Security Council SC/7219

4422nd and 4423rd Meetings* (AM & PM) 20 November 2001

Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution 1379 (2001); Former Sierra Leonean Child Soldier Appeals for Action

Recognizing the harmful and widespread impact of armed conflict on children and the long-term consequences on durable peace, security and development, the Security Council this afternoon expressed its readiness to explicitly include provisions for the protection of children, when considering mandates for peacekeeping operations.

In the second of two meetings today, the Council took that action as it unanimously adopted resolution 1379 (2001) by whose terms it also expressed its readiness to continue to include child protection advisers on peacekeeping operations. In that context, the Secretary-General was asked to take the protection of children into account in peacekeeping plans submitted to the Council, by including, on a case-by case basis, child-protection staff in missions and peace-building operations.

The Council also asked the Secretary-General to continue, and intensify, monitoring and reporting activities by peacekeeping and peace-building support operations on the situation of children in armed conflict. In a report requested by the Council on the resolution s implementation, the Secretary-General was requested to attach a list of parties to armed conflict that recruit or use children in violation of their international obligations.

The resolution before the Council today tells each of us what we have to do to protect children in armed conflict , United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Council in the first meeting today, which was addressed by over

30 speakers. He said that the text called on States to punish conduct that fuelled and exacerbated war and drew attention to issues such as the recruitment of children and trafficking in arms and natural resources. It also urged donors, lenders, the United Nations, international financial institutions and others to use their financial leverage and influence as well.

* The 4420th & and 4421st Meetings were closed.

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Also in today s resolution, the Council further expressed its intention to call upon the parties to a conflict to make special arrangements for the protection and assistance requirements of women, children and other vulnerable groups. It also underlined the importance of the full, safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel, goods and assistance to all children affected by armed conflict.

By other terms, the Council expressed its intention to consider taking appropriate steps to address the links between armed conflict and terrorism, the illicit trade and trafficking in precious minerals, small arms and light weapons, as well as other criminal activities which could prolong armed conflict or intensify its impact in civilian populations, including children.

By further terms, the Council undertook to consider, when imposing punitive measures, the socio-economic impact of sanctions on children in order to provide appropriate humanitarian exemptions that would take account of their specific needs and vulnerability, as well as minimize such impact.

The resolution also called on all parties to armed conflict to fully respect international laws related to the rights and protection of children in armed conflict; provide protection and assistance to refugees and internally displaced people; take special measures to promote and protect the rights of girls, meet their needs and put an end to all forms of violence and exploitation; and provide protection for children in peace agreements.

By other terms, the Council urged Member States to end impunity; prosecute those responsible for crimes against humanity and other egregious crimes committed against children; and exclude, where feasible, those crimes from amnesty provisions and relevant legislation. Member States were also urged to consider measures to discourage corporate actors within their jurisdiction from maintaining commercial relations with parties to armed conflicts, who violate applicable international law on the protection of children in armed conflict. States were also urged to take further measures against corporate actors, individuals and entities under their jurisdiction who engaged in illicit trading of natural resources and small arms.

Further by the text, States were urged to ratify both the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on involvement of children in armed conflict and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 182 on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

Olara Otunnu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, said there was an urgent need for the international community to organize a more systematic and effective way of monitoring and reporting the conduct of parties to the conflict in relation to their treatment of children. Unless critical knowledge gaps were filled, interventions were unlikely to be effective. He had proposed a Research Agenda on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children to focus on filling knowledge gaps in the specific areas. The idea was to generate research outcomes and products that were responsive to practical needs, and help to inform and strengthen policy-making and action.

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Mr. Otunnu also underscored that the international community was not doing enough to prevent harm to girls in wartime and to ensure appropriate recovery and rehabilitation services in the aftermath. He appealed to the Council and the international community to support the efforts of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA) to ensure that child protection remained a priority throughout the peacemaking and peace-building processes in that country.

Also in his statement this morning, Mr. Annan stressed that field monitoring was essential, and he would continue to ensure the deployment of child protection advisers. The Council also needed timely, accurate information about the implementation of its resolutions, and he was committed to providing that. He underscored that he also stood ready to bring to your attention the identities of parties that are in violation of any part of this resolution .

Alhaji Babah Sawaneh, a 14-year old former child soldier from Sierra Leone, who was abducted by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) when he was 10 years old, also addressed the Council today, describing his two-year ordeal as a child combatant and his experience with disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.

