Nearly twenty years ago, the world united to condemn and take action against the use of children in armed conflict. Since that time, thousands of children have been released as a result of action plans mandated by the UN Security Council aimed at ending and preventing the recruitment and use of children in conflict. Today, seven national security forces are listed for recruitment and use of children in the Annexes of the Annual Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict.
Children, Not Soldiers
The campaign Children, Not Soldiers , launched in March 2014 by Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, and UNICEF, seeks to galvanize support to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children by national security forces by 2016. The countries concerned by the campaign are :
Since the campaign launch in March 2014:
• The UN Security Council endorsed the objectives of the campaign in Resolution 2143 • The campaign received broad support from Member States, UN, NGO partners, regional organizations and the general public • Yemen signed an action plan in May 2014 • Chad completed all the requirements under its action plan and its national army was delisted from the Secretary-General’s list of parties who recruit child soldiers • South Sudan recommitted to the action plan signed in 2012 • The government of Afghanistan endorsed a road map to accelerate the implementation of its action plan • More than 400 children were released from Myanmar’s army • The President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo named a Presidential Advisor in charge of addressing sexual violence and child recruitment • Somalia has put in place mechanisms for the handover to the United Nations of children found in the ranks of its army and established a child protection unit in the Somali armed forces During the campaign, the Special Representative and UNICEF will work with their UN and NGO partners and redouble their efforts to support and strengthen their engagement with the concerned Governments to ensure that they reach their goal of ending and preventing recruitment and use of children in their security forces.
Momentum is building and the goal is within reach. Join the Special Representative and UNICEF and find out what you can do to help reach this important goal.