The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are listed for recruiting and using children in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s (SG) latest annual report on children and armed conflict (CAAC), and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is listed for all five ‘trigger’ violations. In August, the SG will report on the implementation of UNAMI’s mandate, pursuant to SCR 2576 (2021), which included expanded language on child protection, specifically, noting that children affected by armed conflict should be treated primarily as victims and calling for implementation of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (SCWG-CAAC) conclusions on Iraq. According to the SG’s May periodic report (S/2021/426), 12 children were killed and 15 injured in the first quarter of 2021. In his latest annual report on CAAC, the SG expressed continued concern about child casualties caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosive remnants of war (ERW), as well as the situation of children detained on national security-related charges. As of December 31, 2020, 1,114 children remained detained on such charges, including for their actual or alleged association with armed groups. In July, an explosion at a market in Baghdad reportedly killed at least 30 people, including children. The Security Council should:

  • Call on the Government to develop and implement an action plan to prevent the recruitment and use of children by the PMF, and call on the Inter-ministerial Committee on Monitoring and Reporting on Grave Child Rights Violations to resume consultations with the United Nations;
  • Urge the Government to intensify efforts to remove administrative barriers hindering the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians, including children, to issue identification documents to allow all children to access public assistance and basic services, to implement international legal instruments on IEDs, landmines, and other ERW, and to promote mine clearance and mine risk education;
  • Recalling that children should be treated  primarily as victims, including children formerly or allegedly associated with armed groups designated as terrorist, 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 adoption and implementation of a handover protocol to facilitate the release of children to child protection actors for their reintegration;
  • Call on Member States to facilitate the return of their nationals, including children of their nationals, held for their or their family members’ actual or alleged association with ISIL and other armed groups, and to provide reintegration support in line with international standards and ensuring the best interests of the child;
  • Encourage the Government to implement its commitments under the Safe Schools Declaration, ensuring 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 – August 2021.

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: 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.