He appealed to the Council on behalf of the children of Sierra Leone to do all it could to end their sad tale. We want to be able to move about freely in all parts of the country to attend the schools of our choice , he said. We want to be able to visit our friends and families everywhere in the country without fear of abduction, recruitment and other dangers. Above all we want our parents to be able to work and educate us and to become useful citizens. He hoped that governments and the United Nations would listen to children and take their words into account.

Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), addressed the Council, as well, today.

Statements were also made in the first meeting today by the representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Norway, China, Ukraine, Mali, Russian Federation, Ireland, Bangladesh, Colombia, Tunisia, France, Singapore, Mauritius, and Jamaica.

The representatives of Belgium (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Egypt, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Japan, South Africa, Canada, Iraq, Israel, Nigeria and Malaysia addressed the Council today, as well.

The first meeting, which began at 11:45 a. m. , was suspended at 1:17 p. m. , resumed at 3:20 p. m. , and adjourned at 6:22 p. m.

The second meeting in which the resolution was adopted, began at 6:23 p. m. and was adjourned at 6:25 p. m.

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Resolution

The full text of resolution 1379 (2001) reads, as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its resolution 1314 (2000) of 11 August 2000,

Further recalling its resolutions 1261 (1999) of 28 August 1999, 1265 (1999) of 17 September 1999, 1296 (2000) of 19 April 2000, 1306 (2000) of 5 July 2000, 1308 (2000) of 17 July 2000 and 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000 and the statements of its President of 29 June 1998 (S/PRST/1998/18), 12 February 1999 (S/PRST/1999/6), 8 July 1999 (S/PRST/1999/21), 30 November 1999 (S/PRST/1999/34), 20 July 2000 (S/PRST/2000/25) and of 31 August 2001 (S/PRST/2001/21),

Recognizing the harmful and widespread impact of armed conflict on children and the long-term consequences this has for durable peace, security and development,

Bearing in mind the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and recalling the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security and, in this connection, its commitment to address the impact of armed conflict on children,

Underlining the need for all parties concerned to comply with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and with international law, in particular those regarding children,

Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 7 September 2001 on the implementation of resolution 1314 (2000) on children and armed conflict,

1. Expresses, accordingly, its determination to give the fullest attention to the question of the protection of children in armed conflict when considering the matters of which it is seized;

2. Expresses its readiness explicitly to include provisions for the protection of children, when considering the mandates of peacekeeping operations, and reaffirms, in this regard, its readiness to continue to include, where appropriate, child protection advisers in peacekeeping operations;

3. Supports the ongoing work of the Secretary General, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, other agencies of the United Nations system and other international organizations dealing with children affected by armed conflict;

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4. Expresses its intention, where appropriate, to call upon the parties to a conflict to make special arrangements to meet the protection and assistance requirements of women, children and other vulnerable groups, including through the promotion of days of immunization” and other opportunities for the safe and unhindered delivery of basic necessary services;

5. Underlines the importance of the full, safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel and goods and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all children affected by armed conflict;

6. Expresses its intention to consider taking appropriate steps, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, to address the linkages between armed conflict and terrorism, the illicit trade in precious minerals, the illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons, and other criminal activities, which can prolong armed conflict or intensify its impact on civilian populations, including children;

7. Undertakes to consider, as appropriate when imposing measures under Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations, the economic and social impact of sanctions on children, with a view to providing appropriate humanitarian exemptions that take account of their specific needs and their vulnerability and to minimize such impact;

8. Calls upon all parties to armed conflict to:

(a) Respect fully applicable international law relating to the rights and protection of children in armed conflict, in particular the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the obligations applicable to them under the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989, the Optional Protocol thereto of 25 May 2000, and the amended Protocol II to the Convention on Prohibition or Restriction on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, the International Labour Organization Convention No. 182 on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour and the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, and notes the inclusion as a war crime in the Rome Statute of the conscription or enlistment of children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities;

(b) Provide protection and assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons, the majority of whom are women and children, in accordance with applicable international norms and standards;

(c) Take special measures to promote and protect the rights and meet the special needs of girls affected by armed conflict, and to put an end to all forms of violence and exploitation, including sexual violence, particularly rape;

