The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are listed in the annex of the Secretary-General’s (SG) 2020 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. In May, UNAMI’s mandate is up for renewal, pursuant to SCR 2522 (2020). In January, UNICEF confirmed two children were injured in an attack, and one child was killed and her sister wounded after coming into contact with an unexploded remnant of war. The SG’s recent report on conflict-related sexual violence (S/2021/312) highlights continuing challenges faced by children associated with ISIL, such as detention, stigma, displacement, risk of statelessness, and lack of access to identity documents or justice. In March, the Government passed the Yazidi Survivors Law, providing reparations and assistance to survivors from some minority groups. Watchlist’s recent report found that there is currently no national strategy or legal framework guiding the Government’s response to children associated with armed groups, and access to reintegration is often limited and short-term. The Security Council should:

  • Call on 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;
  • Urge the Government to treat children affected by armed conflict primarily as victims and prioritize their reintegration, including those children formerly or allegedly associated with groups designated as terrorist, taking into account that detention should only be used as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;
  • Encourage the Government to adopt and implement 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 to 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 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.