- The Security Council has called on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to expand his list of parties who recruit child soldiers to include those who kill, maim, rape or commit other forms of sexual violence against children in wartime.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1882, the Council strongly condemned such violations of international law committed against children and called on those parties on the Secretary-General’s so-called ‘list of shame’ to prepare “concrete time-bound action plans to halt those violations and abuses.”
In addition, the 15-member body “calls upon concerned Member States to take decisive and immediate action against persistent perpetrators of violations and abuses committed against children in situations of armed conflict,” and to bring them to justice.
“This is a major step forward in the fight against impunity for crimes against children and a recognition of the reality of conflict today, where girls and boys are increasingly targeted and victimized, killed and raped, as well as recruited into armed groups,” said Radhika Coomaraswamy, welcoming the adoption of the “landmark” text.
An important aspect of the expanded listing criteria is also the Council’s empowerment of the UN on the ground to enter into dialogue with armed forces and groups on action plans to halt these violations and to bring perpetrators to account.
The Council first established a mechanism for monitoring, reporting on and punishing those responsible for the recruitment of child soldiers in resolution 1612, adopted in 2005. According to that text, institutions at the country-level gather evidence and forward the information to the Secretary-General, who then reports to the Security Council and the General Assembly.
Ms Coomaraswamy noted that the Council’s focus on recruitment and use and the accompanying threat of targeted measures against persistent violators has resulted in the release of scores of children in conflicts around the world, most recently in the Philippines and in the Central African Republic (CAR).
“We hope that this expansion will result in equally effective measures with regard to the killing and maiming of children and sexual violence,” she added.
Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters, the Special Representative noted that today’s action shows that “the UN system works best when it comes to children.”
She also welcomed the Child Protection Policy, adopted by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in June, which responds to the call for greater mainstreaming of child protection across the UN system. It includes the presence of child protection advisers in the field, training and advocacy, and a lead role for peace operations in monitoring for resolution 1612.
“DPKO is now quite sensitive to this issue and hopefully this will have its results in the field in the years to come,” said Ms Coomaraswamy.
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