On 18 June 2015, Malaysia, Chair of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, hosted an Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict (CAC) under its Presidency. For the second year in a row, this was the second CAC open debate to be held at the UN Security Council in a calendar year, the first one hosted by France on 25 March 2015. The June open debate followed the publication of the Secretary-General’s 14th Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, and resulted in an outcome in form of Resolution 2225 (2015).

Malaysia chose to highlight abduction of children as a theme in the June open debate. To that end, Malaysia initiated a resolution expanding the listing criteria to the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual report on CAC to include parties that commit abduction of children as one of the six grave violations that the UN monitors and reports on as part of its CAC agenda. Watchlist welcomed this development as an important step to further strengthen the UN’s overall framework on CAC, and acknowledge the rising trend of abduction as one of the grave violations being committed against children. Resolution 2225 (2015) was unanimously adopted by the Council membership.

At the open debate, the Council was addressed by the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, his Special Representative on CAC, Ms. Leila Zerrougui, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, Ms. Yoka Brandt, and a member of a civil society organization called Facilitation for Peace and Development, Ms. Eunice Apio. Seventy-three delegations delivered statements speaking to the Secretary-General’s annual report and the abductions theme, as well as other timely issues confronted by the CAC agenda, such as tackling root causes of conflict to prevent future child recruitment, among others. Nineteen Member States raised concerns regarding the Secretary-General’s listing criteria for the report’s ‘list of shame’. Watchlist raised concerns regarding the same in its press release published on the occasion of this open debate.

A full analysis of the debate and the impact of Watchlist’s advocacy efforts is pending publication, and will be made available on its website shortly.