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Security Council to debate Secretary-General's report on children affected by armed conflict

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NEW YORK, 13 January (OSRSG) -- The United Nations Security Council will discuss the Secretary-General's third report on children and armed conflict in an open debate on Tuesday, 14 January, at 10 a.m. (EST). A resolution is expected to be adopted, the fourth in a series which reflects steady progress in embedding the protection, rights and well-being of children affected by armed conflict in the United Nations peace and security agenda.
The Secretary-General's report (document S/2002/1299) was submitted for consideration by the Security Council on 26 November 2002. In a major development, the report lists 23 parties to conflicts on the Council's agenda, including both governments and insurgents, that continue to recruit or use child soldiers. The conflicts are Afghanistan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Somalia.

The report also highlights other conflicts not on the agenda of the Security Council -- including Colombia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sudan, northern Uganda and Sri Lanka -- where children are recruited and used as combatants, as well as conflicts that have recently ended -- Angola, Kosovo, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau -- where demobilization and/or reintegration programmes for child combatants are under way.

"This report breaks new ground", said United Nations Under-Secretary-General Olara A. Otunnu, who is the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. "For the first time in an official report to the Security Council, those who violate standards for the protection of war-affected children have been specifically named and listed."

The Secretary-General's report also outlines the tremendous progress made in recent years to codify international norms and standards protecting children during conflict, as well as focusing on developments in key thematic areas, such as ending impunity, landmines and small arms, humanitarian access, illicit commercial exploitation of natural resources in conflict areas, displaced children, sexual exploitation and abuse, and the needs of girls.

"It is hoped", said Under-Secretary-General Otunnu, "that member States of the Security Council will seize the moment and adopt a resolution, with concrete and targeted measures, which further strengthens our ongoing efforts for the protection, rights and well-being of children affected by armed conflict." In so doing, he said, the Council will send "a strong message" to parties to conflict that a "new era of application" of the norms and standards protecting children has begun.

The Special Representative serves as international advocate for children affected by armed conflict by promoting standards and measures for their protection in times of war, as well as their healing and social reintegration in the aftermath of conflict.

For further information, please contact: Jean-Victor Nkolo, Communications Officer, Office the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, telephone: +1-212-963-9879, fax: +1-212-963-0807; e-mail: nkolo@un.org.