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UN: Pledge to protect children strengthened
NewsNotes
September-October 2009

In a major step forward, the United Nations’ Security Council has adopted a resolution that calls on the UN system as a whole to monitor and report on grave violations against children caught in the violence of armed conflict.

This expansion strengthens SC Resolution 1882, and will make killing and maiming of children and rape and other forms of sexual violence against children top priorities for Security Council action. All parties to armed conflict found by the UN Secretary-General to be recruiting and using child soldiers, killing and maiming children, or raping and subjecting children to sexual violence in the context of armed conflict, will face action by the UN Security Council’s Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, which aims to hold perpetrators accountable and ultimately to halt these violations.

Julia Freedson, director of the global network Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, said, “This action by the Security Council signifies a real advancement in efforts to protect children; it must now make certain that the ideals set out in this resolution translate into tangible improvements in the lives of children — especially the end of violence and the end to the impunity enjoyed by armed groups.”

The resolution’s key achievements include:

  • Reaffirmation of the Security Council to use sanctions against persistent perpetrators and commitment to closer cooperation between the Council’s Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and pre-existing Sanctions Committees;
  • A call to member states to hold perpetrators accountable, and bring them to justice through national and international justice mechanisms, criminal courts and tribunals;
  • A call to parties to armed conflict to develop and implement action plans to halt all violations against children, in coordination with UN teams in the field.

The government of Mexico was applauded for its leadership in securing the adoption of this important resolution. It remains critical, however, that the Security Council and the international community as a whole keep the momentum on the children and armed conflict agenda and demand that all parties to conflict take concrete and measurable actions to halt all violations against children.

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