OSRSG/PR05/05 XXX July 2005

UN Security Council establishes monitoring and reporting system to protect children affected by armed conflict

Orders offending parties to prepare time-bound action plans to end violations

UNITED NATIONS, New York – The UN Security Council today voted unanimously to establish a comprehensive monitoring and reporting mechanism to ensure the protection of children exposed to armed conflict. The mechanism will monitor grave violations by all parties, both governments and insurgents, focusing particularly on: killing or maiming of children; recruiting or using child soldiers; attacks against schools or hospitals; rape or other grave sexual violence against children; and abduction of children. In the same resolution, the Security Council has ordered offending parties to prepare and implement, within twelve months, concrete action plans and timelines for ending violations against children. The Security Council also decided to establish its own special Working Group to oversee implementation of these measures and monitor progress in ending on-going violations against children.

Under the new mechanism, UN-led task forces will be established within conflict-affected countries to monitor the conduct of all parties, and to transmit regular reports to a central task force based at UN headquarters in New York. The reports compiled through the mechanism will serve as trigger for action against offending parties.

Commenting on the resolution adopted by the Security Council, UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara A. Otunnu, stated. This is a major and ground-breaking development. "We have now entered the ‘era of application'. For the first time, the UN is establishing on the ground a formal, structured and detailed compliance regime. This is the best way to ensure both accountability and compliance".

In its resolution the Security Council has directed UN peacekeeping missions and UN country teams to enter into immediate dialogue with offending parties listed in the Secretary-General's latest report (S/2005/72), in order to prepare and implement, within twelve months, concrete time- bound action plans for ending the violations for which they have been cited. Altogether the report lists 54 offending parties, governments as well as insurgents, drawn from 11 situations of conflict. The listed parties include: the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) from Sri Lanka; Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) from Colombia; Janjaweed from Sudan; the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) from Nepal; Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) from Uganda; Karen National Liberation Army from Myanmar; and government forces from DRC, Myanmar and Uganda.

The Security Council has signaled its determination on this issue by establishing, for the first time, its own special Working Group, composed of all 15 members, to review reports and action plans, and to consider targeted measures against offending parties, where sufficient or no progress is made. Such measures might include the imposition of travel restrictions on leaders and their exclusion from any governance structures and amnesty provisions, the imposition of arms embargoes, a ban on military assistance, and restriction on the flow of financial resources to the parties concerned.

In his statement to the Security Council, Mr. Otunnu stated, "The time has come for the international community to redirect its energies from the normative task of the elaboration of standards to the compliance mission of ensuring their application on the ground. Today, as never before, we have the necessary norms, institutions and means to realize the ‘era of application' for the protection of all children exposed to armed conflict."

In the last decade, 2 million children have been killed in situations of armed conflict, while 6 million children have been disabled or injured. Over a quarter of a million child soldiers are being used today in situations of armed conflict around the globe. Since 2003, over 11 million children have been displaced within their own countries, and 2.4 million children were forced to flee conflict and take refuge outside their home countries. Thousands of children, particularly girls continue to be subjected to rape and other grave sexual abuses in situations of conflict. Landmines kill or maim between 8, 000 to 10, 000 children every year.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict serves as international advocate for children affected by armed conflict by promoting standards and measures for their protection in times of war as well as their healing and social reintegration in the aftermath of conflict.

For further information, please contact

The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General

for Children and Armed Conflict:

Tonderai Chikuhwa, Programme Officer

Telephone: +1-212-963-0879; Fax: +1-212-963-0807; E-mail: Chikuhwa@un.org