The Six Grave Violations
Children are affected by armed conflict in many different ways.
When the mandate of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict was created in 1996, the UN General Assembly sought to promote the collection of information about the plight of children affected by war, raise awareness, and foster international cooperation to strengthen their protection.
In 1999, the first resolution on children and armed conflict adopted by the United Nations Security Council placed the issue of children affected by war on the Council’s agenda. The resolution also identified and condemned six grave violations affecting children the most in times of war and asked the Secretary-General to report on the issue.
They six grave violations serve as the basis to gather information and report on violations affecting children, and are:
- Killing and maiming of children;
- Recruitment or use of children as soldiers;
- Sexual violence against children;
- Abduction of children;
- Attacks against schools or hospitals;
- Denial of humanitarian access for children.
Ending and preventing these six grave violations is the focus of the Special Representative’s work and advocacy.
Monitoring and reporting on the six violations
In 2005, the Security Council established a Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) to systematically monitor, document and report on violations committed against children in situations of concern around the world.
On the basis of this information, the United Nations Secretary-General names parties to conflict who recruit, kill or maim children, commit sexual violence, abduct children and attack schools and hospitals in his annual report on children and armed conflict for engagement with the goal of ending these violations.
In addition to the annual report, the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict reviews the country reports stemming from the MRM and makes recommendations on how to better protect children in specific country situations.
All our reports are available in the library.
For further information on the six grave violations, read our Working Paper “The Six Grave Violations against Children during Armed Conflict: The Legal Foundation“.