation. The Gaza war last summer had had killed hundreds of children and disabled many others, he said.
RIYAD MANSOUR, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine to the United Nations, said that his delegation came before the Council anguished by the Secretary-General’s decision to exclude Israel from the list of parties committing grave violations against children in his annual report on children and armed conflict. Israel, the occupying Power, was without a doubt a “flagrant violator” of child rights. It systematically committed crimes against Palestinian children, contravening its obligations under human rights and humanitarian law. Evidence verified by the United Nations and numerous human rights organizations affirmed that Israel continued to kill and maim children, attack schools and hospitals, and prevent humanitarian access. According to established criteria, such actions would trigger a listing among the grave violators identified in the report’s annex. And yet, Israel was not included in that list as pressures blatantly exerted to shield it from censure and measures of accountability. That glaring omission and failure to hold Israel accountable for its crimes came at a heavy cost to innocent children.
Israel’s brutality against Palestinian children increased in 2014, causing the third highest number of child fatalities in armed conflicts worldwide. As reported, at least 557 Palestinian children were killed, the majority in the Gaza Strip, during the Israeli military assaults of July-August 2014. The grim reality was that Israeli occupying forces killed an average of 10 children per day in Gaza, most of whom had not yet celebrated their twelfth birthday. “Children are killed on beaches as they played in broad daylight before the eyes of the world,” he said. Generations of Palestinian children had been traumatized by the depravity of the Israeli occupation, he said, citing a number of statistics regarding the loss of family members, detention, arrests and forced displacement. That shameful situation rendered the law, the obligation to protect civilians in armed conflict, and accountability mechanisms meaningless. Listing would have forced Israel and the United Nations to negotiate a time-bound, mandatory action plan to protect children, and would have provided the Council with tools to prevent and respond to future Israeli violations.
GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran)…called for accountability for the war crimes and violations by Israel in its recent military aggression against Palestinians and destruction of infrastructure in Gaza. The Council should ensure an end to Israel’s impunity. Evidence indicated that gross human rights violations by Israel against Palestinian children had met the criteria for its listing as a grave violator and he regretted that Israel had not been listed in the annex of the report.
DAVID YITSHAK ROET (Israel) said the Secretary-General’s report contained 32 paragraphs on Israel — twice as much space as compared with that given to Syria, where a quarter of a million people had been killed, among them, according to The New York Times, 3,500 children this year; the report “inexplicably” put that number at 368. Rather than being balanced and focused on facts, the report’s discussion of Israel was politicized and “stained with interests”. Surely a report about the use of children in warfare would discuss Hamas, a terror group that ran military summer camps for school children. Yet, finding a mention was harder than finding a needle in a haystack. Hamas and other groups had launched 4,000 rockets and mortars in the 2014 conflict. While Israel had tried to save lives by warning Palestinians to leave combat areas, Hamas threatened their lives if they did. Hamas’ use of military schools contravened international law.
He said the report also omitted that Israel had not wanted war and “deeply regretted” the harm done to Palestinian civilians. Israel had taken all measures to de-escalate the conflict, while Hamas had rejected all such attempts. The Israeli Defense Forces had used leaflets, phone calls and text messages to warn civilians to evacuate rocket launch sites, and had aborted or suspended operations when it became clear that civilians would be harmed. The report’s drafting was marked by institutionalized bias against Israel, with the regional Working Group having conveniently forgotten to inform Israel of its drafting or seek Israel’s input. Israel’s attempts to provide official evidence were refused. The Special Representative had left no real opportunity for Israel’s reservations to be considered, making it clear that the Office’s engagement with Israel was a formality. He expressed concern that sensitive information, intended only for United Nations officials, had been leaked to the press, and concern over the report’s statement that the question of intent when determining responsibility would not be a crucial consideration, which contravened international law.
GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI (Canada), welcoming today’s adoption of the resolution, said that he was deeply saddened by the many children, both Israeli and Palestinian, injured and killed during the 2014 Gaza conflict, for which Hamas was solely responsible. As the Secretary-General’s report noted, the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups from populated areas endangered civilian populations in both Israel and Gaza and led to deaths and injuries among children. The report, however, demonstrated an overt bias by singling out Israel for one-sided and disproportionate criticism. The fact that 32 paragraphs were devoted to Israel — far more than to any other Member State, including Syria, the Central African Republic and Sudan — spoke to the need to provide a more honest, impartial and balanced view of the situation on the ground than was found in the report. That slanted view undermined the integrity of such an important document.
