19 August 1997


Olara Otunnu (Uganda) To Coordinate Inter-Agency Efforts, Building on Work of Predecessor, Graca Machel (Mozambique)

Statement issued by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

In accordance with General Assembly resolution 51/77 of December 1996, the Secretary-General has decided to appoint Olara Otunnu (Uganda) for a period of three years as his Special Representative to study the impact of armed conflict on children. Mr. Otunnu’s nomination is based on extensive consultations held with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). At the recommendation of the General Assembly, the Special Representative is mandated to assess progress achieved, steps taken and difficulties encountered in strengthening the plight of children affected by armed conflict, encourage the development of networking, foster international cooperation to ensure respect for children’s rights in these situations and to contribute to the coordination of efforts by Governments and relevant United Nations bodies, specialized agencies as well as other competent bodies and non-governmental organizations. The Special Representative is furthermore requested to work closely with the Committee on the Rights of the Child and to report annually to the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights on his findings. The Special Representative will be supported substantively and logistically in his efforts by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNICEF and UNHCR. Mr. Otunnu succeeds the expert appointed by the Secretary-General on the impact of armed conflict on children, Graca Machel of Mozambique. The Secretary-General wishes to take this opportunity to convey his warmest appreciation for the ground-breaking work in the protection of children affected by armed conflicts and express his gratitude for Ms. Machel’s personal and professional commitment in the exercise of her mandate. The Secretary-General is of the opinion that Ms. Machel’s study (A/51/306), which demonstrates the centrality of the protection and care of children in conflict situations in relation to international human rights, peace and security and the development agenda, provides a solid basis in Mr. Otunnu’s endeavours to promote urgent and resolute action on the part of the international community to redress the plight of children in situations of armed conflicts.