(d) Abide by the concrete commitments they have made to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, as well

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as relevant United Nations bodies, to ensure the protection of children in situations of armed conflict;

(e) Provide protection of children in peace agreements, including, where appropriate, provisions relating to the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation of child soldiers and the reunification of families, and to consider, when possible, the views of children in those processes;

9. Urges Member States to:

(a) Put an end to impunity, prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other egregious crimes perpetrated against children and exclude, where feasible, these crimes from amnesty provisions and relevant legislation, and ensure that post-conflict truth-and-reconciliation processes address serious abuses involving children;

(b) Consider appropriate legal, political, diplomatic, financial and material measures, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, in order to ensure that parties to armed conflict respect international norms for the protection of children;

(c) Consider, where appropriate, measures that may be taken to discourage corporate actors, within their jurisdiction, from maintaining commercial relations with parties to armed conflicts, that are on the Security Council’s agenda, that violate internationally accepted child protection standards or that contribute to prolonging armed conflicts;

(d) Consider measures against corporate actors, individuals and entities under their jurisdiction that engage in illicit trade in natural resources and small arms, in violation of relevant Security Council resolutions and the Charter of the United Nations;

(e) Consider ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and the International Labour Organization Convention No. 182 on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour;

(f) Consider further steps for the protection of children, especially in the context of the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010);

10. Requests the Secretary-General to:

(a) Take the protection of children into account in peacekeeping plans submitted to the Security Council, inter alia, by including, on a case by case basis, child protection staff in peacekeeping and, as appropriate, peace-building operations and strengthening expertise and capacity in the area of human rights, where necessary;

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(b) Ensure that all peacekeeping personnel receive and follow appropriate guidance on HIV/AIDS and training in international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law relevant to children;

(c) Continue and intensify, on a case by case basis, monitoring and reporting activities by peacekeeping and peace-building support operations on the situation of children in armed conflict;

11. Requests the agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations to:

(a) Coordinate their support and assistance to parties to armed conflict in fulfilling their obligations and commitments to children;

(b) Take account of ways of reducing child recruitment that is contrary to accepted international standards when formulating development assistance programmes;

(c) Devote particular attention and adequate resources to the rehabilitation of children affected by armed conflict, particularly their counselling, education and appropriate vocational opportunities, as a preventive measure and as a means of reintegrating them into society;

(d) Ensure that the special needs and particular vulnerabilities of girls affected by armed conflict, including those heading households, orphaned, sexually exploited and used as combatants, are duly taken into account in the design of development assistance programmes, and that adequate resources are allocated to such programmes;

(e) Integrate HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, care and support into emergency, humanitarian, and post-conflict programmes;

(f) Support the development of local capacity to address post-conflict child rehabilitation and reintegration concerns;

(g) Promote a culture of peace, including through support for peace education programmes and other non-violent approaches to conflict prevention and resolution, in peace-building activities;

12. Encourages the international financial institutions and regional financial and development institutions to:

(a) Devote part of their assistance to rehabilitation and reintegration programmes conducted jointly by agencies, funds, programmes and State parties to conflicts that have taken effective measures to comply with their obligations to protect children in situations of armed conflict, including the demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers, in particular those who have been used in armed conflicts contrary to international law;

(b) Contribute resources for quick-impact projects in conflict zones where peacekeeping operations are deployed or are in the process of deployment;

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(c) Support the efforts of the regional organizations engaged in activities for the benefit of children affected by armed conflict, by providing them with financial and technical assistance, as appropriate;

13. Urges regional and subregional organizations and arrangements to:

(a) Consider establishing, within their secretariats, child protection mechanisms for the development and implementation of policies, activities and advocacy for the benefit of children affected by armed conflict, and consider the views of children in the design and implementation of such policies and programmes where possible;

(b) Consider including child protection staff in their peacekeeping and field operations and provide training to members of such operations on the rights and protection of children;

(c) Take steps leading to the elimination of cross-border activities deleterious to children in times of armed conflict, such as the cross-border recruitment and abduction of children, the sale of or traffic in children, attacks on camps and settlements of refugees and internally displaced persons, the illicit trade in precious minerals, the illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons, and other criminal activities;

(d) Develop and expand regional initiatives to prevent the use of child soldiers in violation of international law and to take appropriate measures to ensure the compliance by parties to armed conflict with obligations to protect children in armed conflict situations;

14. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to include in his written reports to the Council on conflict situations his observations concerning the protection of children and recommendations in this regard;

15. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report to the Council by 31 October 2002 on the implementation of this resolution and of resolutions 1261 (1999) and 1314 (2000);

16. Requests the Secretary-General to attach to his report a list of parties to armed conflict that recruit or use children in violation of the international obligations applicable to them, in situations that are on the Security Council’s agenda or that may be brought to the attention of the Security Council by the Secretary-General, in accordance with article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations, which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security;

17. Decides to remain actively seized of this matter.

Background

The Security Council met this morning to begin a day-long review of “Children and Armed Conflict”. It had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document A/56/342-S/2001/852), which was issued on 7 September 2001. The report is submitted in accordance with the terms of resolution 1314 adopted by the Council on 11 August 2000.

In that resolution, the Council expressed grave concern at the impact of armed conflict on children and underlined the importance of giving consideration to the special needs and vulnerabilities of girls affected by such conflict. The resolution urged that children’s human rights, their protection and welfare be incorporated in the development of policies and programmes, including those for prevention, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.

The resolution also reaffirmed the Council’s readiness to continue to include child protection advisers in future peacekeeping operations. The Council further urged all parties to armed conflict to respect international law regarding the rights and protection of children in armed conflict and urged Member States to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

Member States and relevant parts of the United Nations system were also urged to strengthen the capacities of national institutions and local civil society for ensuring the sustainability of local initiatives for the protection of children. Parties to conflicts were also asked to include provisions for the protection of children — including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of child combatants — in peace negotiations and agreements, and the involvement of children in those processes. Parties were also urged to abide by concrete commitments made by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General is Olara Otunnu. Appointed in September 1997, his mandate is to promote the protection, rights and welfare of children at every phase of a conflict. As a public advocate on behalf of children who have been brutalized and abused, he has been working to build greater awareness of their problems and to turn global outrage at those continuing abominations into a worldwide movement of repudiation.

Since the 1990 World Summit for Children, the United Nations has increasingly sought to draw international attention to the horrendous plight of children affected by armed conflict. In 1993, following a recommendation by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the General Assembly adopted resolution 48/157 (7 March 1994), recommending that the Secretary-General appoint an independent expert to study the impact of armed conflict on children. Gra a Machel, former Minister of Education of Mozambique, was appointed and charged with undertaking the study, with the special support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the United Nations Centre for Human Rights.

In 1996, Ms. Machel submitted her report, entitled “Impact of Armed Conflict on Children” (documents A/51/306 and Add. 1), to the Assembly at its fifty-first session. In response, the Assembly adopted resolution 51/77, in which it recommended that the Secretary-General appoint for a period of three years a Special Representative on the impact of armed conflict on children. The Assembly also called upon States and institutions concerned to provide voluntary contributions in support of the work of the Special Representative.

The present progress report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 1314 (2000) stipulates several important measures intended to protect children during and after conflict. It also informs the Council of actions under way to ensure implementation of earlier recommendations of the Secretary-General and other relevant Council resolutions, while highlighting key actions for the future.

The Secretary-General’s report states that in recent armed conflicts children have featured centrally as both targets and perpetrators of violence. A large number of them have been directly affected by armed conflict. The Secretary-General adds, however, that the growing awareness of the plight of war-affected children and increasing focus on their protection and rehabilitation have not yet, regrettably, ended children’s suffering during and after armed conflict. While there is commendable progress on many fronts, to the children tormented by the effects of armed conflict, efforts to bring about an “era of application” of protective norms and standards fall short both of their expectations and of universally agreed standards.

In addressing the consolidation of the normative framework, the Secretary-General stresses that the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict is one of the core treaties that States are expected to ratify during the forthcoming special session of the General Assembly on children. States are urged to take the necessary steps without further delay to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol. (The special session, which was scheduled to take place in New York from 19 to 21 September, was formally postponed by the General Assembly until 8-10 May 2002, in recognition of the tragedy that struck the United States on Tuesday, 11 September. )

Still addressing the consolidation of the normative framework, the Secretary-General’s report also underscores that States, in particular those considering the ratification of the Rome Statute for the Interactive Criminal Court, should review their national legislation with a view to defining the crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court as national crimes, and to ensure that national courts have jurisdiction over them and can prosecute egregious violations of children’s rights in the context of armed conflict, wherever they occur.

