In July, the Working Group received the Secretary-General’s (SG) second report (S/2020/652) on children and armed conflict in Nigeria, covering January 2017 to December 2019. During this period, the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) verified 5,741 grave violations against children in northeast Nigeria, 86 percent of which occurred in Borno State. Boko Haram was the main perpetrator of verified violations, including an additional 623 grave violations spilling over into Cameroon, Niger, and Chad. Children were held in military detention facilities in Giwa and Maimalari barracks for alleged association with Boko Haram, and the UN was denied access to facilities and children during the reporting period. A 2019 Human Rights Watch report, describes “squalid and overcrowded” conditions for children as young as five years old held in military detention, many never formally charged with a crime. The Working Group should:

  • Strongly condemn all grave violations against children, in particular recruitment and use, rape and other forms of sexual violence, abduction, and increasing denial of humanitarian access; urge all parties to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (IHRL) and to allow safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to children and other civilians in need;
  • Welcome progress in identifying, releasing, and reintegrating children associated with the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and prevention of new child recruitment per its 2017 action plan; encourage the CJTF to fully complete the action plan and facilitate release of any remaining children in its ranks;
  • Remind all parties that children are to be treated primarily as victims, and urge the Government to immediately release children held in military detention, sign and implement its draft protocol to facilitate release and timely handover of children allegedly associated with armed groups to civilian child protection actors, and ensure any prosecution for alleged crimes committed is carried out in line with international standards of juvenile justice;
  • Encourage strengthened accountability for perpetrators of grave violations against children, in particular for rape and other forms of sexual violence, and support comprehensive, gender-sensitive, and age-appropriate recovery and protection for child survivors of sexual violence.

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


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.