In August, the Secretary-General (SG) released his third report (S/2022/596) on children and armed conflict (CAAC) in Nigeria, covering the period from January 2020 to December 2021. During this time, the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) verified 694 grave violations against 532 children (279 boys, 250 girls, 3 unknown sex), representing a significant decrease from the previous report (S/2020/652) which covered a longer period. The main perpetrators were Boko Haram-affiliated and splinter groups (610), including Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad (JAS) and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), followed by Nigerian Security Forces (32). The most prevalent verified violation was abduction (287), and the real number is believed to be “significantly higher” as access and security constraints hindered verification. Abducted children are frequently subjected to other grave violations including recruitment and use and rape and other forms of sexual violence. The UN verified 70 cases of recruitment and use, the killing and maiming of 212 children, 63 cases of sexual violence against girls, and 30 attacks on schools and hospitals. Increased hostility toward humanitarian workers was observed during the reporting period, and 32 incidents of denial of humanitarian access were verified. Children continued to be arrested and detained by Nigerian Security Forces on suspicion of involvement with Boko Haram-affiliated and splinter groups, often with little or no evidence. The CTFMR verified the detention of 275 children by the Nigerian Security Forces, almost all of whom were released during the reporting period. The UN could not determine the actual number of children still detained as access to detention facilities has been denied. The Working Group should:

  • Strongly condemn all continuing violations committed against children, and demand that all parties uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (IHRL);
  • Call on the Government and the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) to sustain gains made through implementation of the CJTF’s 2017 action plan and to swiftly implement its remaining provisions on trainings on children’s rights and establishing accountability mechanisms;
  • Remind all parties that children affected by armed conflict should be treated primarily as victims, including those allegedly associated with armed groups designated as terrorist by the UN; their reintegration should be prioritized in line with international juvenile justice standards; call on the Government to endorse the Paris Principles and Commitments;
  • Urge the Government to immediately release children held in military detention, expedite endorsement of and urgently implement a protocol to swiftly hand over children allegedly associated with armed groups to civilian child protection actors, and grant UN and independent monitors access to detention facilities;
  • Demand that all parties allow and facilitate the safe, unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected populations, especially children; and respect and protect humanitarian personnel, assets, and infrastructure;
  • Encourage strengthened accountability for perpetrators of grave violations, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, and support comprehensive, gender-sensitive, and age-appropriate response systems and services for child survivors of sexual violence and strengthened preventive measures.

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


Following the listing of Boko Haram in the annexes of the UN Secretary-General’s 2014 annual report on children and armed conflict and the subsequent activation of the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) in Nigeria, Watchlist provided support via its Partnerships Program to promote local civil society engagement. In coordination with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Watchlist provided a training of trainers to a group of human rights defenders from Northeastern Nigeria; the training included sessions on UN Security Council Resolution 1612, NGO engagement with the MRM, the six grave violations, and methodology for documenting child rights violations. In a subsequent pilot project, participants conducted their own trainings on monitoring and reporting grave violations for other civil society representatives in conflict-affected regions.


UN Action

Year listed: 2014
Action Plans signed: Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) action plan to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children (September 2017)
Sanctions Committee: No
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Nigeria: 20202017
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Nigeria: 2020; 2017

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
Boko Haram b, d a,b,d a,b,d,e a,b,c,d,e
Civilian Joint Task Force ~ a 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.