Da’esh (formerly referred to as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) is listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s (SG) latest annual report on children and armed conflict (CAAC) for all five “trigger” violations against children, and the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are listed for child recruitment and use. In September, the SG will report on UNAMI’s mandate, pursuant to SCR 2631 (2022), and UNITAD’s mandate is up for renewal, per SCR 2597 (2021). As of December 2021, over 1,200 children remained in detention on national security-related charges, including for alleged association with Da’esh. In 2021, explosive remnants of war (ERW) were the leading cause of child casualties (127). Incidents of both the military use of schools and denial of humanitarian access increased in 2021, with most incidents attributed to Iraqi Government Forces. The UN described a rise in the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in Iraq following attacks on June 15, 2022, and July 20, 2022, both of which resulted in child casualties. The Security Council should:

  • Call on the Government to strengthen the national child protection framework, including by prioritizing the adoption and swift implementation of the draft action plan to end and prevent child recruitment and use by the PMF; acknowledge the Government’s commitment to repatriate children held in Northeast Syria following a rights-based approach and encourage them to continue to do so, in accordance with their duty under international law;
  • Urge the Government to intensify efforts to remove administrative barriers hindering the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians, including children, to implement international legal instruments on improvised explosive devices (IED), landmines, and other ERW, and to promote mine clearance and mine risk education; urge all parties to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas;
  • Recall that all children allegedly associated with armed forces and armed groups (CAAFAG), including those allegedly associated with armed groups designated as terrorist by the UN, should be treated primarily as victims, their reintegration should be prioritized, and detention should only be used as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate time;
  • Call on the Government to endorse the Paris Principles and Commitments and encourage the development and signing of a handover protocol to facilitate the release of children to child protection actors for reintegration and other support services; urge donors to provide long-term, predictable funding for reintegration;
  • Encourage the Government to implement its commitments under the Safe Schools Declaration and take concrete measures to avoid military use of schools, pursuant to SCR 2601 (2021), and ensure accountability and redress for attacks on education.

The United States is the lead country on Iraq.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – September 2022.

UN Action

Year listed: 2009
Action Plans signed: No
Sanctions Committee: 1518 Sanctions Committee; ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee (Current Chair: Indonesia) 
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Iraq: 2022; 20192015; 2011 
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Iraq: 2020; 2016; 2011
UN Mission: UNAMI

Perpetrators listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict

2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Al-Qaida in Iraq (AQ-I)* a, b a a a, b, d a, b, d a,b,d
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)* a, b a, b, d a, b, d a,b,d a,b,c,d a,b,c,d,e a,b,c,d,e
Popular mobilization forces a

a: Parties that recruit and use children
b: Parties that kill and maim children
c: Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children

d: Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals
e: Parties that engage in abduction of children
f: Parties that deny humanitarian access to children

~ This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).
* This party has been in the annexes for at least five years and is therefore considered a persistent perpetrator.