Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – March 2017
This month’s update highlights children and armed conflict concerns and provides recommendations for the protection of children in the situations of Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mali. The update additionally provides information regarding the status of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict conclusion negotiations on the Secretary-General’s reports on the situation of children and armed conflict in Colombia and Somalia.
The Afghan National Police (ANP), including the Afghan Local Police (ALP), and three armed groups (Haqqani Network, Hezb-i-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and Taliban forces) are listed for recruitment and use of children. All three armed groups are also listed for killing and maiming, while the Taliban is further listed for attacks on schools and/or hospitals and abduction. In March, the Council will renew UNAMA’s mandate and receive the next progress report by the Secretary-General (SG) pursuant to SCR 2274 (2016). UNAMA’s 2016 Annual Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Afghanistan documents the highest ever number of civilian casualties in a single year since 2009 when UNAMA began systematic documentation of civilian casualties, specifically reporting 923 child deaths and injury of 2,589 others. Children comprise 31 percent of all-conflict related civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2016, according to UNAMA’s findings. The Security Council should:
Ensure the continuation of and support for the implementation of UNAMA’s child protection mandate; and to that end, request the SG to maintain dedicated child protection capacity within UNAMA, and to continue to include information and analysis on children and armed conflict in Afghanistan in all his future reports;
Urge all parties to end indiscriminate attacks and use of weapons as prohibited under IHL, and to urgently prioritize marking and clearing of explosive remnants of war which contribute to the increase in child casualties;
Reiterate strong condemnation of attacks on education and health care facilities, including the burning and forced closure of schools and health care facilities, and the intimidation, abduction, and killing of education and medical personnel, particularly those attacks targeting girls’ education or vaccination campaigns by armed groups, including the Taliban; and specifically to this end, call upon the Government to report to the Secretary-General, on a voluntary basis, on measures taken to implement SCR 2286 (2016) related to protecting health care in conflict;
Urge the Government to transfer all children from prisons to Juvenile Rehabilitation Centers in accordance with the national and international juvenile justice standards.
KAZAKHSTAN IS THE LEAD COUNTRY ON AFGHANISTAN, AND IT ALSO CHAIRS THE 1267 ISIL AND AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS COMMITTEE AND THE 1988 TALIBAN SANCTIONS COMMITTEE.