The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Leila Zerrougui, highlighted the dire situation of children affected by armed conflict and the need for more action to protect them during an update on her mandate and ongoing work to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“Parties to conflict must do more and can do more to minimize killing and maiming of children in the conduct of military operations,” said the Special Representative. “International treaties banning cluster munitions and chemical weapons must be respected.”
She reminded the Human Rights Council that as a new school year begins, millions of children are deprived of their right to education because of conflict. She added that traditional safe havens for children are now too often on the frontline and attacks on schools and hospitals remain of grave concern.
Progress with Action Plans
Since her last report to the Human Rights Council, the Democratic Republic of the Congo signed Action Plans to end the recruitment and use of children, as well as sexual violence against children. The Transitional Government of Somalia signed a similar Action Plan as well as another one to end killing and maiming of children, the first time a Government made such a commitment. Last week, the Government of Yemen approved an Action Plan to end the recruitment and use of children by the country’s armed forces.
“Of the eight Government security forces currently listed for recruitment and use of children in the Annex of the Secretary-General’s Annual report on Children and Armed Conflict, seven have now adopted Action Plans and there is an active dialogue with the Government of Sudan,” said Ms. Zerrougui.
She concluded her presentation by urging the Council to include the protection of children and monitoring of child rights violations in armed conflict in all its new and renewed mandates as well as Commissions of Inquiries.
“We must strengthen our collective action to respond to the plight of conflict-affected children,” said the Special Representative. “If we fail to protect their rights, their schools and ultimately their future, we call into question our common and longstanding commitment to uphold human rights and international humanitarian law. We must do more to translate these commitments into action and to spare children from the scourge of conflict.”
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For additional information, contact:
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
+1 212 963 8285 (office)
+1 917 288 5791 (mobile)
Oral update of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict to the Human Rights Council: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session24/Documents/A_HRC_24_CRP.1_ENG.doc