|© UNICEF/HQ01-0093/ Mann|
|During a demobilization ceremony in a transit camp near the town of Rumbek, Sudan, adolescent boys walk away from the weapons they once carried as child soldiers.|
By Kun Li
NEW YORK, USA, 25 July 2006 – The United Nations Security Council met yesterday to review progress made in the implementation of a year-old resolution to better protect children in armed conflicts.
Resolution 1612 called for the creation of a Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and of monitoring and reporting mechanisms.
The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC), along with UNICEF and other national and international partners, are implementing the resolution by monitoring and reporting child rights violations in seven pilot countries: Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, addressed the meeting with a call to end the exploitation of children in conflict situations.
“Over 250,000 children continue to be exploited as child soldiers by armed forces and groups around the world,” said Ms. Coomaraswamy. “Since 2003 over 14 million children have been forcibly displaced within and outside their home countries and between 8,000 and 10,000 are killed or maimed each year by land mines.”
“The initial phase of setting up a monitoring and reporting mechanism is now over. It is now time for the Council to take effective action against repeat offenders,” she continued.
|© UNICEF/HQ03-0554/ LeMoyne|
|A child soldier, armed with a gun, standing guard outside a village near the city of Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo.|
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman addressed the Security Council on UNICEF’s work to help implement Resolution 1612. In the area of monitoring and reporting, UNICEF has helped develop common terminology and indicators for violations against children.
In the area of child recruitment, UNICEF has provided guiding principles for the prevention of the use of children in conflict, and has aided in the demobilization and reintegration into society of former child combatants. In addition, UNICEF also works with U.N. member states to end the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
“Security Council Resolution 1612 provides opportunities to bring together key elements to monitor compliance and accountability,” said Ms. Veneman.
|© UNICEF/HQ03-0553/ LeMoyne|
|Armed child soldiers guarding a road near the city of Bunia.|
“Governments have a fundamental responsibility to protect their populations. The international community, and especially the Security Council, must collectively and regularly remind all parties to a conflict that egregious violations against children cannot be tolerated,” added Ms. Veneman.
The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, Permanent Representative of France to the UN. Other affected U.N. member were invited to speak during the open debate to address the following topics:
24 July 2006:
Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, addresses the Security Council meeting and calls for the protection of every child in all conflict situations.
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Child alert DR Congo overview [with video and audio]