NABEEL MUNIR (Pakistan) …The year 2014 was a grim year for the hapless children of occupied Palestine, where the 50-day military invasion of Gaza left over 550 dead and 4,000 injured. Yet those child deaths and injuries were conveniently described as accidental by Israeli inquiry. Pakistan was concerned at the selective approach to listing adopted for this year’s report. That amounted to condoning the grave crimes committed against Palestinian children, an approach that would not only damage the credibility of the mandate, but also set a bad precedent for the future.
MANSOUR AYYAD SH A ALOTAIBI (Kuwait), speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said the decision to exclude Israel from the annexes of the Secretary-General’s report not only put the United Nations integrity at stake, but further emboldened Israel’s impunity to continue committing its flagrant and systematic violations of human rights. The Special Representative’s 2015 annual report was a credible instrument that identified and illustrated Israel’s innumerable violations, perpetrated mainly against Palestinian children. The OIC shared concerns over those violations and about the human rights indicators for Palestinian children, which had deteriorated sharply as a result of the latest Israeli military offensive in 2014. The Organization reiterated its call on the international community, particularly the Council, to uphold its responsibilities to avert the deteriorating situation in Palestine and ensure justice and protection for the rights of the vulnerable Palestinian children, as well as integrity of efforts to offer a political horizon forward so as to empower the Palestinian people and provide hope at a time of widespread desperation.
The full text of resolution 2225 (2015) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Reaffirming its resolutions 1261 (1999) of 25 August 1999, 1314 (2000) of 11 August 2000, 1379 (2001) or 20 November 2001, 1460 (2003) of 30 January 2003, 1539 (2004) of 22 April 2004, 1612 (2005) of 26 July 2005, 1882 (2009) of 4 August 2009, 1998 (2011) of 12 July 2011, 2068 (2012) of 19 September 2012, 2143 (2014) of 7 March 2014, and all relevant statements of its President, which contribute to a comprehensive framework for addressing the protection of children affected by armed conflict,
“Reiterating its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and, in this connection, its commitment to address the widespread impact of armed conflict on children,
“Acknowledging that its resolutions, their implementation and the Statements of its President on children and armed conflict as well as the conclusions of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict have generated progress in preventing and responding to violations and abuses committed against children, in particular in the demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration of thousands of children, the signing of action plans between parties to armed conflict and the delisting of parties to conflict from the Annexes to the Secretary-General’s annual report,
“Remaining however deeply concerned over the lack of progress on the ground in some situations of concern, where parties to conflict continue to violate with impunity the relevant provisions of applicable international law relating to the rights and protection of children in armed conflict,
“Recalling that all parties to armed conflict must comply strictly with the obligations applicable to them under international law for the protection of children in armed conflict, including those contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of Children in armed conflict, as well as the Geneva Conventions of 12th August 1949 and the Additional Protocols of 1977,
“Convinced that the protection of children in armed conflict should be an important aspect of any comprehensive strategy to resolve conflict and build peace and stressing also the importance of adopting a broad strategy of conflict prevention, which addresses the root causes of armed conflict in a comprehensive manner in order to enhance the protection of children on a long-term basis,
“Stressing the primary role of Governments in providing protection and relief to all children affected by armed conflict and recognizing the importance of strengthening national capacities in this regard,
“Reiterating that all action undertaken by United Nations entities within the framework of the monitoring and reporting mechanism must be designed to support and supplement, as appropriate, the protection and rehabilitation roles of national Governments,
“Recognizing also the important roles that local leaders and civil society networks can play in enhancing community-level protection and rehabilitation, including non-stigmatization, for children affected by armed conflict,
“Recalling the responsibility of all Member States to comply with their respective obligations to end impunity and to investigate and prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other egregious crimes perpetrated against children and noting that the fight against impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern committed against children has been strengthened through the work on and prosecution of these crimes by the International Criminal Court, ad hoc and mixed tribunals and specialized chambers in national tribunals,
“Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 8 June 2015 (S/2015/409) and stressing that the present resolution does not seek to make any legal determination as to whether situations which are referred to in the Secretary-General’s report are or are not armed conflicts within the context of the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols thereto, nor does it prejudge the legal status of the non-State parties involved in these situations,
