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UN body urges end to use of child soldiers in Uganda and Somalia

UN body urges end to use of child soldiers in Uganda and Somalia

The Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict today adopted recommendations regarding children in armed conflict in Uganda and Somalia, as well as examining recent reports by the Secretary-General on the situation in Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The Working Group called on the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda to unconditionally release children used in their ranks.

“The LRA has ignored the repeated calls from the international community for too long and we hope that they will now immediately undertake actions for the sake of these children,” said Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

On Somalia, the Working Group appealed to the Government to ensure improved child protection, and called on all parties to stop recruiting children and demobilize those serving as soldiers.

Mr. Ban’s report on children in the DRC observed that while significant progress has been made by the Government to tackle the violation of children’s rights, impunity for crimes committed against children are cause for great concern.

“Children continue to be recruited and subjected to sexual violence,” Ms. Coomaraswamy noted. “Those who commit grave violations against the civilian population in open defiance of the national and international authorities must be held accountable.”

Regarding Chad, the Secretary-General’s report emphasizes the grave violations against children – who are recruited by all factions, killed and maimed by landmines and unexploded ordnances and subject to sexual violence – at the centre of humanitarian disasters.