1. The present report, which covers the period from January to December 2017, is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2225 (2015). The preparation of the report involved broad consultations within the United Nations, in the field and at Headquarters, and with relevant Member States. It highlights recent global trends regarding the impact of armed conflict on children and provides information on violations committed in 2017, 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 present 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.
2. All the information provided in the report has been vetted for accuracy by the United Nations. In situations where the ability to 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 violations committed in 2017.
3. 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. However, reference to a situation is not a legal determination and reference to a non-State actor does not affect its legal status. 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 of providing effective protection and relief to all affected children, and to encourage Governments to take remedial measures.
4. Where significant progress was achieved and measures taken by listed parties positively affected the protection of children or where ongoing conduct gave rise to concern, this is highlighted in the country-specific sections. On the basis of the approach of enhanced engagement with Member States to prevent violations against children, the annexes distinguish between listed parties that have put in place measures aimed at improving the protection of children during the reporting period and parties that have not.