The listing and delisting of perpetrators in the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict (CAAC) remains one of the most unique and powerful tools for promoting compliance with international law and making a first step towards accountability. In its sixth annual policy note, “A Credible List”: Recommendations for the Secretary-General’s 2022 Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, Watchlist provides information on grave violations committed against children in 12 countries in 2021 and makes recommendations for the Secretary-General’s forthcoming annual report on CAAC.

Drawing on UN-verified information and other credible accounts, Watchlist’s policy note recommends that 10 parties in eight countries be added to the Secretary-General’s ‘list of shame,’ listed for additional violations, or investigated further with a view towards possible listing. As grave violations against children escalate in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Niger, and Ukraine, Watchlist also calls on the Secretary-General to include these countries in the narrative of his upcoming annual report as ‘other situations of concern.’

Each year since its first “Credible List” policy note in 2017, Watchlist has called on the Secretary-General to add Ukraine as a ‘situation of concern’ in his annual report on CAAC given evidence of grave violations committed against children in the eastern region since 2014. Hostilities seriously escalated in February 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine leading to devastating impacts on children. In a March 2022 briefing note, Watchlist details growing concerns for the protection of children in Ukraine one month since the invasion started and provides recommendations to mitigate harm.

On April 12, 2022, Watchlist convened a virtual launch of its 32-page “Credible List” report. Over 50 participants representing UN Member States, UN agencies, and civil society attended the event. Speakers included Adrianne Lapar, Watchlist director; Bill Van Esveld, associate director in the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch; Hiwot Emishaw, regional humanitarian policy and advocacy manager for Eastern and Southern Africa for Save the Children; and Allan Rock, former ambassador and permanent representative of Canada to the UN. Jo Becker, the current chair of Watchlist’s Advisory Board and advocacy director of the Children’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, moderated the event.