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The senior United Nations advocate for children caught up in conflict is reaching out to parents, elders, and the entire international community to keep children away from armies and militias – a UN role that over the past two decades has helped more than 115,000 child soldiers regain their youth.
“My role is to reach them, to try to convince them that they are the ones who can make a difference on the ground,” the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, told UN News on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of her office’s mandate.
Foreword by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Twenty years ago, the General Assembly recognized the unique predicament of children caught up in conflict, and created the mandate of my Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC).
Leila Zerrougui, the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, travelled to South Sudan at the end of June to assess the impact of the conflict on children and follow-up on the implementation of the action plan signed by the Government of South Sudan to end and prevent the recruitment of children in the country’s armed forces.
In Juba, the Special Representative joined UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova to advocate for the protection of schools and the right to education, even in times of conflict.
Ten years ago, on 22 April 2004, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1539, which called on all parties listed for recruitment and use of children in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict to “prepare […] concrete, time-bound action plans to halt recruitment and use of children […], in close collaboration with United Nations peacekeeping missions and United Nations country teams”.
La Représentante spéciale du Secrétaire général pour les enfants et les conflits armés a indiqué aujourd’hui que les Forces armées syriennes, les services de renseignement syriens et les milices Chabiha, figuraient désormais sur la « Liste de la honte » dans la dernière édition du Rapport du Secrétaire général sur le sort des enfants en temps de conflit armé*, laquelle a été publiée aujourd’hui.
Aux côtés de Mme Grace Akallo, ex-enfant soldat, la Représentante spéciale du Secrétaire général pour les enfants et les conflits armés a présenté aujourd’hui à la presse le dernier « Rapport du Secrétaire général sur les situations des enfants victimes de l’Armée de résistance du Seigneur* (LRA) ». Mme Radhika Coomaraswamy a appelé la communauté internationale à appuyer les Nations Unies, l’Union africaine et les pays directement concernés dans leur lutte contre la LRA.
New York, 6 June – The Lord’s Resistance Army remains amongst the most persistent perpetrators of grave violations against children, the Secretary-General stated in his first report to the Security Council on the situation of children affected by the armed group. The report documents violations committed against children and measures taken to address the LRA threat between July 2009 and February 2012.
New York, 14 May – The Ugandan army last Saturday captured Caesar Acellam Otto, one of the top military leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army, in the Central African Republic. Along with Joseph Kony and a handful of senior rebel commanders, he is responsible for the most egregious violations committed against children in the central African region.
“How can we tell what happened to us? There are no words to describe what
we have witnessed. What we saw, what we heard, what we did, and how it
changed our lives, is beyond measure. We were murdered, raped, amputated,
tortured, mutilated, beaten, enslaved and forced to commit terrible crimes.”
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report for the Children of Sierra Leone
The United Nations envoy on children and armed conflict today commended the Government of Chad for recently signing an agreement with the world body on ending the use of child soldiers in the central African country’s security forces.
In one dreary morning, I, the pupil of kindergarten #2, became an IDP; to be more specific, I was forced to become an IDP. In several hours, I lost my friends, home and happy childhood. I experienced the horror of hunger and cold. At age of 6, I realized words "peace" and "bread". The vision of endless flow of people worn out from hunger and cold and the taste of a piece of bread I clutched in my fist will never fade from my memory.
Kampala, Uganda, 7 June 2010 - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy spent the week in Uganda speaking with victims and advocating on their behalf to Government officials, the military and the media, in Kampala and Gulu, northern Uganda as well as at the ICC conference.
On Sunday May 31st, the SRSG met with victims attending the Victims Day Soccer match where she gave a halftime address with a message of strength and hope. She expressed her admiration for their resilience in the face of incredible adversity.
New York, 21 May 2010- The Annual Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict (A/64/742--S/2010/181) has been issued yesterday afternoon. The report gives an overview of the situation of children affected by conflict and action taken for their protection over the reporting period.
New York/Karthoum 22 November 2009 - Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, welcomes the signing of an action plan by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) to end the use of children as soldiers in Juba on 20 November 2009.
"This commitment is a milestone in the efforts to end association of children with the SPLA. I shall continue to appeal to the SPLA leadership to spare no effort to release and prevent re-association of these children with their armed elements," said Ms.
Madame Chairperson, Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I thank you for convening this open debate of the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict. Chairperson, your presence here today testifies to the commitment of the Council to this issue and the crucial leadership of Mexico as new chair of the SCWG following the exemplary leadership of France.
You have before you the 8th report of the Secretary General on children and armed conflict.
New York, 22 April 2009 - The Annual Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict (A/63/785-S/2009/158) has been issued today.
New York, Kinshasa, 21 April 2009 - "Recent developments have opened new opportunities for the release of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo," noted Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict during a press conference concluding her visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Since January 2009, about 1200 children have been released in the process of the accelerated integration of the Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) and other armed groups into the National Army, the …
New York/Kinshasa, 21 avril 2009 - "Les récents développements offrent des opportunités uniques pour la libération des enfants soldats en République démocratique du Congo ", a déclaré Radhika Coomaraswamy, Représentante spéciale du Secrétaire général sur les enfants et les conflits armés durant la conférence de presse clôturant sa visite en République démocratique du Congo (RDC).
Depuis janvier 2009, 1200 enfants ont été libérés dans le cadre du processus d'intégration accéléré du Congrès National pour la Défense du peuple (CNDP) et d'autres groupes armés dans les …
NEW YORK - 20 November 2008 - "We, a group of former child soldiers and survivors of armed conflict in different capacities, are pleased to announce today the launch of the Network of Young People Affected by War (NYPAW) to help children whose lives have been derailed by conflict.
"As young people who have endured conflict in our respective countries and who are all too familiar with the toll it exacts on children's emotional, social, physical, psychosocial and academic development, we are determined to help children whose fate has been similar to ours regain their …
New York, 1 October 2008 - Two weeks ago, the Lord's Resistance Army attacked a number of villages in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and abducted 90 children from their schools.
The SRSG and UNICEF call for the immediate and unconditional release of all of the abducted children, who were taken during simultaneous attacks on the Kiliwa, Duru, and Nambia villages in Orientale Province on 17 September 2008.
There are documented cases where children kidnapped by groups in this region have been forced to fight as child soldiers, and where young girls have …