“Expressing grave concern over the abduction of children in situations of armed conflict, the majority of which are perpetrated by non-State armed groups, recognizing that abductions occur in a variety of settings, including schools, further recognizing that abduction often precedes or follows other abuses and violations of applicable international law against children, including those involving recruitment and use, killing and maiming, as well as rape and other forms of sexual violence, which may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity, and calling on all Member States to hold perpetrators of abductions accountable,
“Gravely concerned by the human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law committed by non-state armed groups, in particular violent extremist groups, including mass abductions, rape and other forms of sexual violence such as sexual slavery, particularly targeting girls, which can cause displacement and affect access to education and healthcare services, and emphasizing the importance of accountability for such abuses and violations,
“Noting that Article 35 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child calls for States Parties to take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction of, the sale of or traffic in children for any purpose or in any form,
“Gravely concerned by the detrimental effects of the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons on children in armed conflict, in particular due to recruitment and use of children by parties to armed conflict, as well as their re-recruitment, killing and maiming, rape and other sexual violence, abductions, attacks on schools and hospitals in violation of international law,
“Stressing that the best interests of the child as well as the specific needs and vulnerabilities of children should be considered when planning and carrying out actions concerning children in situations of armed conflict,
“Recalling the obligations of all parties to armed conflict applicable to them under international humanitarian law and human rights law, emphasizing that no child should be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily and calling on all Parties to conflict to cease unlawful or arbitrary detention as well as torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment imposed on children during their detention,
“Recognizing the importance of providing timely and appropriate reintegration and rehabilitation assistance to children affected by armed conflict, while ensuring that the specific needs of girls as well as children with disabilities are addressed, including access to health care, psychosocial support, and education programmes that contribute to the well-being of children and to sustainable peace and security,
“Calling on all parties to conflict to respect the civilian character of schools as such in accordance with international humanitarian law,
“1. Strongly condemns all violations of applicable international law involving the recruitment and use of children by parties to armed conflict as well as their re-recruitment, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, abductions, attacks against schools and hospitals as well as denial of humanitarian access by parties to armed conflict and all other violations of international law, including international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law, committed against children in situations of armed conflict and demands that all relevant parties immediately put an end to such practices and take special measures to protect children;
“2. Reaffirms that the monitoring and reporting mechanism will continue to be implemented in situations listed in annex I and annex II (“the annexes”) to the reports of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, in line with the principles set out in paragraph 2 of its resolution 1612 (2005), and that its establishment and implementation shall not prejudge or imply a decision by the Security Council as to whether or not to include a situation on its agenda;
“3. Recalls paragraph 16 of its resolution 1379 (2001) and requests the Secretary-General also to include in the annexes to his reports on children and armed conflict those parties to armed conflict that engage, in contravention of applicable international law, in patterns of abduction of children in situations of armed conflict, bearing in mind all other violations and abuses against children, and notes that the present paragraph will apply to situations in accordance with the conditions set out in paragraph 16 of its resolution 1379 (2001);
“4. Calls upon those parties listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict that commit violations and abuses against children in contravention of applicable international law, including abductions of children in situations of armed conflict, to prepare and adopt without delay, concrete time-bound action plans to halt those violations and abuses in collaboration with the United Nations;
“5. Urges for the immediate, safe and unconditional release of abducted children by all Parties to conflict and encourages Member States, United Nations entities, and regional and sub-regional organizations to undertake relevant efforts to obtain the safe release of abducted children, including through establishing standard operating procedures on the handover of children to relevant civilian child protection actors, as well as to seek to ensure their family reunification, rehabilitation and reintegration;
“6. Encourages Member States to consider non-judicial measures as alternatives to prosecution and detention that focus on the rehabilitation and reintegration for children formerly associated with armed forces and armed groups taking into account that deprivation of liberty of children should be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time, as well as to avoid wherever possible the use of pretrial detention for children;
