On August 2, 2016, the UN Security Council held an Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict (CAC) under the Presidency of Malaysia, Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. The August Open Debate followed the publication of the Secretary-General’s 15th Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict covering the period from January 1 to December 31, 2015. Malaysia chose to focus the debate on several key topics, including the impact of extreme violence and displacement on children, which were also highlighted in the annual report. This Open Debate fell near the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Graça Machel’s groundbreaking report, Impact of armed conflict on children, that prompted the UN General Assembly to establish the post of the Special Representative to the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC) to serve as an independent advocate for the protection and well-being of children affected by war.
- Click here to read the transcript of the Open Debate
At the Open Debate, the Council was addressed by the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, the SRSG-CAAC, Ms. Leila Zerrougui, and the Executive Director of UNICEF, Mr. Anthony Lake. The overall tone of the debate was mostly positive. Nearly half of the intervening delegations (30 of 69) voiced support for the Council’s CAC agenda and the mandate of the SRSG-CAAC, while reflecting on the agenda’s accomplishments over the last 20 years. The most prominent themes addressed were: 1) need for accurate and credible listing of perpetrators of the six grave violations, free of politics and based on impartial, evidence-based reporting, and use of credible tools such as the UN-led Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM); 2) call for successful implementation of existing UN action plans with armed forces and groups listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict; 3) calls for maintaining the UN’s specialized capacity to better monitor, report, and respond to child rights violations in the field, including on detention of children for their association with armed forces and armed groups, and attacks on health care; and 4) strengthening child rights protections within UN peacekeeping operations by ensuring greater accountability for, and prevention of, violations by UN peacekeepers.
Watchlist’s analytical summary of the Debate provides more detail regarding specific themes featured in the debate, as well as an overview of the statements by participating delegations that pertain to Watchlist’s recommendations the UNSC.