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Children and armed conflict - Report of the Secretary-General (A/74/845–S/2020/525)

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I. Introduction

  1. The present report, prepared following consultations and covering the period from January to December 2019, is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2427 (2018) and presents trends regarding the impact of armed conflict on children and information on violations committed. Where possible, violations are attributed to parties to conflict and the annexes to the present report include a list of parties engaging in violations against children, namely the recruitment and use of children, the killing and maiming of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence against the abduction of children, attacks on schools, hospitals and protected personnel, children.

  2. The information contained in the present report was vetted for accuracy by the United Nations. Where information is not verified, it is qualified as such. Where incidents were committed earlier but only verified in 2019, that information is qualified as relating to an incident that was verified at a later date. The information presented does not represent the full scale of violations against children, as verification depends on access. The report presents trends and patterns of violations, in order to effect a change in behaviour by parties, contribute to facilitating engagement with parties responsible for violations, promote accountability and include child protection issues in peace processes. Attacks or threats of attacks on community and civic leaders, on human rights defenders and on monitors of and violations against children is a cause for concern and a strain on the monitoring capacity.

  3. Pursuant to Security Council resolution 1612 (2005), my Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict adopted a pragmatic approach to ensure broad and effective protection for children. Reference to a situation is not a legal determination, and reference to a non-State actor does not affect its legal status. Accordingly, the report documents situations in which apparent violations of international norms and standards are of such gravity as to warrant international concern, given their impact on children. My Special Representative brings these situations to the attention of Governments, which bear the primary responsibility for protecting children, in order to encourage them to take remedial measures. Where measures undertaken by listed parties had a positive impact on children or where ongoing conduct is of concern, this is highlighted. On the basis of enhanced engagement with Member States, 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.