In a May 2021 open letter, 18 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including Watchlist, called on United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to publish a complete list of perpetrators of grave violations in his 2021 annual report to the Security Council on children and armed conflict (S/2021/437). The letter urged the Secretary-General to publish a list that is evidence-based and accurately reflects data collected and verified by the UN Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM).

The 18 NGOs reiterated their disappointment with the significant disparities between the evidence presented in the 2020 annual report (S/2020/525) and the parties listed in its annexes for committing grave violations against children. Civil society groups have repeatedly raised concerns about disparities between the data presented in the report and its annexes with the Secretary-General and his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, over the course of several years.

Reacting to the 2021 annual report, a group of internationally respected experts on children and armed conflict released a statement expressing their deep disappointment at continued omissions from the perpetrators list, particularly of government forces. The same experts previously undertook an independent review of the listing and de-listing decisions between 2010 and 2020 – publishing the findings of their analysis in a March 2021 report, Keeping the Promise: An Independent Review of the UN’s Annual List of Perpetrators of Grave Violations against Children, 2010-2020.

The MRM, the annual report, and its annexed list of perpetrators will only remain as powerful as they are credible and consistently applied to all perpetrators.

To read Watchlist’s press release on the SG’s annual report, please click here.