Regarding the monitoring of obligations and commitments, the report calls upon the Council and Member States to continue to take steps to ensure compliance by all parties to armed conflicts with their child protection obligations and the commitments they have made to his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, as well as relevant United Nations bodies.

The report also suggests that the Council may wish to ensure that the mandates of peace operations explicitly include provisions for the monitoring of the rights of children.

According to the Secretary-General, accurate and current information from a wide variety of sources about the protection of children’s rights in conflict situations should be made available to the Council and Member States. In addition, regional organizations are called upon to institute mechanisms for monitoring, and taking steps to curb, the cross-border movement of individuals and groups credibly accused of having violated their child protection commitments and obligations.

Addressing the issue of child protection on the United Nations agenda, the report states that the work of the informal inter-agency working group on the integration of child protection issues into peace negotiation and agreements should receive due attention and follow-up. It is also recommended that the training package developed by the informal working group on child-protection training for peacekeeping personnel should form a core component of training provided to such personnel. Member States are called upon to take similar steps.

The report further suggests that the Council should continue to include child protection elements in the mandates of relevant peacekeeping operations, and to provide for child protection advisers and child-focused human rights officers, where appropriate. The launch of the international research network on children and armed conflict should be supported, as well, notes the report.

Regarding the impact on children of the illicit exploitation of natural resources in zones of conflict, the Secretary-General recommends that the Council continue to consider targeted measures against parties to armed conflict, including complicit neighbours, whose actions contribute to the illegal exploitation of natural resources and the consequent fuelling of conflict. The Council should also continue its development of “strategic maps” of resource flows in zones of conflict characterized by egregious harm to children and civilians. There should be a particular focus on the beneficiaries of those flows, and the supply chains through which illegally procured resources are inserted into legal international markets.

The Secretary-General calls on the Council to consider the inclusion, where feasible, of specific provisions in the mandates of peacekeeping operations to monitor such activity. In addition, it could convene informal consultations with relevant actors, in particular with business leaders, on establishing mechanisms to curb those supply chains.

The report also suggests that multilateral development banks and the international corporate sector conduct “child impact assessments”, where feasible, with regard to particular investments and projects that they may be funding in or near zones of conflict. Such assessments will repay their own costs by leading to better relations with local communities and, hence, more viable investments, adds the Secretary-General.

Addressing DDR programmes for child soldiers and abducted children, the report stresses that the provision of adequate resources for such programming is crucial. The Council and Member States are, therefore, urged to provide sustained and adequate resources to all relevant actors engaged in implementing demobilization and reintegration programmes for children. Regional organizations and relevant bodies are encouraged to institute close and consistent mapping of cross-border activity pertaining to the recruitment and abduction of children and to prioritize on their agendas, the curbing of such activity.

On the links between HIV/AIDS, children and conflict, the Secretary-General states that future Council field missions may decide to include an assessment of the HIV/AIDS situation, with particular focus on the impact of that situation on children. He appeals to the Council, Member States, humanitarian organizations and donors to ensure that HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, care and support are mainstreamed into emergency humanitarian assistance and DDR and repatriation programmes, including those for male and female child soldiers. He also urges that sexual violence against women and children continue to be prosecuted as a war crime in domestic and international forums.

On the issue of impunity and the involvement and protection of children in the truth- and justice-seeking process, the report calls attention to the recommendations recently made in the Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, in which both the Council and the Assembly were urged to provide sufficient and sustained funding for international truth- and justice-seeking efforts, and to provide for such efforts within the peacekeeping mandates.

The report also calls on Member States, parties to armed conflict and other concerned actors to ensure that the truth- and justice-seeking processes envisaged in the aftermath of conflict pay systematic attention to the full range of children’s war-time experiences, the circumstances that allowed such abuses to occur, and the long-term interventions required to ensure rehabilitation and reintegration.

Regarding the issue of peace-building for children during and after conflict, the Secretary-General urges both the Council and Member States to consider specific means of involving local communities in war-affected areas in the development and implementation of the post-conflict response, in particular, those aspects that pertain to the rehabilitation of children affected by armed conflict.

