UNICEF in Emergencies & Humanitarian Action

Peace and security agenda

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Children at the Cambambe 2 camp for internally displaced persons in the town of Caxito, Angola.

In recent years, the issue of children affected by armed conflict has been placed firmly on the peace and security agenda of the United Nations. There is increasing recognition that children’s rights and concerns should be integrated within all phases of peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building activities. This means that the protection of children and their rights must be considered from the beginning of peacemaking efforts, when peace agreements are being negotiated, in the mandates of peace operations and during post-conflict activities.

“War and politics have always been an adult’s game, but children have always been the losers.”  Youth delegate to the Security Council, 7 May 2002

Under the Charter of the United Nations, the Security Council has a primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Children’s concerns are taken increasingly into account by the Security Council in its resolutions and statements. On different occasions the Security Council has expressed its commitment to the protection of children affected by armed conflict and for the integration of child protection into its work. Since 1998, the Security Council has held five debates and adopted four resolutions on children and armed conflict.

On 7 May 2002, one day before the Special Session on Children, three youth delegates from Bosnia, East-Timor and Liberia addressed the Security Council. The children described their personal experiences in war and told the Security Council about their involvement in peace-building activities. In a strong appeal, all three children challenged the Council to use its mandate and influence to prevent and end conflicts, and to protect children from the consequences of war.

“The best thing you could do is stop wars…you are making decisions here that can affect the world. I hope you will hear me.”   Youth delegate to the Security Council, 7 May 2002A key concern for UNICEF is ensuring that children are identified as an explicit priority in all efforts to resolve conflict and build peace.  In February 1999, UNICEF presented its Peace and Security Agenda for Children to the Security Council. This agenda specifies necessary actions to make sure that children’s rights are considered in the Council’s deliberations and decisions.

Addressing the Security Council, UNICEF has urged that all disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes address the special needs of children, particularly in education, vocational training, and psychosocial support. Furthermore, processes to promote the active participation of children and women in peace-building and reconstruction activities must be strengthened. UNICEF has also called and for accountability for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and for an end to impunity. 

UNICEF works closely with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict on a range of peace and security issues. In particular, both bodies have collaborated on advocacy campaigns to stop the use of child soldiers and on the CRC Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict. UNICEF also collaborates with the Special Representative on advocating issues of children and armed conflict at the Security Council and other intergovernmental fora.

Related documents

Children and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone
This report contains recommendations for the involvement and protection of children in the work of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is based on a technical meeting organized by UNICEF, UNAMSIL and the National Forum for Human Rights of Freetown, 4 to 6 June 2001.
[PDF]

International Criminal Justice And Children
This publication provides an overview of the international legal protection framework for children and serves as a technical guide for the involvement of children in justice and truth-seeking mechanisms.  The publication is intended to foster a dialogue between child rights advocates and experts in international criminal justice, as well as address key issues related to accountability for crimes against children.  UNICEF Innocenti and the non-governmental organization No Peace Without Justice launched the publication at the first Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court, in September 2002.
[PDF]

Field Guidelines for Assessing the Humanitarian Implications of Sanctions (IASC, 2004)
This set of Field Guidelines is intended to provide guidance to humanitarian practitioners in identifying and measuring possible humanitarian consequences of sanctions.
Field Guidelines for Assessing the Humanitarian Implications of Sanctions [pdf]

Sanctions Assessment Handbook: Assessing the Humanitarian Implications of Sanctions (IASC, 2004)
The purpose of this handbook is to provide guidance to humanitarian practitioners and policymakers on identifying and measuring possible humanitarian implications of sanctions. The information and guidelines presented are relevant to a wide variety of sanctions, including: arms embargoes, financial sanctions, travel-related sanctions and targeted trade sanctions. At the core of this handbook is an assessment methodology that facilitates evaluation of possible humanitarian consequences of sanctions.
Sanctions Assessment Handbook: Assessing the Humanitarian Implications of Sanctions [pdf]

Related links

These links open in a new window and will take you to a non-UNICEF web site.

UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations
[Web page]

UN Department of Political Affairs
[Web page]

Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict
[Web page]

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs web-site on the Protection of Civilians
[Web page]

Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court
[Web page]

Coalition for the International Criminal Court
[Web page]

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict
[Web page]




 

 

Statements by children to the security council

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