UN Security Council approves mechanism to protect children in war

26 July 2005
Olara Otunnu briefs journalists

With 2 million children killed and 6 million injured in wars over the past decade, the United Nations Security Council, in a landmark resolution, today unanimously condemned the continued recruitment of child soldiers and approved setting up a mechanism for monitoring, reporting on and punishing those responsible.

With 2 million children killed and 6 million injured in wars over the past decade, the United Nations Security Council, in a landmark resolution, today unanimously condemned the continued recruitment of child soldiers and approved setting up a mechanism for monitoring, reporting on and punishing those responsible.

"For the first time, the UN is establishing a formal, structured and detailed compliance regime of this kind. This brings together all the key elements we have been developing in the last few years to ensure accountability and compliance on the ground," Special Representative of the Secretary-General Olara Otunnu, who is in charge of Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), said.

The Council said the mechanism will monitor grave violations by both Governments and insurgents, focusing especially on crimes identified in the CAAC resolution it passed in April of last year, describing the violations and calling for the mechanism and for time-bound national and rebel action plans to comply with international law.

The crimes are: recruiting child soldiers in violation of international instruments, killing and maiming of children, rape and other sexual violence mostly committed against girls, abduction and forced displacement, denial of humanitarian access to children, attacks against schools and hospitals, as well as trafficking, forced labour and all forms of slavery.

In response to these grave violations, the Council said, institutions at the country-level would gather evidence and forward this information to the Secretary-General, who would report to the Security Council and the General Assembly.

The report may also be considered by other international, regional and national bodies, within their mandates and the scope of their work, in order to ensure the protection, rights and well-being of children affected by armed conflict, the Council said.

It stressed that it was concerned about the lack of progress by listed offending parties on developing and implementing the action plans for ending violations that the April resolution called for. It urged them to undertake this work without delay, in close collaboration with UN peacekeeping missions and UN country teams.

It also asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan to provide the criteria to be used in drawing up the action plans.

For the continuing offenders, the Council reaffirmed "its intention to consider imposing, through country-specific resolutions, targeted and graduated measures," such as banning the export and supply of military equipment and withholding other military assistance to parties in the conflict situations on the Security Council's agenda.

It urged Member States, the UN system and other multilateral organizations "to take appropriate measures to control illicit subregional and cross-border activities harmful to children, including illicit exploitation of natural resources, illicit trade in small arms, abduction of children" and their recruitment as combatants, as well as other violations of children's rights during war.

It welcomed recent initiatives by some regional and sub-regional organizations to mainstream child protection into their advocacy, policies and programmes, to develop peer review programmes and monitoring and reporting mechanisms and to include child-protection training in their peace and field operations.

 

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