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Annual Report Summary 2016: Children and armed conflict - Report of the Secretary-General



Trends and developments: 2016

Despite some progress in certain country situations, increasingly complex conflicts have resulted in widespread violations against children with occurrences of 6 grave violations documented.1

In 2016, there were at least 4,000 verified grave violations by Government forces and over 11,500 by non-State armed groups. Many more violations remain unattributed.


  • In the Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) finalized its Action Plan for the recruitment and use of children was delisted;

  • In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the national army finalized the recruitment and use of children aspects of its Action Plan and was delisted for this violation. It remains listed for sexual violence against children;

  • In Colombia, the signing of the peace agreement, including a special agreement on the release and reintegration of children formerly recruited and used by the FARC-EP, resulted in a decrease in documented cases of recruitment and use of children;

  • UN engagement with non-State armed groups resulted in the signing of two new Action Plans in Sudan (November 2016) and in Mali (March 2017); at the time of publication, a new Action Plan had been signed with the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Nigeria (September 2017);

  • Enhanced UN engagement with Government authorities led to the signature of a new Action Plan in Sudan (March 2016);

  • In the Central African Republic, 3,897 children, including over one thousand girls, were separated from armed groups.


  • Over 8,000 children were killed or maimed in 2016;

  • Afghanistan recorded the highest number of child casualties since the UN started documenting civilian casualties in 2009, with 3,512 children killed or maimed;

  • In Somalia, the number of children recruited and used doubled to 1,915 compared to 2015; in South Sudan, 1,022 children were recruited and used;

  • In Yemen, where the situation was particularly worrisome for the reporting period, in addition to a dire humanitarian situation putting children at risk, the United Nations verified 1,340 child casualties; over half were caused by air attacks;

  • In Nigeria, suicide attacks and the use of children as human bombs accounted for the majority of child casualties;

  • Over 2,000 children were killed or maimed in Iraq and Syria;

  • 90 instances of denial of humanitarian access were documented in Syria with an estimated 292,000 children trapped in besieged areas.