Member States are further called upon to establish codes of conduct to improve restraints on the transfer of small arms and light weapons — in particular, to conflict zones where children’s rights are violated and children are used as soldiers. The Secretary-General suggests that the Council promote a culture of peace, including through support for peace education programmes and other non-violent approaches to conflict resolution, in its peace-building activities.

On the issue of regional responses to child protection concerns, the report urges Member States to provide the technical support and resources necessary for regional organizations to fulfil their roles in the protection of children in situations of armed conflict.

In his concluding observations, the Secretary-General states that, as delegations gather for the special session of the General Assembly on children, he sincerely hopes that decisive action will be taken to protect children and to actively dissuade, and seek to expose and sanction, those whose actions are beyond the pale. He also hopes that concrete commitments will be made by the Council and Member States so that all parties to armed conflict, and actors whose conduct indirectly fuels conflict, cannot but realize that the international community will accept nothing less than full compliance with child-protection obligations and commitments in time of war and in its aftermath.

Statements

Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN told the Council the situation in Afghanistan only reaffirmed the organization’s concern for the plight of war-affected children. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Olaru Otunnu, were, therefore, working with his Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, to ensure that the protection of children and civilians was a key part of efforts to restore and rebuild Afghanistan. “This generation of Afghan children must become the harbingers of peace”, he said.

He said the resolution that would be before the Council today indicated what everyone had to do to protect children in armed conflict. It called on States to punish conduct that fuelled and exacerbated war. It drew attention to issues such as the recruitment of children and trafficking in arms and natural resources. It also urged donors, lenders and others to use their financial leverage. Further, it insisted that the Council, the United Nations system and the international financial institutions and others use their influence, as well.

The Secretary-General said that field monitoring was essential and he would continue to ensure the deployment of child protection advisers. The Council also needed timely, accurate information about the implementation of its resolutions, and he said he was committed to providing that, adding, “I also stand ready to bring to your attention the identities of parties that are in violation of any part of this resolution. “

In conclusion, the Secretary-General said that wars, violence and political instability continued to inflict appalling damage to the children of the world. “I look forward to working with you in the struggle to keep their needs uppermost in our minds, and to ensure that the rights of children and child protection maintain a central role in the Organization’s agenda”, he said.

Under-Secretary-General OLARA Otunnu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, said that since the Council s first open debate devoted to the protections, rights and rehabilitation of children affected by armed conflict, there had been a progressive integration of those concerns into the peace and security agenda of the United Nations. Despite that progress, however, the overall situation of children exposed to war remained grave and unacceptable.

Reviewing the report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, he referred to measures which were particularly important, in order to change the situation of children on the ground. There was an urgent need, he said, for the international community to organize a more systematic and effective way of monitoring and reporting on the conduct of parties to conflict in relation to their treatment of children. Unless critical knowledge gaps were filled, interventions on behalf of children were unlikely to be effective. He had proposed a Research Agenda on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children to focus on filling knowledge gaps in the specific areas. The idea was to generate research outcomes and products that were responsive to practical needs, and help to inform and strengthen policy making and action.

He said the coming into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict would constitute a milestone in the collective endeavours to end child soldiering. The international community must undertake tangible action to ensure the application of the Optional Protocol in theatres of conflict through effective monitoring of conduct and the mobilization of concerted pressure. He said a particular scandal was the pillage of natural resources by parties to armed conflict. Resources that should provide for rehabilitation, education, health care and nutrition for children were, instead, being plundered by networks of local, regional and international actors. He suggested that targeted measures be taken against parties to the conflict and others who were complicit, and that peacekeeping mandates should provide for the monitoring of compliance with such measures.

He said the international community was not doing enough to prevent harm to girls in times of war, and to ensure appropriate recovery and rehabilitation services in war s aftermath. It must do more to protect and rehabilitate girls exposed to war. With regard to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the corridors of war , he urged the Council to continue to look at ways that HIV/AIDS could be combated. Education of peacekeeping personnel and the identification of children exposed to the virus, and provision of appropriate counselling and treatment for them, were essential.

Turning to the situation in Afghanistan, he appealed to the Council and the international community to support the efforts of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA) to ensure that child protection remained a priority throughout the peacemaking and peace-building processes in that country, including through the deployment of specialized child-protection staff. No peace was likely to be sustainable, he said, unless children and youth were provided with rehabilitation and hope, so that, instead of being potential spoilers, they became a constructive force in rebuilding their country. Only by doing what is right for children today can we build a solid foundation for peace and security tomorrow , he said.

