Meeting on Children and Armed Conflict

Jun 29, 2011

Ambassador Dr. Peter Wittig together with Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, cordially invite to a meeting on

Children and Armed Conflict: Attacks on Schools and Hospitals in Armed Conflict

in preparation of an open debate of the Security Council in July

Thursday, June 30, 2011

10.00 a.m. - 12.00 noon

ECOSOC Chamber, North Lawn Building

Welcoming remarks will be delivered by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Kimoon followed by a Keynote Speech of Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, Consort of the Emir of the State of Qatar, UNESCO Special Envoy on basic and higher education

Panelists:
Ms Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO
HE Ambassador Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France
Mr Martin Mogwanja, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF
Mr Robert Young, ICRC, Deputy Head of Delegation
Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict in cooperation with the
Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attacks

Background:

Within the context of its overall mandat to protect international peace and security, the Security Council has in the last years taken significant steps to establish a strong normative framework for the protection of children in situations of armed conflict. The appointment of Ms. Coomaraswamy to the position of Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, the establishment of a monitoring and reporting mechanism and the creation of a dedicated Working Group of the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict, through Security Council resolution 1612 (2005), are seen as landmark decisions in this regard.

With Security Council resolution 1882 (2009), the Security Council expanded the gateway to the annexes of the annual report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict - the so-called "list of shame" - to include not only parties to conflict that recruit and use children as child soldier, but also those parties that are responsible for killing and maiming of children in contravention of international law and/or rape and other forms of sexual violence committed against children, in situations of armed conflict.

The innovative approach of the Security Council in dealing with the issue of Children and Armed Conflict - through applying political pressure by 'naming and shaming' parties to conflict, the threat of targeted measures by the Security Council and the possibility for parties to conflict to be 'delisted' if they stop violations against children and enter into action plans with the United Nations - has produced tangible results. Since 2006, thousands of children have been released from armed forces and armed groups.

However, serious challenges remain. As evidenced in the last annual report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict (A/65/820 – S/2011/250), attacks against schools and hospitals in situations of armed conflict are a significant concern and a growing trend.

In many armed conflicts, schools are physically destroyed by armed actors, and students and education personnel are attacked, threatened or intimidated. Recognizing the problem, the General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on „The right to education in emergency situations“  (A/RES/64/290) in 2010. The Security Council, in its last presidential statement on 'Children and Armed Conflict' (S/PRST/2010/10) expressed deep concern about the growing number of attacks or threats of attacks, in contravention of applicable international law, against schools and educational facilities.

Attacks on hospitals have resulted in civilian casualties in a number of armed conflict situations. As children are most often the largest caseload of clients in hospitals, civilian casualties of attacks on hospitals invariably include children. Threats of attacks on medical personnel or infrastructure may lead to the disruption of the delivery of health services and/or the closure of hospitals, which may endanger the lives of children through the loss of live-saving medical services, such as inoculations, maternal or pediatric care.

In his last annual report the Secretary-General recommended to the Security Council to consider expanding the listing criteria for the annexes of the annual report to also include parties that attack schools and/or hospitals. Consequently, Germany is about to submit a draft resolution to the Security Council in order to take appropriate action. The meeting on June 30, 2011 is intended to prepare the ground for this draft resolution.

© GermanyUN