Leila Zerrougui thanks Security Council for response to rising abductions after telling of “devastating year” for children in conflict zones

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, today welcomed the unanimous adoption of a United Nations Security Council resolution that aims to combat the rising incidence of abductions of children in conflict zones.

“I would like to thank the members of the Security Council for expanding the toolbox, thereby allowing us to better address” this problem, SRSG Zerrougui said in a press release highlighting the adoption of Security Council resolution 2225.

“Abduction of children in large numbers was a growing and prevalent feature of conflict in 2014. We will need to scale-up our response to this increasing threat, and resolution 2225 is a vital step in that direction,” SRSG Zerrougui added.

The resolution adds abduction to the “trigger” violations that, if committed against children by a Government armed force or non-State armed group, would lead to that party”s inclusion in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict.

The annexes supplement the body of the report, which details information gathered by experts in the field on the grave violations against children in conflict situations around the world. The parties listed in the annexes, meanwhile, were found to have committed one or more of the trigger violations, of which there were four before today. In all, there are six “grave violations” that the Security Council has identified as warranting monitoring, and reporting to the Council.

The Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the United Nations, which had sponsored the draft of the resolution along with 55 co-sponsors, chaired the Council meeting as it debated the Secretary-General’s 2014 Report on Children and Armed Conflict.

Addressing Council members, SRSG Zerrougui said that sharp increases in the numbers of children killed and injured in conflict areas last year necessitate a heightened international reaction to “ensure the protection” of current and future generations.

SRSG Leila Zerrougui addresses Security Council: The fight against impunity remains key

She added that key was to hold Governments and armed groups accountable when they subject children to any of the six grave violations – of which killing and maiming is one.

“The fight against impunity remains one of the key aspects in our efforts to not only react to – but also prevent – grave violations against children,” SRSG Zerrougui said. “Without credible accountability, the violations will not stop.”

SRSG Zerrougui called 2014 a “devastating year” for children living in conflict areas, and lamented that a number of the conflicts had intensified as they spilled over into 2015, “imposing terrible short- and long-term consequences” on many children.

“This should not just shock us this is a call to action for us all,” SRSG Zerrougui said.

The debate traditionally follows the release of the annual report, which this year detailed developments in 23 conflict situations.

“Appalling impacts on the welfare of children were felt, especially in Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, State of Palestine, Syria and Yemen,” SRSG Zerrougui told Council members.

SRSG Zerrougui highlighted the ongoing “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign, which aims to see an end to recruitment and use of children by national security forces by the close of 2016. Amid progress in several “campaign” countries, there had been “important steps forward in 2014 in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” she said.

Still, she said current crises in South Sudan and Yemen “severely hampered” the campaign’s work with those countries.

SRSG Zerrougui outlined her most recent efforts to engage the leaders of non-state armed groups from Colombia and Sudan. Non-state armed groups make up the majority of parties listed in the report’s annexes.

Click here for UN News Centre account of Security Council debate.