Press releases and news notes
Hundreds of children released by armed groups in Central African Republic
BAMBARI, Central African Republic, 14 May 2015 – More than 300 children, including several under 12 years old, have been released from armed groups in the Central African Republic following a UNICEF-facilitated agreement by the groups’ leaders to free all children in their ranks.
Armed groups in Central African Republic agree to release thousands of children
BANGUI, Central African Republic, 5 May 2015 - Leaders of armed groups in the Central African Republic agreed today to release all children associated with their forces and to immediately end any new child recruitment.
Nine year old girl soldier freed in large release of child soldiers in South Sudan
JUBA/NAIROBI/NEW YORK, 21 March, 2015 – Up to 250 child soldiers including four girls, one as young as nine, were released today in South Sudan from an armed group, the Cobra Faction. Another 400 are being released over the next two days.
Children seized from South Sudan school not released yet
JUBA, South Sudan/NAIROBI, Kenya, 28 February 2015 – Scores of children seized by armed men from a village in northern South Sudan two weeks ago remain forcibly recruited as child soldiers, despite intensive efforts to locate and free them.
UNICEF condemns new child abductions by armed group in South Sudan
JUBA/NAIROBI/NEW YORK, 21 February, 2015 – UNICEF condemns in the strongest terms the abduction of scores of boys, some as young 13, by an armed group near Malakal in the north of South Sudan.
More brutal and intense conflicts leave children increasingly at risk of recruitment
NEW YORK, 12 February 2015 – Children are increasingly vulnerable to recruitment and use by armed groups as conflicts around the world become more brutal, intense and widespread, UNICEF and the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict said today to mark the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers.
More children released from armed group in South Sudan
JUBA/NAIROBI/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 10 February 2015 – UNICEF and partners are overseeing the release of another 300 children from an armed group in South Sudan.
Thousands of children to be gradually released from armed group in South Sudan
JUBA/NAIROBI/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 27 January, 2015 – UNICEF and partners have secured the release of approximately 3,000 children from an armed group in South Sudan - one of the largest ever demobilizations of children. The first group of 280 children were released today, at the village of Gumuruk in Jonglei State, eastern South Sudan. Further phased releases of the other children will occur over the coming month.
Myanmar Military releases more than 100 children from armed forces
YANGON, Myanmar 25 September, 2014 – The Myanmar Armed Forces (“Tatmadaw”) released 109 children today, demonstrating its continued commitment to professionalize its security forces, ensuring that they become and remain ‘child free’.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow returns to Central African Republic
Media Advisory: UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow returns to Central African Republic
Over 1,000 children released from armed groups in Central African Republic this year
BANGUI, Central African Republic / GENEVA, 16 May 2014 - UNICEF and partners have secured the release of over 1,000 children from armed groups in the Central African Republic this year, more than five times the total number of children released in 2013.
Children, Not Soldiers: Yemen Signs Action Plan to End Recruitment and Use of Children by Armed Forces
SANAA, Yemen, 14 May – In a landmark development for the protection of children today, the Government of Yemen signed an action plan with the United Nations to end and prevent the recruitment of children by the Yemeni Armed Forces.
Recruitment and use of children in government forces in conflict must end
NEW YORK, 6 March 2014 – Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Ms Leila Zerrougui and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake today unveiled a new effort to end the recruitment and use of children in government forces in conflict by 2016.
UNICEF on “Children in Israeli military detention”: first progress report
JERUSALEM, 14 October 2013 - On 6 March 2013, UNICEF released a briefing paper titled “Children in Israeli military detention” which outlined practical measures to improve the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military custody. The paper stated that there appeared to be a pattern of ill-treatment during the arrest, transfer and interrogation of child detainees in the West Bank. In response, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel stated it would study the conclusions of the report and work to implement its recommendations in cooperation with UNICEF.
UNICEF condemns the re-recruitment of child soldiers and killing of a child in Central African Republic
YAOUNDE/BANGUI/GENEVA, 10 May 2013 – UNICEF condemns in the strongest possible terms the re-recruitment and the killing of a 17-year-old boy.
UNICEF calls for cessation of child recruitment in the Central African Republic
BANGUI/DAKAR/GENEVA, 4 January 2013 – UNICEF said today that it had received credible reports that rebel groups and pro-government militias are...
UNICEF Advocate Ishmael Beah calls for the end of recruitment of children in armed groups in Central African Republic
N’DELE, Central African Republic, 24 August 2012 – At the end of his five-day mission to the Central African Republic, UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by...
