Oral update of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict (A/HRC/24/CRP.1)

from UN Human Rights Council
Published on 04 Sep 2013 View Original

Human Rights Council
Twenty-fourth session
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development

I. Introduction

1 . This paper is transmitted to the Human Rights Council at its 24th session in view of the oral update of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. The Special Representative will submit her annual report to the Council in March 2014 in accordance with the annual programme of work of the Council and General Assembly resolution 66/141.

2 . The update covers the period from June 2012 to July 2013. It seeks to provide an overview of the activities undertaken by the Special Representative in the fulfillment of her mandate and of the progress and challenges remaining on the children and armed conflict agenda.

II. Ongoing challenges for children in armed conflict

3 . The situation of children affected by armed conflict worldwide remains of serious concern. During the period under review, armed conflict not only continued to lead to violations of children’s rights to life and physical integrity, but also to deprive them of their basic economic, social and cultural rights. Blurred front lines and the absence of identifiable opponents, as well as the use of sophisticated warfare technologies, in many of today’s conflicts exacerbate the threats faced by children.

4 . National legal and policy frameworks to protect children, where they exist, still need to be translated into effective protection for children, and national accountability mechanisms strengthened. Lack of political will, limited capacities of national institutions, in particular of justice systems, and insufficient allocation or absence of resources and expertise to conduct investigations undermine efforts to combat impunity.

5 . During the period under review, children continued to be killed and maimed by the extensive use of explosive weapons in conflict, including in active combat and cross fire, by improvised explosive devices, rockets, land mines, unexploded ordnance and remnants of war, or by air strikes, including drone strikes. Recruitment and use of children by armed forces and armed groups remained of concern in both emerging and protracted conflict situations. Furthermore, thousands of children continued to be abducted, subjected to sexual violence, denied humanitarian access and deprived of education and health care in many countries. Children were also arrested and detained either for their association with parties to conflict or for acts allegedly committed while associated with armed groups.

6 . In an increasing number of conflict situations, schools are used by armed forces and armed groups for military purposes, putting children at risk of attack and resulting in reduced enrolment and high dropout rates, especially among girls. Attacks on schools and hospitals, as well as looting of these institutions, in situations of conflict remain widespread and alarming. Education and medical personnel are often victims of threats, targeted killings and abductions in a number of conflict situations.