On July 5, 2011, the Secretary-General released his fourth report on the situation of children and armed conflict in Sudan.  On July 9 2011, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan. Given the changing realities on the ground, the Security Council’s Working Group has been negotiating two separate outcome documents for the report: one set of conclusions for children and armed conflict in Sudan and one set of conclusions for children and armed conflict in South-Sudan.

On May 31, 2012 – almost eleven months after the publication of the report- the Working Group met in formal session to adopt the conclusions on Sudan and South Sudan. However, in the absence of a consensus on humanitarian access in Sudan, the Working Group was unable to adopt the conclusions.

Sudan has now known one of the longest periods of inaction for a single country since the establishment of the Working Group. This delay prevents the Security Council from taking a stance against violations perpetrated against children in both countries – at a time where violent conflict has reached new levels along the South Sudan –Sudan border. The delay also undermines the Working Group’s ability to address the situation of children and armed conflict in Sri Lanka, Colombia, Burma/Myanmar, Yemen and the LRA-affected areas. While these five situations are still part of the Secretary-General’s 2011 Report on Children and Armed Conflict, a new reporting cycle is already due to start in June with the publication of the Secretary-General’s 2012 Report.

In May of this year, the Working Group was able to formally present the Secretary-General’s reports on Sri Lanka and Colombia. It is expected that the Working Group will first discuss Sri Lanka before examining the situation of children and armed conflict in Colombia. The Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict also briefed the Working Group on the situation in Syria, Libya and Mali. Finally, the SRSG briefed the Council’s Working Group on the listing and delisting criteria for attacks on schools and hospitals, as stipulated by SCR 1998 in July 2011. This topic will also feature in the Secretary-General’s upcoming 11th Report on the situation of Children and Armed Conflict.

The Secretary – General’s report on children affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army was released on May 25.