UNICEF extremely concerned about the impact of escalating conflict in Somalia on children
NAIROBI, Kenya, 15 November 2011 – UNICEF is extremely concerned about the impact on children of the escalating conflict in Somalia...
New countries endorse the Paris Commitments to end the use of child combatants
NEW YORK, 27 September 2010 – New countries today endorsed the ‘Paris Commitments’ to end the use of child soldiers, joining a growing list of States...
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow to visit Uganda
KAMPALA / UGANDA, 9 July 2010 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow is traveling to Uganda this Wednesday to meet with children impacted...
Six central African countries reassure commitment towards children in the sub-region by signing the N’Djamena Declaration
N’DJAMENA, CHAD 9 June, 2010 – Six Central African countries showed historic commitment to ending recruitment of child soldiers and to support social...
Regional conference on ending recruitment and use of children in armed forces and groups: contributing to peace, justice, & development
Forced recruitment of child soldiers in DRC
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo, 12 February 2010 – As the world celebrates the International Day against the use of Child Soldiers, UNICEF...
From military to civilian life – first group of minors discharged from Maoist army in Nepal
SINDHULI, NEPAL, 7 January 2010 - A group of young Nepali men and women will leave their military lives behind and return to civilian life after...
United Nations, Government of Nepal and UCPN-M sign Action Plan for discharge of minors disqualified from the Maoist army
KATHMANDU, 16 December 2009 - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Radhika...
UNICEF welcomes renewed commitment by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army to prevent and end its association with children
JUBA, SUDAN, 23 November 2009 – UNICEF has hailed as a key milestone the signing of a new action plan by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army...
Member States commit to greater efforts to release and reintegrate child soldiers
NEW YORK, 29 September 2009 – A number of United Nations Member States added their names to the ‘Paris Commitments’ to protect children from...
Ministerial follow-up forum to the Paris Commitments on children in armed groups
UNICEF Executive Director, Ann M. Veneman visits Dungu, a community terrorized by the LRA
LONDON, 31 August, 2009 - On the final day of her five-day visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman met...
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman calls for peace and security for the people of eastern DRC
Goma, DRC, 29 August 2009 – On her second day in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), UNICEF Executive Director...
UNICEF welcomes release of child soldiers and urges further demobilizations in Central African Republic
BANGUI, 7 July 2009 – UNICEF today confirmed the demobilization of 182 children who have been released by the rebel group...
Ex-child soldiers: from victims of war to protagonists of peace
ROME, 23 June 2009 – Two young people, former child soldiers, who have transformed their brutal life experiences toward helping the more than...
New Machel Report calls for urgent action to protect children affected by armed conflict
NEW YORK, 16 June 2009 – UNICEF and the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict launched the Machel Study...
Sri Lanka: More children victims of the conflict, says UNICEF
Colombo, 17 February 2009 – With a growing number of children being recruited by the LTTE and scores of children being killed or injured in fighting...
Despite global push to end use of child soldiers, reality on the ground for tens of thousands of children remains bleak
NEW YORK, 20 May 2008 – Children continue to be recruited and used in large numbers by armed groups despite widespread political...
Former Child Soldier and current UNICEF Advocate encourages Jamaican Youth
KINGSTON, 30 April 2008 − Wrapping up his first mission as UNICEF’s Advocate for Children Affected by War, former child soldier Ishmael Beah today...
Number of armed groups or forces using child soldiers increases from 40 to 57
NEW YORK, 12 February 2008 - Coinciding with the sixth anniversary of the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the Security...
232 children released from Mayi Mayi forces in the Kivus by UNICEF and partners
GOMA, DRC, 16 November 2007 - UNICEF and Save the Children, in collaboration with the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) have ...
Machel Study: Ten years on
Central African Republic signed child soldiers reintegration agreement
GORDIL/CAR, 16 June 2007 – UNICEF, the Government of Central African Republic (CAR) and the Assembly of the Union of Democratic Forces (UFDR) rebel group have today...
UNICEF welcomes agreement to hand over children by Sudan Liberation Movement in Darfur
KHARTOUM, 11 June 2007 – UNICEF today welcomed an announcement by the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) – one of the signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement – that it would begin...
UNICEF has begun negotiations for the release of child soilders in North-Eastern CAR
BANGUI, 18 May 2007 – UNICEF announced on Thursday that negotiations have started with non-state armed groups for hundreds of child soldiers enrolled in the north-east of the Central...
