UNICEF commends Security Council resolution on children in armed conflict

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has applauded the UN Security Council resolution that establishes a monitoring and reporting system for children affected by armed conflict. “UNICEF firmly supports the universal principle that the human rights of all children in all situations must be upheld and promoted by all parties to the conflict,” the children’s agency said in its statement. The Security Council resolution calls for a mechanism to monitor grave violations by both Governments and insurgents, focusing especially on crimes identified in the Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) resolution it passed in April of last year, describing the violations and calling for the mechanism and for time-bound national and rebel action plans to comply with international law. The crimes are: recruiting child soldiers in violation of international instruments; killing and maiming of children; rape and other sexual violence mostly committed against girls; abduction and forced displacement; denial of humanitarian access to children; attacks against schools and hospitals; as well as trafficking, forced labour and all forms of slavery. In response to these grave violations, the Council said, institutions at the country-level would gather evidence and forward this information to the Secretary-General, who would report to the Security Council and the General Assembly. “Countless children in conflicts worldwide have paid the price of inaction by those who are obligated to protect them. This is a critical measure to hold accountable the parties that continue to harm those children,” UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah said in the UNICEF statement. 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.