Release and Reintegration of Children and Prevention of Grave Violations
A total of 13,600 children benefited from release and reintegration support worldwide, an increasing number compared to the previous year (12,000). 2,253 children were separated from armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 833 in Nigeria and 785 in the Central African Republic. As the number of children released is increasing, resources and funding for reintegration support must meet the growing needs, as called for in Security Council resolution 2427 (2018) and highlighted in the report’s recommendation.
Engagement with parties to conflict led to the signature of three new Actions Plans, demonstrating commitment to ending and preventing violations as well as protecting children. In the Central African Republic : Mouvement Patriotique pour la Centrafrique (MPC, May 2018) and Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de la Centrafrique (FPRC, June 2019), as well as in Syria: Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF, June 2019). In Yemen, the Government adopted a Road Map at the end of 2018 to speed-up the implementation of its 2014 Action Plan, while the Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations in March 2019 to increase the protection of children during its military operations; a workplan with concrete and time-bound activities is being finalized. In the DRC, eight armed groups commanders signed unilateral declaration in 2018, committing to end and prevent child recruitment and use and other violations. More armed groups signed similar declaration since.
“A preventive approach including through the development of national, subregional and regional prevention plans, in line with UN Security Council resolution 2427 (2018), is the only way to ultimately limit the number of children victims of grave violations and ensure that protection frameworks are in place, not only in countries affected by conflict but also in their immediate region,” SRSG Gamba said.
International commitments are powerful instruments for the protection of children. South Sudan acceded to the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC) in September 2018, while Mali endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration in February 2018.
Detention of Children in 2018
The detention of thousands of children around the world for their actual or alleged association with armed groups continued to be deeply concerning in 2018. The Special Representative reminded that legal procedures should comply with international juvenile justice standards, children should be primarily treated as victims of recruitment and use and alternatives to detention should be sought whenever possible.
The situation for children deprived of liberty, particularly in Syria and Iraq with the majority below the age of 5, is tragic. The report calls on concerned Member States to work closely with the UN to facilitate the relocation of foreign children and women actually or allegedly affiliated with extremist groups, with the best interest of the child as the primary consideration in decisions affecting their lives. “Children exposed to the highest levels of violence should not be further ostracized once released from armed groups and armed forces. These children are victims of recruitment and use and their best interest must be given primary consideration”.
For additional information, please contact:
Fabienne Vinet, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict +1-212-963-5986 (office) / +1-917-288-5791 (mobile) / email@example.com