UNICEF and Chad sign agreement to demobilize child soldiers
N’Djamena, Chad, 9 May 2007 – UNICEF and the Government of Chad signed an agreement today for the demobilization of child soldiers throughout the country. The accord, signed by UNICEF Representative...
UNICEF says Karuna faction “not serious” about child releases
COLOMBO/GENEVA, 27 April 2007 - UNICEF today said that one of Sri Lanka’s battling factions is not taking seriously its public assurances that it is not recruiting child soldiers.
Former child soldier launches memoirs
NEW YORK, 15 February 2007 – A Long Way Gone, by former child soldier Ishmael Beah, is being launched today at UNICEF. The book is a first hand account of Ishmael’s...
Paris conference on child soldiers concludes with commitment to stop the recruitment of children
PARIS/GENEVA, 6 February 2007 - Representatives of 58 countries meeting in Paris today committed themselves to putting an end to the unlawful recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts.
Global conference to end the recruitment of children by armed groups and forces in Paris
PARIS/NEW YORK/GENEVA, 5 February 2007– A global conference hosted by the Government of France and UNICEF convened in Paris today to address the issue of children in armed conflict.
UNICEF supports continuing International Criminal Court process
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 29 January 2007 -- Today the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed the charges against Thomas Lubanga, former commander-in-chief of the Union of Congolese Patriots' military wing...
UN launches Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards
NEW YORK, 18 December 2006 – The United Nations today launched the Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards (IDDRS), a set of policy and...
UNICEF condemns abduction and recruitment of Sri Lankan children by the Karuna group
COLOMBO, 22 June 2006 – UNICEF in Sri Lanka is calling for immediate action to halt the abduction and forced recruitment of children by the Karuna group. Over the past week, the agency has verified reports of thirty cases in Batticaloa district. Reports of abduction and forced recruitment of boys under the age of 18 from the area have increased since March of this year.
211 Children Released from the SPLA in Southern Kordofan
KHARTOUM, 18 June 2006 – UNICEF today welcomed the demobilization of 181 children – 174 boys and 7 girls – from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). This release took place on 6 June in Julud in the Nuba Mountains area of Sudan (Southern Kordofan), and the children have been reunited with their families over the past two weeks.
Displacement and landmines are everyday challenges for children in Colombia
GENEVA, 25 April 2006 – In Colombia, children and adolescents are still severely affected by the ongoing armed conflict, despite the recent decrease in the intensity of armed actions in the country since the 2001-2002 peak of hostilities. UNICEF said today it does not have adequate resources to respond. For programs operating this year, UNICEF has a shortfall of US $ 1.7 million, out of a total amount of US $4.8 million necessary for humanitarian action.
UNICEF welcomes child demobilisation in Southern Sudan
MALAKAL, SOUTHERN SUDAN, 24 April 2006 – UNICEF welcomes the renewed process of disarmament and demobilisation of children associated with armed forces and groups in Southern Sudan. The latest demobilisation, of about 250 children in Upper Nile State today, is the biggest of its kind since the signature of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2005 which commits the parties (the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army-SPLM/A and the then Government of Sudan) to child demobilisation throughout the country.
Criminal charge in child soldier case a milestone in protecting children
Friday’s arrest of Thomas Lubanga by the International Criminal Court, on a charge of conscripting and enlisting children and actively using them in hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sends an important message that the international community will not tolerate the use of children in armed conflict, UNICEF said. It shows the high priority that the international community gives to combating crimes against children.
Japan Provides $6.78 Million to Liberia’s Children
MONROVIA, Liberia, 1 March 2006 - The Government of Japan has contributed US$6.78 million to UNICEF to help provide more than 5,000 demobilized children associated with fighting forces with a basic primary school education or vocational skills training. The funding will also be used by UNICEF and its partners to provide 300 Liberian schools and 50 health centres with new water and environmental sanitation services.
FAQ: “Smurfs: What’s it all about?”
In case you haven’t heard: UNICEF in Belgium has created a unique and attention-getting video message about the impact of war on children. The 30 second TV ad – to be run free by Belgian broadcasters in the late evening hours – is part of a campaign by UNICEF in Belgium to raise awareness about the many ways conflict destroys children’s lives.
UNICEF thanks Olara Otunnu
NEW YORK, 3 August 2005 – Reacting to his departure as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, UNICEF said today that it was deeply grateful to Olara Otunnu for being an outspoken advocate for millions of children caught in conflict around the world.
