Global perspective Human stories

Security Council calls for an immediate end to recruitment of child soldiers

Security Council calls for an immediate end to recruitment of child soldiers

UN Security Council in session
Emphasizing the responsibilities of States to end impunity and prosecute those responsible for egregious crimes perpetrated against children, the United Nations Security Council this morning called on all parties to armed conflict who are recruiting or using children in violation of their international obligations to halt such practices immediately.

Unanimously adopting a new resolution, the Council reiterated its commitment to address the widespread impact of conflict on children in support of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's call for "an era of application" of international norms and standards for the protection of war-affected children.

Today's action follows the Council's 14 January public debate on the issue prompted by the Secretary-General's groundbreaking report, which listed 23 parties to conflicts on the Council's agenda - including both governments and insurgents - that continue to recruit or use child soldiers. The report focused on situations in Afghanistan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Somalia, but also highlighted other hot spots not on the Council's agenda where demobilization and reintegration programmes for child combatants were under way.

By further terms of the resolution, the Council called on the parties identified in that list to provide information on steps they have taken to halt their recruitment or use of children in armed conflict to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara Otunnu.

The Council also requested the Secretary-General to submit a report by 31 October on the implementation of this resolution and of resolution 1379, which would include, among other things, progress made by the parties listed in the Annex of his report in ending the recruitment or use of children in armed conflict and an assessment of violations of rights and abuses of such children.

In addition, the Council asked Mr. Annan to ensure that in all his reports to the Council on country-specific situations, the protection of children in armed conflict is included as a specific aspect of the report.

The Council also noted with concern all the cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children, especially girls, in humanitarian crisis, including those cases involving humanitarian workers and peacekeepers. In that regard, it requested contributing countries to incorporate the Six Core Principles of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Emergencies into pertinent codes of conduct for peacekeeping personnel and to develop appropriate disciplinary and accountability mechanisms.