Voicing great concern over a sharp increase in the killing and maiming of children in Mali due to ongoing fighting and instability, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and partners on Tuesday, called on all warring parties to stop attacks and “keep them out of harm’s way”.
The top UN official charged with representing the interests of children caught up in armed conflict, has signed a landmark new agreement on child protection with the Force Commander of a main Syrian opposition military alliance, it was announced on Monday, aimed at ending and preventing the recruitment and use of children under the age of 18.
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict has bemoaned the call of the international community to integrate child soldiers into society without providing the necessary financial resources.
Arguing that there is only a small amount of money for those released, Virginia Gamba flagged one case, which she described as “shameless”, in which 3,000 children were liberated with finances available to support only half of them for six months.
More than 5,000 child recruits were freed from armed groups last year thanks to the efforts of UN peacekeeping missions, a senior official with the world body has reported.
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping El Ghassim Wane said child protection is now “part and parcel” of mission mandates due to two decades of international efforts to protect children caught in conflict situations.
The UN this week commemorated the 20th anniversary of a General Assembly resolution that addresses this issue.