Official Statement on the Security Council Resolution on Children in Armed Conflict
NEW YORK, 25 July 2005 - UNICEF today applauded the UN Security Council resolution that establishes a monitoring and reporting system for children affected by armed conflict.
New round of child soldier demobilization begins in west Afghanistan
KABUL, 21 July 2005 – The second major phase of Afghanistan’s child soldier demobilization and reintegration campaign got underway in the west of the country this week, with an expected 3,500 children likely to benefit from the initiative in the coming three months.
Paraguay takes concrete steps in the effective implementation of the Optional Protocol against the use of child soldiers
Asunción, Paraguay, 15 June 2005- Representatives of the Government of Paragay, UNICEF and the members of non-governmental organizations and community groups presented the results of the first round of visits to monitor implementation of the Optional Protocol on the Use of Child Soldiers which prohibits the forced recruitment of children under 18 years old as soldiers.
UNICEF, CONADER and partners disarm 2,914 children in DRC
BUNIA, ITURI DRC, 4 April 2005 - UNICEF today confirmed that 2,914 children associated with armed groups have passed through the seven Disarmament and Community Reintegration (DCR) sites in Ituri District since September 2004, in addition to the 399 children (337 boys; 62 girls), received by child protection agencies in Ituri District prior to the 1 September 2004 start of the DCR process. The Congolese government body, CONADER (Commission Nationale de la Demobilization et Reinsertion), coordinates the disarmament process.
Child soldier demobilization shows results in Afghanistan
KABUL, 16 December 2004 – As the first full year of the UNICEF-supported demobilization and reintegration programme for former child soldiers draws to a close in Afghanistan, nearly 4,000 children have now been demobilized.
"There should be no hiding place in South Asia for child sex sellers"
COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, 29 September 2004 - Better enforcement against child traffickers and more cross border cooperation by governments in South Asia is being called for by UNICEF.
47 children, formerly abducted by LRA, come back home
KAMPALA, 27 August 2004 – UNICEF in Uganda today urged civilian and military authorities responsible for receiving 47 formerly abducted children – repatriated today from southern Sudan by the International Organization for Migration, after their abduction by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) – to ensure the children’s rights remain protected.
Reintegrating children associated with fighting forces in Liberia a "success"
MONROVIA/NEW YORK/GENEVA, 26 August 2004 – Just four months after the launch of a massive disarmament campaign, almost 85 per cent of about 5,800 demobilized children have gone home to their families. Over 115 children were reunified this week.
Bellamy lands in Liberia for a three-day visit
MONROVIA, 23 August 2004 - UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy landed in Liberia today for a three-day visit to assess progress in reintegrating children formerly associated with fighting forces with their families.
Demobilization programme for former Afghan child soldiers reaches 2,000 children
KABUL, 24 June 2004 – The programme to demobilize and re-integrate former child soldiers in Afghanistan, led by UNICEF with Government, NGO partners and local communities, has now helped to demobilize 2,203 children in eight provinces of the country, since its launch in February. The majority of children demobilized to date – all of whom are boys – are aged between 14 and 18 years old.
UNICEF welcomes special court ruling establishing child recruitment a 'war crime'
NEW YORK/FREETOWN, 17 June 2004 – The Special Court for Sierra Leone recently ruled that the recruitment or use of children under age 15 in hostilities is a war crime under customary international law. This landmark ruling may result in the first ever conviction for the recruitment of child soldiers. UNICEF welcomes the Court’s decision as a bold effort to hold perpetrators accountable for serious crimes against children.
UNICEF backs the re-commencement of DDRR in Liberia
GENEVA/ MONROVIA, 16 April 2004 – With the re-commencement of the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation, and reintegration (DDRR) of fighters of Liberia’s warring factions on15 April 2004, UNICEF is mobilizing resources to provide immediate care and reintegration support to the estimated 15,000 children who will come through the demobilization process.
SPLA begins demobilization of children in southern Sudan
TAM, SOUTHERN SUDAN, 21 January 2004 – Officials from the rebel SPLA movement of southern Sudan have begun a large demobilization of children in the volatile Western Upper Nile region. The first batch of 94 child soldiers, who are among an estimated 800 in the area, were ordered by commanders to put down their guns, give back their uniforms, return to their families and go to school during a ceremony in the village of Tam.
UNICEF to Security Council: Children should not fight wars
NEW YORK, 20 January 2004—Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF today condemned the appalling violations of the rights of children in times of war. Addressing the annual Security Council meeting on children in armed conflict, she called on Council members to work harder to end the use of child soldiers, the killing and maiming of children, abductions, attacks on schools and hospitals, and sexual violence against boys and girls.
