On 18 June 2015, the UN Security Council (UNSC) held an Open Debate on children and armed conflict under the Presidency of Malaysia, Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. The open debate centered on the theme of abduction of children in situations of armed conflict, and followed the publication of the Secretary-General’s 14th annual report on children and armed conflict. During the debate, Security Council members unanimously adopted Resolution 2225 (2015), which added abductions as the fifth “trigger” for inclusion of parties into the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual report.
- Click here to read the transcript of the Open Debate
For the second year in a row, the UN Security Council has held two thematic debates on children and armed conflict. The first debate was held on 25 March 2015, under the Presidency of France, and focused on children as victims of non-State armed actors (ANSAs). During the debate, the Council was briefed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC), Ms. Leila Zerrougui, and was additionally addressed by Ms. Yoka Brandt, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, and Eunice Apio, Director of Facilitation for Peace and Development, a civil society organization working to promote human rights in Northern Uganda. Seventy-three delegations representing 167 countries participated in the debate.
The overall tone of the debate was constructive, with Member States voicing overwhelming support for the UNSC’s expansion of the “triggers” for listing parties to a conflict to include the grave violation of abductions. The most prominent themes addressed were: 1) the Secretary-General’s inclusion of parties to armed conflict that engage in abductions of children as criteria for listings in the annexes to his reports on CAAC; 2) preventing attacks on education and ending military use of schools; 3) a call on all parties to ensure that children associated with armed groups or forces are treated as victims first; and 4) ensuring accountability for the security sector actors for effectively protecting children’s rights while deployed in the field. Another notable theme was an apparent concern by Member States regarding the Secretary-General’s listing and delisting process in his “list of shame” for holding parties to conflict accountable for committing grave violations against children.
Watchlist’s analysis of the debate provides more detail regarding the above themes, as well as an overview of the statements by participating delegations that pertain to Watchlist’s recommendations to the UNSC.