The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are listed in the Secretary-General’s (SG) most recent annual report on children and armed conflict (CAAC) for recruitment and use of children, and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is listed for all five ‘trigger’ violations. UNAMI’s mandate is set to expire in May, pursuant to SCR 2470 (2019). In January, the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict received the SG’s third report on the situation of children in Iraq (S/2019/984). Negotiations on Working Group conclusions were ongoing at the time of writing. The SG’s February report on UNAMI (S/2020/140) did not include any additional information on grave violations against children verified during the reporting period. Following her visit in February, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) expressed concern about the situation of IDP children who are “traumatized by violence [and] deprived of education and opportunities.” Efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 have drastically increased administrative barriers to movements, hampering access for health and humanitarian workers, despite assurances from the national Government. The Security Council should:

  • Renew UNAMI’s child protection mandate, and ensure sufficient budgetary and operational capacity to allow UNAMI to effectively deliver on this mandate, including through monitoring and reporting on grave violations against children and engaging with listed parties to end violations;
  • Call for continued efforts to hold perpetrators accountable for grave violations, in particular those which may constitute genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes; and urge all parties to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (IHRL);
  • Further urge the Government to remove administrative barriers hindering the delivery of humanitarian aid to children, other civilians in need, without discrimination, including the issuing of identity documents;
  • Remind all parties that children – including those with actual or alleged association with ISIL and other armed groups – should be considered primarily as victims, entitled to full protection of their rights, and urge the Government to develop and prioritize alternatives to detention whenever possible, ensuring the best interests of the child, in accordance with juvenile justice standards;
  • Call on all Member States to facilitate the return of their child nationals held in Iraq for actual or alleged association with ISIL; provide reintegration support in line with international standards and ensuring the best interests of the child.

The United States is the lead country on Iraq.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – May 2020.

UN Action

Year listed: 2009
Action Plans signed: No
Sanctions Committee: Sanctions Committee concerning Iraq
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Iraq: 2015; 2011 
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Iraq: 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.