UN Security Council establishes first comprehensive monitoring and reporting system to protect children affected by armed conflict (27 July 2005)

Summary: In a major and ground-breaking development,
the UN Security Council today voted
unanimously for a series of measures,
including the establishment of a
comprehensive monitoring and reporting
mechanism, to ensure the protection of
children exposed to armed conflict.

 

[UNITED NATIONS, New York] – In a major and ground-breaking
development, the UN Security Council today voted unanimously for a series
of measures, including the establishment of a comprehensive monitoring
and reporting mechanism, to ensure the protection of children exposed to
armed conflict. The mechanism will monitor grave violations by all parties,
both governments and insurgents, focusing particularly on:

- killing or maiming of children
- recruiting or using child soldiers
- attacks against schools or hospitals
- rape or other sexual violence against children
- abduction of children
- denial of humanitarian access for children.

The Security Council has endorsed the continued naming and listing of all
offending parties, both insurgents and governments, which are responsible
for grave violations against children. In the same resolution, the Security
Council ordered offending parties which have already been listed, to
prepare and implement right away, concrete action plans and timelines for
ending violations against children. The Security Council also decided to
establish its own special Working Group to oversee implementation of
these measures and to monitor progress in ending on-going violations
against children. The adoption of this resolution by the Security Council
followed several months of intensive negotiations on a package of
measures and recommendations submitted to it by the Secretary General
in his report (S-59/695) of February, 2005.

“We have now entered the ‘era of application’ ”, commented UN Special
Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara A. Otunnu. “ For the
first time, the UN is establishing a formal, structured and detailed
compliance regime of this kind. This brings together all the key elements
we have been developing, in the last few years, to ensure accountability
and compliance on the ground. This is a turning point of great
consequence.”

Under the new mechanism, UN-led task forces will be established in
phases, ultimately covering all conflict situations of concern, to monitor the
conduct of all parties, and to transmit regular reports to a central task
force based at UN headquarters in New York. These reports will serve as
triggers for action against the offending parties.

The Security Council has directed UN peacekeeping missions and UN
country teams to enter into immediate dialogue with offending parties
listed in the Secretary-General’s latest report , in order to prepare and
implement, concrete time-bound action plans for ending the violations for
which they have been cited. The latest report lists 54 offending parties,
governments as well as insurgents, drawn from 11 situations of conflict.
These included: the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) from Sri Lanka; Fuerzas Armadas
Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) from Colombia; Janjaweed from
Sudan; the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) from Nepal;
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) from Uganda; Karen National Liberation Army
from Myanmar; and government forces from DRC, Myanmar and Uganda.
(See attached lists annexed to the Secretary-General’s report)

The Security Council’s special Working Group, composed of all 15 members,
will review reports and action plans, and consider targeted measures
against offending parties, where insufficient or no progress has been
made. Such measures might include travel restrictions on leaders, and their
exclusion from any governance structures and amnesty provisions, the
imposition of arms embargoes, a ban on military assistance, and restriction
on the flow of financial resources to the parties concerned.

In his statement to the Security Council, Mr. Otunnu said, “The time has
come for the international community to redirect its energies from the
normative task of the elaboration of standards to the compliance mission
of ensuring their application on the ground. Today, as never before, we
have the necessary norms, institutions, and means to realize the ‘era of
application’ for the protection of all children exposed to armed conflict.”

In the last decade, 2 million children have been killed in situations of armed
conflict, while 6 million children have been disabled or injured. Over a
quarter of a million child soldiers are being abused and exploited today in
situations of armed conflict around the globe. Since 2003, over 11 million
children have been displaced within their own countries, and 2.4 million
children were forced to flee conflict and take refuge outside their home
countries. Abductions are becoming more widespread, as witnessed, for
example, in Darfur, Northern Uganda, Nepal and Burundi. Thousands of
children, particularly girls, are subjected to rape and other sexual abuses
in situations of conflict. Landmines kill or maim 8, 000 to 10, 000 children
every year.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and
Armed Conflict serves as an international advocate for children affected by
armed conflict by promoting standards and measures for their protection in
times of war as well as their healing and social reintegration in the
aftermath of conflict.

For further information, contact:

The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General
for Children and Armed Conflict:
www.un.org/children/conflict

Tonderai Chikuhwa, Programme Officer
Telephone: + 1 212 963 3178
Fax: + 1 212 963 0807
E-mail: Crasto@un.org

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