The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/67/845–S/2013/245) issued on 15 May 2013.
Since the end of the political crisis in Côte d’Ivoire in May 2011, the United Nations has observed a decrease in the number of grave violations against children, with 65 cases documented in 2012, as opposed to 336 in 2011. Of those 65 cases, 34 were attributed to the Republican Forces of Côte d’Ivoire and 31 to armed elements, consisting of pro-Gbagbo elements and other militia groups operating along the border.
The United Nations verified seven cases of recruitment and use of children, all attributed to the national armed forces, during the reporting period. In April 2012, for example, it verified the presence of four children between 14 and 16 years of age at army checkpoints in the towns of Mahapleu, Tai and Duekuoe. In October 2012, it also documented three cases of boys manning an army checkpoint near San Pedro. The boys had been recruited by the army in 2011, when they were 17 years of age.
The United Nations documented 9 cases of killing and 21 cases of maiming of children in 2012. Of those cases, 14 were a result of unexploded ordnance, mostly along the border with Liberia, and occurred during or following attacks carried out by unidentified armed groups operating in those areas. Four cases of killing of children were attributed to an attack perpetrated by armed youth groups in the Nahibly camp for internally displaced persons in Duekoue in July 2012. In addition, a child was killed during an operation by the national armed forces in Arrah and another during an attack by an unidentified armed group in Paha-Tabou.
During the reporting period, the United Nations registered 21 cases of conflict-related sexual violence against children, of which 9 were perpetrated by the national armed forces and 12 by unidentified armed elements. Such incidents were particularly prevalent in the west of Côte d’Ivoire, where armed elements continued to attack civilians, in particular women and girls, at checkpoints and during patrols.
The number of attacks against schools and hospitals significantly decreased during the reporting period, with 7 verified cases in 2012, as opposed to 477 in 2011. The United Nations verified that the national armed forces used a health centre, a primary school and a children’s community education centre in Grabou. In addition, they erected checkpoints in the vicinity of four primary schools located in Touba, Ziriglo, Tao-Zeo and Keibly, putting children at risk of attack by armed elements.
A national child protection policy was finalized in 2012 and is pending adoption by the Government. On 27 December 2012, the Chief of Staff of the national armed forces designated a child protection focal point and committed himself to developing an operational workplan to work with the United Nations to prevent violations against children, in particular recruitment and use of children. A national disarmament, demobilization and reintegration policy for former combatants was adopted in August 2012, in which it was stated that efforts had been made to discharge and reintegrate children. That commitment has not yet translated into a clear implementation strategy, however. I encourage the Government to develop such a strategy to ensure the full reintegration of any children identified in the course of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process.