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 (S/2022/493) 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 January, the SG is expected to report on UNAMI, pursuant to SCR 2631 (2022). According to the SG’s September report (S/2022/714), the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) verified 63 grave violations against children in Iraq between April 1 and August 31. Violations included the killing and maiming of 25 children (21 boys, four girls), the recruitment and use of 24 children (14 boys, 10 girls), five abductions (three boys, two girls), one incident of rape and other forms of sexual violence, and eight incidents of the denial of humanitarian access. The majority of civilian casualties documented by UNAMI during this period were caused by small arms fire, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), shelling, and explosive remnants of war (ERW). Displacement and lack of civil documentation continue to be widely reported as barriers to children’s access to basic services, including education. The provision of specialized services for conflict-affected children remains critical, including for Yazidi children and children returned from Al Hol camp. 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 efforts to repatriate children held in Northeast Syria and encourage them to continue to do so, following a rights-based approach, 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, and to issue identification documents to allow all children to access public assistance and basic services, including education;
  • Call on the Government to implement international legal instruments on IEDs, 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) should be treated primarily as victims, including those allegedly associated with armed groups designated as terrorist by the UN and those who may have committed crimes, 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 – January 2023.

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.