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, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, told the UN Security Council today.
Addressing the Council’s debate on the Secretary-General’s 2014 Report on Children and Armed Conflict, SRSG Zerrougui said that key was to hold Governments and armed groups accountable when they subject children to any of the six Council-recognized “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” for 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, which supplement the reporting on the conflict situations.
Note to editors: Click here for text in English of SRSG Zerrougui’s address. Check against delivery.
Click here for the Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, released June 2015
Click here for UN News Centre report on the Security Council debate.
For further information, please contact:
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
Tel: +1 212 963-2383