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.
In 2012, the country task force reported 355 incidents of grave violations against children. The most affected governorates were Baghdad, Kirkuk, Ninewa, Diyala, Anbar and Salahaddin. Islamic State of Iraq/Al-Qaida in Iraq (ISI/AQ-I) was responsible for most of the incidents.
During the reporting period, the country task force reported 178 incidents of killing and maiming of children, of which 123 were verified. A total of 412 child casualties were recorded, including the killing of 102 children (63 boys and 39 girls) and the injuring of 310 (176 boys and 134 girls) in waves of coordinated attacks throughout the country, mainly using improvised explosive devices. On 3 July 2012, in the Diwaniya district of Qadissiya governorate, an attack with an improvised explosive device claimed by ISI/AQ-I killed 12 boys and 4 girls and injured 16 boys and 6 girls.
The country task force also received reports of child recruitment by ISI/AQ-I, mostly in Ninewa (in particular in Mosul) and Salahaddin governorates. In all verified cases, the children were boys between 14 and 17 years of age who were used for support functions such as transporting improvised explosive devices, acting as lookouts and planting explosives. On 17 May 2012, in the Mosul district of Ninewa governorate, the Iraqi security forces killed two boys aged 16 and 17 years while they were reportedly planting a roadside bomb, a technique used by ISI/AQ-I.
Allegations were documented in Ninewa, Salahaddin and Anbar governorates on the reported association of children with the Awakening Councils. These reports indicated that boys were reportedly manning checkpoints after having been locally recruited using false identification documents.
As at December 2012, 302 children, including 13 girls, were held in detention facilities and had been indicted or convicted on terrorism-related charges under article 4 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (2005). These children, on average between 15 and 17 years of age, had been in detention for periods ranging from two months to more than three years.
The prevailing security situation also affected schools and hospitals. During the reporting period, education and health facilities were damaged by improvised explosive devices and small arms fire, and personnel were targeted. The country task force documented 42 incidents in Baghdad, Babil, Kirkuk, Ninewa, Salahaddin and Anbar governorates, of which 15 attacks against schools and 8 attacks against medical facilities were verified. In addition, 19 education staff and 17 medical personnel were killed or injured in 2012. In an incident on 24 September 2012 in Anbar governorate, a car bomb detonated in front of Al-Kifah Primary School on the first day of school, killing four girls and a boy and injuring six other children.
In 2012, the country task force also documented 14 cases of abduction of children, involving seven boys and seven girls. Although the motives for most of these incidents remained unclear, a strong nexus between the abduction of children and the funding of non-State armed groups in Iraq was observed. ISI/AQ-I was allegedly responsible for most of the incidents. Although most cases related to funding the activities of these armed groups, the abduction of a boy in Mosul in March 2012 was allegedly linked to forced recruitment into Birds of Paradise, the AQ-I youth wing.
The country task force further verified three incidents of denial of humanitarian access during the reporting period. In an incident on 13 June 2012, 27 civilians were killed and dozens of others injured when a transport truck used for the delivery of humanitarian supplies exploded in a camp for internally displaced persons near Baghdad. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
High-level engagement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2011 notwithstanding, a formal government mechanism on grave violations against children is yet to be established. I encourage the Government to establish such an interministerial committee to discuss and follow up on child protection concerns with the country task force.