“7. Expresses deep concern that the military use of schools in contravention of applicable international law may render schools legitimate targets of attack, thus endangering the safety of children and in this regard encourages Member States to take concrete measures to deter such use of schools by armed forces and armed groups;
“8. Stresses the importance of regular and timely consideration of violations and abuses committed against children in armed conflict, in this regard welcomes the sustained activity of its Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and invites the Working Group to make full use of tools within its mandate to promote the protection of children affected by armed conflict, including through increasing engagement with concerned Member States, in light of ongoing discussions on enhancing compliance;
“9. Continues to urge Member States, United Nations entities, regional and sub-regional organizations and other parties concerned to ensure that child protection provisions, including those relating to the release and reintegration of children formerly associated with armed forces or armed groups, are integrated into all peace negotiations, ceasefire and peace agreements, and in provisions for ceasefire monitoring;
“10. Welcomes the progress made under the “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign towards ending and preventing the recruitment and use of children by Government armed forces in conflict by 2016, further urges concerned Governments to continue to undertake all efforts in order to ensure that no children are in their ranks in conflict, and calls on Member States, all relevant United Nations entities, NGOs and the donor community to support the campaign in their various capacities;
“11. Invites the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict to update the Security Council on the campaign “Children, Not Soldiers” as well as on the progress made in the signing and implementation of action plans or commitments by non-State armed groups, including about the process and progress in delisting concerned parties;
“12. Urges all parties concerned, including Member States, United Nations entities, as well as financial institutions to support, as appropriate, bearing in mind national ownership, the development and strengthening of the capacities of national institutions and local civil society networks for advocacy, protection and rehabilitation of children affected by armed conflict as well as national accountability mechanisms with timely, sustained and adequate resources and funding;
“13. Urges concerned Member States, when undertaking security sector reforms, to mainstream child protection, such as the inclusion of child protection in military training and standard operating procedures, including on the handover of children to relevant civilian child protection actors, the establishment of child protection units in national security forces, and the strengthening of effective age assessment mechanisms to prevent underage recruitment, while stressing in the latter regard the importance of ensuring universal birth registration, including late birth registration which should remain an exception;
“14. Emphasizes the responsibility of all States to put an end to impunity and to investigate and prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other egregious crimes perpetrated against children and highlights in this regard the contribution of the International Criminal Court, in accordance with the principle of complementarity to national criminal jurisdictions as set out in the Rome Statute;
“15. Recognizes the role of United Nations peacekeeping operations and political missions in the protection of children, particularly the crucial role of child protection advisers in mainstreaming child protection and leading monitoring, prevention and reporting efforts in missions, and in this regard reiterates its decision to continue the inclusion of specific provisions for the protection of children in the mandates of all relevant United Nations peacekeeping operations and political missions, encourages deployment of child protection advisers to such missions, and calls upon the Secretary-General to ensure that the need for and the number and roles of such advisers are systematically assessed during the preparation and renewal of each United Nations peacekeeping operation and political mission;
“16. Calls for the continued implementation by United Nations peacekeeping operations of the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of their personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, reiterates its request to the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to continue taking appropriate preventive action, such as mandatory pre-deployment child protection training including on sexual exploitation and abuse, and to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;
“17. Further urges all United Nations entities, including peacekeeping missions, political missions, peacebuilding offices, United Nations offices, agencies, funds and programmes to give full attention to violations against children in the application of the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy on United Nations Support to non-United Nations Security Forces;
“18. Reiterates its requests to the Secretary-General to continue to submit comprehensive annual reports to the Council on the implementation of its resolutions and Presidential statements on children and armed conflict and to ensure that in all his reports on country-specific situations the matter of children and armed conflict is included as specific aspect of the report;
“19. Decides to remain actively seized of this matter.”
For information media. Not an official record.
Document Type: French text, Press Release, Security Council Briefing, Video
Document Sources: Secretary-General, Security Council, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict
Subject: Armed conflict, Casualties, Children, Gaza Strip, Human rights and international humanitarian law, Protection, Security issues, Terrorism
Publication Date: 18/06/2015