NEW YORK, 24 July 2006: One year after the signing of a landmark resolution to protect children in conflict, United Nations Security Council members today discussed concrete next steps for protecting children in conflict zones from the most unspeakable violations – among them the abduction, sexual abuse and recruitment of children as combatants.
The discussion took place on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1612 (2005). The resolution called for the creation of a monitoring and reporting mechanism on six grave violations of children's rights, as well as for the creation of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.
UNICEF and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC), with other national and international partners, are implementing the resolution by monitoring and reporting in seven pilot countries: Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan. This work focuses on six categories: the killing and maiming of children, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals, sexual violence, child recruitment, and the denial of humanitarian access in conflict areas.
"For centuries, children have been victims of conflict, and their tragedy has been largely unrecorded and unnoticed," said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. "Now, with the support of the Security Council, we are finally able to monitor the true scale of the impact on children so that we can act effectively. In the past 10 years, some 2 million children have died as a result of war, while countless more have had to flee from their homes."
As a result of Resolution 1612, the Security Council Working Group held its first substantive meeting on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo in June. "It is hoped that the Working Group will give very specific recommendations to the Security Council on dealing with violators – the parties that continue to defy the resolutions", commented Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.
"Now that the mechanism is in place for monitoring, we must ensure that concrete measures are taken against violators. Children are the first victims of war either through direct violence as internally displaced people (IDPs) or as members of households. It is important that we move beyond the focus on child soldiers to address all grave violations against children as well as their reintegration into society. It is also crucial to expand monitoring beyond the pilot countries to ensure the protection of children in all conflict zones", insisted Ms. Coomaraswamy.
Together with its partners, UNICEF and the Office of the Special Representative reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring that the monitoring mechanism leads directly to programmes that provide appropriate care and support to children, including support for children who have endured trauma, as well as medical care, family tracing and reunification.
For more information:
Laurence Gerard, OSRSG-CAAC: (+1 212) 963 0984, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Hawke, UNICEF: (+1 212) 326 7269, email: email@example.com