The present report, which covers the period from January to December 2016, is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2225 (2015). It highlights trends regarding the impact of armed conflict on children and provides information on violations committed in 2016, as well as related protection concerns. Where possible, violations are attributed to parties to conflict and, in line with the resolutions of the Council, the annexes to the report include a list of parties that, in violation of international law, engage in the recruitment and use of children, the killing and maiming of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, attacks on schools and/or hospitals and attacks or threats of attacks against protected personnel,and the abduction of children.
All the information provided in the report has been vetted for accuracy by the United Nations. In situations where the ability to obtain or verify information was hampered by factors such as insecurity or access restrictions, it is qualified as such. In this regard, the information contained in the report is only indicative and does not always represent the full scale of incidents committed in 2016. In addition, some incidents, in particular instances of recruitment and use of children, abduction of children and sexual violence against children, were verified in 2016 but may have commenced earlier.
Pursuant to Security Council resolution 1612 (2005) and in identifying situations that fall within the scope of the mandate, my Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict has adopted a pragmatic approach aimed at ensuring broad and effective protection for children. Accordingly, the present report documents situations in which apparent violations of international norms and standards for the protection of children affected by conflict are considered to be of such gravity as to warrant international concern. In characterizing the facts described below as grave violations, it is the aim of my Special Representative to bring these situations to the attention of national Governments, which bear the primary responsibility in providing effective protection and relief to all affected children, and to encourage them to take remedial measures. However, reference to a situation is not a legal determination and reference to a non-State actor does not affect its legal status.
The preparation of the report involved broad consultations within the United Nations, at Headquarters and in the field. The preparation of the present also reflects a new approach of enhanced engagement with Member States. Over the past six months, consultations with parties to conflict noted in the report focused on gaining a greater commitment to prevent violations against children. Where significant progress was achieved or ongoing conduct gave rise to concern, this is highlighted in country-specific sections.