Recommendations to the Security Council
Central African Republic (CAR)
Local militias known as anti-balaka, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and the Front populaire pour la renaissance de la Centrafrique (FPRC), Mouvement patriotique pour la Centrafrique (MPC), and Union pour la paix en Centrafrique (UPC) as part of the former Séléka coalition, are all listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s (SG) 2022 annual report (S/2022/493) on children and armed conflict (CAAC) for various grave violations against children. In November, MINUSCA’s mandate is up for renewal, per SCR 2605 (2021). According to the SG’s October report (S/2022/762), between June and October 1, 2022, the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) verified 366 grave violations against 334 children (205 boys, 129 girls). Violations included the recruitment and use of 286 children, the killing and maiming of 26 children, 30 incidents of rape and other forms of sexual violence, the abduction of 11 children, three attacks on schools, and 10 incidents of the denial of humanitarian access. The Security Council should:
- Renew MINUSCA’s child protection mandate, maintain current capacity in the child protection unit to fully deliver on this mandate, and ensure child protection continues to be prioritized as a cross-cutting issue, including through the national disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program, security sector reform, and activities to promote the protection of civilians and rule of law;
- Call on all parties to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (IHRL), and to end and prevent grave violations against children, including by engaging with the UN to sign and implement action plans to end and prevent all six grave violations against children; urge the MPC, FPRC, and UPC to fully and swiftly implement their respective action plans and release all children still in their ranks;
- Call on the Government to fully implement all aspects of the Child Protection Code and to ensure perpetrators of grave violations are held accountable and that child survivors of sexual violence have access to comprehensive, gender-sensitive, and age-appropriate response systems and services and strengthened preventive measures; encourage the Government to appoint child protection focal points in the armed forces and establish effective measures in cooperation with the UN to end and prevent grave violations by National Defense Forces and other security personnel;
- Urge the adoption and implementation of a handover protocol to facilitate the release of children to civilian child protection actors, prioritizing their reintegration in line with the Paris Principles and Commitments, which the Government has endorsed.
FRANCE IS THE LEAD COUNTRY ON CAR.
Four parties to conflict are listed in the annexes of the SG’s 2022 annual report on CAAC for recruiting and using children. Of these, the Houthis (who call themselves Ansar Allah) are also listed for killing and maiming children and attacks on schools and hospitals. Also in this report, the SG delisted Yemeni Government Forces for recruiting and using children “conditional upon the finalization of all pending action plan activities and the continued decrease in the recruitment and use of children.” In November, the Security Council will receive its monthly briefing on Yemen. On October 2, the truce which had been in place since April, expired despite extensive efforts to secure its renewal. During the six months the truce was in place, child casualties decreased 34 percent, with two-thirds of child casualties during this time caused by landmines and unexploded ordnance. On October 7, one year after the termination of the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts (GEE), the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Yemen which failed to establish an independent and impartial monitoring and investigative mechanism despite extensive civil society calls for such a mechanism. The Security Council should:
- Reiterate its call on parties to reinstate the truce and to urgently work towards a comprehensive and inclusive peace process that includes meaningful child participation and protection measures, pursuant to SCR 2427 (2018) and drawing on the Practical Guidance for Mediators;
- Call on all parties to fully and swiftly implement their respective action plans and other concrete commitments to end and prevent grave violations against children, including the Government of Yemen’s 2014 action plan to end and prevent recruitment and use and 2018 roadmap, the Coalition’s 2019 memorandum of understanding and related program of activities, and the Houthi’s 2022 action plan; and urge all parties to conflict who have not yet done so to sign and implement action plans with the UN to end and prevent grave violations;
- Urge all parties to facilitate immediate, safe, and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to children and other civilians in need; and call for increased efforts to identify and remove landmines and unexploded remnants of war and to hold perpetrators of all violations and abuses against children accountable, including through timely, independent, and systematic investigations, and, as appropriate, prosecution and conviction;
- Call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the recommendations of the SCWG-CAAC, as elaborated in its third conclusions on Yemen; support efforts to ensure sustainable financial resources for child protection activities and programs in Yemen, including for the implementation of warring parties’ commitments and of the SCWG-CAAC conclusions.
THE UNITED KINGDOM IS THE LEAD COUNTRY ON YEMEN.
