Security Council Working Group On Children And Armed Conflict

New York, 20 July 2007– The Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict adopted yesterday its recommendations on the situations of children affected by armed conflict in Somalia and in Uganda and examined the Secretary General's reports on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Chad.

Ms. Coomaraswamy, UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict welcomes the recommendations adopted by the Working Group. "These recommendations send a strong message to the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda for unconditional release of the children in their ranks. The LRA has ignored the repeated calls from the international community for too long and we hope that they will now immediately undertake actions for the sake of these children", said the Special Representative.

Regarding Somalia, all the parties are urged to stop recruiting and using children, as well as to take all the necessary measures to demobilize them without delay. The Security Council Working Group calls on the Government to ensure better protection of children.

The Working Group also examined the reports of the Secretary General on the situations of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (S/2007/391) and in Chad (S/2007/400).

In his report on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Secretary General recognizes the significant progress made by the Congolese Government to address grave violations against children, but raises great concern about the impunity for crimes against them, in particular in Ituri Province and the Kivus. "Children continue to be recruited and subjected to sexual violence. Those who commit grave violations against the civilian population in open defiance of the national and international authorities must be held accountable. Rebel Commander Laurent Nkunda, Commander Kyungu Matanga and Capitain Biyoyo should be brought to justice", added Ms. Coomaraswamy.

The Secretary General's report on the situation in Chad highlights the grave violations against children in the unfolding humanitarian crisis. Children are recruited from refugee camps by all factions, they are killed and maimed by landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXOs) and are also subject to sexual violence. Ms. Coomaraswamy stated that the security vacuum and the general climate of violence pose considerable challenges and dangers to humanitarian actors. In his report, the Secretary General appeals to the international community to intervene effectively to protect the civilian population.

Ambassador de la Sablière, Permanent Representative of France to the UN and Chairman of the Working Group has issued a press release on the proceedings of the meeting.

The Working Group was established pursuant to Resolution 1612 (2005) in order to promote the protection of children in armed conflict through a monitoring and reporting mechanism, as well as to make appropriate recommendations to the UN system including to the Security Council.

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For further information, please contact:

Laurence Gerard, Liaison Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, United Nations, New York. Telephone: +1 212 963 0984. E-mail: gerardl@un.org.