The United Nations Security Council today received an action plan for the systematic monitoring and reporting of child abuse in situations of armed conflict (CAAC), or in “situations of concern,” with a view to triggering a strong international crackdown on offenders.
The report from Secretary-General Kofi Annan notes improvements in protecting children from war recruitment and abuse as important organizations have adopted many of the standards advocated and the estimated number of child soldiers has declined in the past 18 months to 300,000 from 380,000.
An international compliance regime would list all offending parties, whether from the government or rebel side, in all situations of concern, whether or not those situations are on the agenda of the Security Council, the report says.
The major violations would be recruiting children as soldiers, abducting, maiming, or killing them, subjecting them to rape and other sexual violence and attacking schools and hospitals.
The situation for children has notably improved in Afghanistan, Angola, the Balkans, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Timor Leste, it says. On the other hand, it names 54 offending parties and says situations of concern remain in Burundi, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Uganda.
For widespread and unacceptable patterns of violation, the Security Council should take such measures as imposing travel restrictions on leaders, excluding them from future governance structures or amnesties, arms embargoes and military assistance bans and restrictions on the flow of financial resources, the report says.
Other “destinations for action” would be the General Assembly, the Commission on Human Rights, the International Criminal Court, regional organizations and, as the first line of response, the national governments within whose borders the children are endangered, it says.