Afghanistan + 12 more

Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – September 2020

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Recommendations to the Security Council

AFGHANISTAN The Afghan National Police (ANP), including the Afghan Local Police (ALP), are listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General's (SG) 2020 annual report (S/2020/525) on children and armed conflict (CAAC). Four armed groups are listed for recruitment and use and killing and maiming of children. Of these, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP) is also listed for attacks on schools and hospitals, and the Taliban for attacks on schools and hospitals and abduction. Afghanistan remained the deadliest conflict for children in 2019 with over 3,100 verified child casualties. In September, UNAMA's mandate is up for renewal, pursuant to SCR 2489 (2019). According to UNAMA's 2020 mid-year report, the UN verified 1,067 child casualties (340 killed, 727 injured) in the first half of 2020, representing 31 percent of all civilian casualties. The report also noted that children were increasingly vulnerable to recruitment and use during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the SG's August periodic report (S/2020/809), in the second quarter of 2020, the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) verified 19 cases of recruitment and use, 18 conflict-related incidents involving healthcare facilities or workers, nine attacks against schools, 11 denials of humanitarian access, and continued to note likely underreporting of sexual violence against children. The Security Council should:

  • Call upon all parties to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (IHRL), to respect the civilian character of schools and hospitals, including their personnel, to end and prevent attacks or threats of attacks against those institutions and personnel as well as the military use of schools, and to facilitate safe and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance to children and civilians in need;

  • Renew UNAMA's child protection mandate and request the creation of a Child Protection Adviser (CPA) position within the Human Rights Unit with the necessary political and operational space to engage with all parties to conflict for the protection of children; in subsequent budget negotiations, ensure distinct budget lines for the establishment of Child Protection Officer positions to allow UNAMA to fully deliver on its child protection mandate;

  • Urge the Government of Afghanistan to fully implement its 2011 action plan and 2014 roadmap to end and prevent child recruitment and use by its security forces, to strengthen the legal and operational framework for the protection of children, and to adopt a standardized referral system for the reintegration of children separated from parties to conflict, released from detention, or rejected from recruitment centers;

  • Strongly urge all parties to take immediate and specific measures to end and prevent rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, including cases involving bacha bazi, and call upon the Government to hold perpetrators accountable;

  • Call for the protection, rights, well-being, and empowerment of children affected by armed conflict to be fully incorporated and prioritized in ongoing and future efforts to build and sustain peace; and encourage and facilitate consideration of children's views in these processes where possible and compatible with the best interests of the child. Germany and Indonesia are the lead countries on Afghanistan.