Recommendations to the Working Group
Since January 2021, the Working Group has received the SG’s reports on children and armed conflict in Myanmar (S/2020/1243), Syria (S/2021/398), Afghanistan (S/2021/662), the Central African Republic (S/2021/882), Somalia (S/2022/397), Nigeria (S/2022/596), and the Philippines (S/2022/569). For targeted recommendations, see Watchlist’s Monthly CAAC updates from February 2021, June 2021, September 2021, December 2021, July 2022, and October 2022, respectively.
In August, the SG released his seventh report on CAAC in the Sudan (S/2022/627), covering the period from January 2020 to December 2021. During this time, the CTFMR verified 520 grave violations against 445 children (287 boys and 157 girls, 1 of unknown sex), as well as 32 grave violations that had taken place in an earlier reporting period. Killing and maiming accounted for 68.5 percent of verified violations, followed by rape and other forms of sexual violence and abduction. Recruitment and use increased since the last reporting period, mostly during recruitment drives in the four months following the signing of the Juba Agreement. The UN also verified the killing and maiming of 20 children in the context of excessive use of force by Government Security Forces during public demonstrations between October and December 2021. The CTFMR noted challenges to its activities due to movement restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, access constraints following the October 2021 military coup, as well as significantly decreased child protection capacity following the withdrawal of the UNAMID mission. More than half of verified violations (63.5 percent) were not able to be attributed to a specific perpetrator. Where perpetrators were identified, Government Security Forces were found responsible for nearly one-fifth of violations (100), followed by the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW) (60). The Working Group should:
- Strongly condemn all continuing violations and abuses committed against children, and demand that all parties uphold their obligations under IHL and IHRL, taking concrete measures to prevent, or in any event minimize, harm to civilians, including children, in accordance with the principles of precaution, distinction, and proportionality;
- Urge all armed groups to immediately release all children under 18 from their ranks and prevent and end all child recruitment and use; reiterate that children associated with armed forces and groups should be treated primarily as victims and call on Sudanese authorities to continue implementing the 2018 standard operating procedures for the release and handover of children associated with armed groups and captured during operations;
- Call for accelerated efforts to end impunity for perpetrators of grave violations, including violations committed by Government Security Forces; support comprehensive, gender-sensitive, and age-appropriate response systems and services for child survivors of sexual violence and strengthened preventive measures; and encourage Sudanese authorities to engage with the UN to develop and implement a national prevention plan on grave violations against children;
- Urge all listed parties toengage with the UN to develop, sign, and implement action plans to end and prevent grave violations, and to expedite implementation of existing action plans and roadmaps, including the National Plan for the Protection of Civilians;
- 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;
- Ensure sufficient resources are allocated and swiftly deployed to allow UNITAMS to fully deliver on its child protection mandate, pursuant to SCR 1612 (2005) and subsequent resolutions on CAAC.
Presidency of the Security Council for November:
Ghana: Party to Geneva Conventions I-IV, Additional Protocols I and II, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the Rome Statue of the ICC, and ILO Convention 182. Has endorsed the Paris Principles and Commitments, the Vancouver Principles, and the Safe Schools Declaration.
- Amnesty International, ‘They Were Just Kids,’ Evidence of War Crimes During Israel’s August 2022 Gaza Offensive, October 25, 2022
- Save the Children, Flooding, Conflict, and Hunger Crushing the Lives of South Sudan’s Children, October 14, 2022
- Human Rights Watch, US Stops Funding Some Militaries Using Child Soldiers, October 11, 2022
- Save the Children, Global Girlhood Report 2022: Girls on the Frontline, October 11, 2022
- Action Contre la Faim, et al., Joint Statement: Aid Agencies Call for Upholding International Humanitarian Law, Protection of Civilians and Civilian Objects in Ukraine, October 10, 2022
- Médecins Sans Frontières, Mozambique: Five Years into Conflict, Mental Health Needs Remain High in Cabo Delgado, October 5, 2022
- Amnesty International, et al., Joint Statement: NGOs Welcome Reported Move to Repatriate Australian Women and Children from Northeast Syria, October 3, 2022
- Human Rights Watch, Nigeria Agrees to End Military Detention, October 3, 2022