George Weah in New York, directly from Liberia trip
NEW YORK, 4 January 2004 - George Weah , UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and international soccer star, is in New York, and is available for interviews, along with UNICEF’s top officials for Liberia.
UNICEF opens transit centre for child soldiers freed by LTTE
COLUMBO/GENEVA, 3 October 2003 - The first of three transit centres for child soldiers released from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was opened today in a ceremony attended by senior LTTE figures, high-level officials of the Government of Sri Lanka, Save the Children and UNICEF. The ceremony marks the first stage of a complex programme aimed at releasing children from the LTTE and bringing them back to their families, implemented under the Action Plan approved by the Government and LTTE in August 2003.
UN calls for cessation of hostilities and protection of children in Liberia
DAKAR, MONROVIA, Tuesday, 22 July 2003. "We urgently appeal to the leaders of all parties involved in the conflict in Liberia to stop all hostilities immediately. We are deeply concerned by the dramatic deterioration of the situation in Monrovia and by the unacceptable mobilisation of children and women, in violation of all agreed international norms and standards. Some of the actions against children and women constitute crimes of war under the Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Bellamy urges Security Council to consider children in all its deliberations
Tuesday, 14 January 2003- UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy today urged the United Nations Security Council to establish a "culture of accountability" by holding those who use children in armed conflicts responsible for their actions. (Press Release)
Call to increased action for Sri Lanka's war affected children
COLUMBO, 22 January 2004 - A call for more commitment to make lasting improvements in the lives of Sri Lanka’s most vulnerable children has been made in a report that details progress by partners to the Action Plan for Children Affected by War. The report was compiled by UNICEF. It gives an overview on the situation of children affected by war, and details what was done in 2003 to help address urgent needs. The report follows the Oslo, Berlin and Hakone peace talks where the parties asked UNICEF to develop an Action Plan for Children Affected by War to monitor, report on and address child rights violations in the North East. Partners implementing the Action Plan include the Ministry of Social Welfare, Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), ILO, Save the Children in Sri Lanka, UNDP, UNHCR, and UNICEF.
UNICEF praises Afghan child-soldier innovation
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 23 September 2003 - UNICEF has hailed Afghanistan’s formal ratification of an international agreement to curb the recruitment of child soldiers.
UNICEF confirms death of two child soldiers in LTTE fighting
COLOMBO, 16 April 2004 – UNICEF has confirmed the tragic deaths of two child soldiers in the LTTE fighting that took place in Sri Lanka’s east last week. The children were 17 and 18 year old girls. The 18 year old had been in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) since August 2001 when she was just 16. Both girls were in Kanuna’s cadre at the time of their death, but while any child soldiers remain in the LTTE they are also at risk.
Peace process falters for child soldiers of Sierra Leone
FREETOWN/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 22 July 2003 - UNICEF says that the re-integration into civilian life of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone is under threat by flagging support from international donors.
Action Plan for children affected by war
UNICEF urges demobilization, integration of child soldiers
Bangkok, 30 October - Noting that up to one quarter of the world's estimated 300,000 child soldiers are currently serving in the East Asia and Pacific region, the head of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Wednesday called for new and concerted efforts to demobilize them and assist their reintegration into society.
2,000 former Afghan child soldiers to be demobilized and rehabilitated
KABUL, 8 February 2004 – An initial group of 2,000 former underage soldiers associated with Afghanistan’s fighting forces will benefit from a reintegration and rehabilitation programme this week, supported by UNICEF. The programme – which follows a successful pilot project in 2003 – begins on February 10 in the north-eastern province of Badahkshan and will be followed by similar exercises in Kunduz, Taloqan, Baghlan and the Central Highlands region throughout February.
85 child recruits released to their families by the Liberation Tigers
COLOMBO, 11 September 2002 - UNICEF is encouraged by the release of 85 child recruits by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] over the past few weeks.
UNICEF names top five concerns for children in 2004
NEW YORK, 31 December 2003 – Marking the New Year by calling attention to the immediate needs of children in developing countries, UNICEF today named the top five concerns for children in 2004: child survival, the effects of HIV/AIDS, children caught in war, exploitation, and insufficient investment.
Close to 150 child soldiers released by the LTTE
COLOMBO, 13 April 2004 – UNICEF facilitated the release of nearly 150 former child soldiers by the LTTE today in Vakkarai in Sri Lanka’s eastern region. While UNICEF is still working to confirm the total number of children being released, so far the agency has met and registered over 100 children.