In March 2013, the UN Security Council called for increased efforts to protect children affected by armed conflict when it renewed its authorization for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The strengthened language in the relevant resolutions followed Watchlist advocacy aimed at mainstreaming the protection of children in these resolutions.
On 6 March 2013, the Security Council adopted resolution S/RES/2093, renewing authorization of AMISOM until 28 February 2014. As in previous years, the Council condemned and called for an end to violations against civilians, including specifically children, and stressed the responsibility of all parties to comply with their obligations to protect from civilians. The Council also specifically condemned grave violations against children and urged the Government of Somalia, as a matter of priority, to implement the action plans it concluded to end the recruitment and use of children and the killing and maiming of children.
Resolution 2093 also contains several significant new provisions not included in prior resolutions on AMISOM. First, it calls for perpetrators of grave violations to be brought to justice. Second, it calls for the deployment of a child protection adviser within AMISOM to mainstream child protection. Third, it includes the monitoring and reporting of violations against children among the guiding principles for a new UN mission in Somalia. The resolution also renews the Council’s decision that perpetrators of grave violations against children should be subject to appropriate sanctions. These issues had all been raised by Watchlist in its March 2013 Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update or at the Workshop held at Princeton University on 8 February.
On 19 March 2013, the Security Council adopted resolution S/RES/2096, renewing authorization of UNAMA until 19 March 2014. As with previous resolutions on UNAMA, the Security Council expressed serious concern with the high number of civilian casualties, particularly women and children, expressed its concern at the recruitment and use of children by the Taliban and other groups, condemned violations against children and called for those responsible to be brought to justice. The Security Council also called for the full implementation, in close cooperation with UNAMA, of the provisions of the action plan to end recruitment and use concluded by the Afghan Government and requested the Secretary-General to continue to give priority to the child protection activities and capacity of UNAMA.
The explicit reference to UNAMA’s child protection capacity was new in resolution 2096 and addresses concerns raised by Watchlist regarding UNAMA’s ability to effectively support action plan implementation. In 2012, the Secretary-General had proposed cutting the Child Protection Unit of UNAMA, despite having previously indicated that the mission lacked the expertise or resources otherwise to fulfill its child protection functions of monitoring and reporting, let alone to support action plan implementation. In resolution A/RES/67/246, the General Assembly rejected the abolition of this Unit, and the explicit reference in resolution S/RES/2093 to strengthening the mission’s child protection capacity reinforces the importance of this Unit. Also new in resolution 2096, the Security Council requested the Secretary-General to include the matter of children and armed conflict in his reports on Afghanistan, addressing a concern raised by Watchlist in its March 2013 Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update.