Role of the Security Council

In 1999, the United Nations Security Council accepted the fact that grave violations against children during conflict is a peace and security issue. As a result, the Secretary-General was requested to provide every year a report on children and armed conflict to the Council.

Security Council Open Debates on Children and Armed Conflict

The Security Council meets every year during the Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict where the Special Representative, on behalf of the Secretary-General, presents his annual report on children and armed conflict and where Member States can comment on the most recent trends. With a resolution or presidential statement, the Security Council traditionally concludes the debate and decides which action has to be taken to address the most pressing child protection issues.

Tools to strengthen child protection compliance

With the adoption of eight resolutions and several presidential statements, the Security Council has developed important tools to strengthen child protection and to bring perpetrators into compliance with international standards. These tools include:

1. Naming and shaming exercise

In 2001, the Council passed Resolution 1379 which recommended that the Secretary-General list parties in his annual report who recruit and use children. Killing and maiming and sexual violence in conflict (Resolution 1882 in 2009) and attacks on schools and hospitals (Resolution 1998 in 2011), were later added as criteria for listing.

2. Action plans

In order to create an incentive for perpetrators to end these violations and to get off the list, the Security Council developed the concept of action plans by Resolution 1460 (2003). The concept required listed parties to enter into talks with the United Nations and work towards an agreement to halt these violations. Upon United Nations verification that the action plan has been fully implemented and violations stopped, the parties can be removed from the “list of shame”.

3. Establishment of a monitoring and reporting mechanism (MRM) on grave child rights violations

The MRM was established by Security Council resolution 1612 (2005) to report on six grave violations against children in armed conflict:

4. Creation of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

Under resolution 1612 (2005), the Security Council established the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. The body – currently chaired by Germany – reviews reports on the situation of children in specific country situations and gives guidance to parties to conflict and the United Nations in how to better protect children.

5. The adoption of sanctions

Since resolution 1539 (2004), the international response also foresees punitive measures against individuals violating the rights of children which includes arms embargoes, assets freeze and travel bans. The commitment to consider sanctions has been reaffirmed in subsequent resolutions and led to targeted measures against individuals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cote d’Ivoire.;