Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

The Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict was established in July 2005, following the adoption of Security Council resolution 1612 and is currently chaired by Sweden.

2005 – Security Council Resolution 1612

Endorses the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) proposed by the Secretary-General to collect timely and reliable information on violations committed against children affected by armed conflict. The Security Council creates a subsidiary body, the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict to review information provided by the MRM on country situations and to make recommendations to the Council on measures to promote the protection of children affected by armed conflict.

Responsibilities of the Working Group

Consisting of the 15 members of the Security Council, the Working Group meets to review reports on children in armed conflict in specific country-situations, progress made in the implementation of Action Plans to end violations against children, and other relevant information.

Subsequent to these reports, the Working Group makes recommendations to parties to conflict, Governments and donors, as well as United Nations actors on measures to promote the protection of war-affected children.

Jean-Marc de la Sablière speaks to journalists following a meeting of the UN Security Council in May 2007. Photo: UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe

Jean-Marc de la Sablière speaks to journalists following a meeting of the UN Security Council in May 2007. Photo: UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe

Interview with Jean-Marc de La Sablière, former Permanent Representative of France to the UN, and first Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

“I am glad that [resolution] 1612 could provide the framework for the work being done today. When we negotiated 1612, there was a sense that achievements had to be consolidated. I was also looking for the most efficient architecture, and I am happy to have had the idea of the Working Group [of the Security Council on children and armed conflict].

“To me, there were two issues of great importance. First, the Security Council had to be regularly engaged on the issue of children and armed conflict. And second, I thought it was necessary to ensure a close link between the Special Representative and the Council to provide constant support and guidance.

“In my opinion, it was very important to begin by addressing the problem of child soldiers. By showing tangible results, we thought the issues surrounding the protection of children would become less politicized, and concerns would be addressed with impartiality.

“I think the campaign [‘Children, not Soldiers’] is allowing us to do just that and, I hope, to end the problem of recruitment by Governments. At the same time, the Campaign opens doors for something I had not been able to firmly establish from the beginning, and that is the dialogue with non-State actors. I am glad France contributed to this through the March 2015 Security Council open debate.

“The children and armed conflict mandate has been used as a model for the question of protection of civilians and has influenced the development of other mandates related to the protection of civilians. This mandate must be considered a success story for the United Nations.”

Keeping the pressure

The recommendations of the Working Group have led to progress, including drawing the attention of the Security Council as well as its sanctions committees to specific issues. For instance, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after an initial delay, the Government brought to trial former Mai-Mai Commander Kyungu Mutanga for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the recruitment of 300 children in Katanga Province from 2003 to 2006. This action follows strong recommendations by the Working Group to take appropriate legal measures against members of armed groups accused of grave crimes against children.

Toolkit of the Working Group

In addition to specific recommendations to the Security Council, the Working Group also has other tools at its disposal to address child protection concerns including the possibility of members of the Working Group to undertake a field trip, to hold emergency meetings and/or to issue a media statement.

The Working Group also has a webpage available here.