CAROL BELLAMY, Executive Director of UNICEF, said that the draft resolution that would be before the Council today built upon two previous measures on the issue, as well as the Council s earlier resolutions on protection of civilians, on women, peace and security and on the threat of HIV/AIDS. Those measures were a testament to what the United Nations did best:changing attitudes through incremental developments; establishing standards for what was right and just; and making their implementation obligatory.

The issue of child soldiers was a prime example, she continued; as recently as five years ago, understanding and awareness of the issue had been limited. Today, a new international legal standard was in force – an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child — which raised the age of recruitment, and prohibited the involvement of children under the age of 18 in hostilities. The recruitment of children was also defined as a war crime in the Rome Statute for the establishment of the International Criminal Court. Under the terms of the draft before the Council, those who recruited or used children in violation of international obligations would be brought to the attention of the Council by the Secretary-General, who would be called on to prepare reports, as necessary. That was a crucial step in the campaign to end the recruitment of children for armed combat and their use as soldiers.

Access to children caught up in conflict remained a major problem, she said. Most child fatalities in armed conflict occurred not as a direct result of violence, but because children were denied access to such essential services as health care, food security and clean water. Last year s resolution 1314 called for unhindered access to children affected by armed conflict, and today s measure would reiterate that call with renewed urgency. It would also make explicit reference to internally displaced populations.

She said today s draft resolution also called upon parties to armed conflict to collaborate in Days of Immunization and other opportunities for the safe delivery of basic services. This year, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and their partners had been able to carry out successful national immunization days for polio eradication in many countries, including Sierra Leone, Angola and – just last week – Afghanistan. But those were just partial steps towards securing full, safe and unhindered access to children in situations of conflict. In that connection, she also pointed out that later today an initiative would be launch to dedicate the 2002 World Cup (football) to children. Part of the effort would be to call upon warring parties around the world to take special measures during the World Cup, to ensure humanitarian access to children.

She said it was also gratifying to see the issue of HIV/AIDS addressed in the draft. The call to ensure that all peacekeeping personnel receive appropriate guidance and training was a vital follow-up to resolution 1308 (2000). In line with the draft resolution, UNICEF would continue to seek to protect children from all forms of sexual violence and to include HIV/AIDS education as part of all emergency education programmes.

In Afghanistan, she said, the international community was confronting a crisis in which the survival of millions of children and women hinged on an immediate and coordinated response. According to estimates, more than 100,000 children could die during the winter, which was why UNICEF was urgently seeking short-term assistance in the form of continued funding, access to those in need and security for humanitarian staff.

In post-war situations and even during conflict, education provided an environment of relative stability and normalcy for children, she said. The Council s draft resolution pledged to put children at the centre of recovery and rehabilitation efforts in various parts of the world; UNICEF and its partners would do everything to make that a reality.

The Council was then addressed by ALHAJI BABAH SAWANEH, a 14-year old former child soldier from Sierra Leone, who said he was 10 years old when he was abducted by rebels during a Christmas holiday visit to an uncle living in a village in the north of the country. During his stay there, they heard that the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) were 10 miles away from them and they hid in the bush. On the second night, while looking for water for cooking, he and his eldest brother ran into rebels who first searched them for money then beat them up when none was found. The rebels took them back to the village, where they were tied up, beaten again and held out in the burning sun. Many houses were burnt, property destroyed and people killed. A group of rebels, who had gone into bush in search of food, then found his uncle and the rest of his family. His uncle was killed.

He described the events that followed:The rebels took them to their base, 100 miles away; it was a 10-day walk. On arrival at the RUF base, he was trained to shoot, and made to fight every time the rebels were attacked. During those attacks, we killed people, burned down houses, destroyed property and cut off limbs , he said. More often, however, he went on food raids and did domestic work for his commander s wife.

In January 2000, two years after his capture, United Nations peacekeepers met with his commander to explain the DDR process, and within two days more than 250 children were released into the custody of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). They were then taken to a care centre where he was first registered for demobilization and later handed over to Caritas Makeni for care and protection. He also reported immediately to the health centre because he was completely covered in scabies. He had not seen his family for about two years, so when Caritas said that