Updates from the field
Updates from New York
Democratic Republic of Congo Action Plan
On 4 October 2012, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) signed an action plan with the UN containing concrete steps to identify and separate children currently present in the ranks of the armed forces (FARDC) and reintegrate them in their communities, as well as measures to protect children from sexual violence. The Congolese armed forces have been consistently listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual report on Children and Armed Conflict for using and recruiting children since 2003. Starting in 2010, the FARDC were additionally listed for rape and sexual violence, on the basis of Security Council Resolution 1882 (2009).
With this signature, all government armed forces that are labeled “persistent perpetrators” (parties continuously listed for five years or more) have now entered into action plans with the UN. However, two more recently listed governments, the Yemeni armed forces and the Syrian Government forces, have not yet signed action plans.
On the ground, this action plan will build on efforts already made in the framework of MONUSCO’s security sector reform component to proactively and systematically ensure the separation and reintegration of children associated with the FARDC. It will also capitalize on the dozens of child protection advisors already deployed in the DRC and tasked with monitoring and reporting on grave violations against children by armed parties, thanks to an effective mainstreaming of the children and armed conflict issue in Monusco’s mandate and operations.
Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict adopts conclusions on Sudan and South Sudan
On 11 October 2012, the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict adopted two sets of conclusions on the situation of children and armed conflict, the first covering the Sudan and the second covering South Sudan. These are the third set of conclusions adopted with respect to the Sudan and the first to be adopted with respect to South Sudan since that country’s independence in July 2011. In both countries, both Government forces (including the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, a former non-State group now the regular armed forces of South Sudan) and non-State actors are considered “persistent perpetrators”, responsible for grave violations against children for at least five years.
General Assembly’s Third Committee Begins Consideration of Rights of Child
On 17 October 2012, the United Nations General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs) began its annual consideration of the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Children, including issues of children and armed conflict. The process started with an interactive dialogue involving Ms. Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Mr. Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director and Ms. Marta Santo Pais, Special Representative on Violence against Children and Mr. Jean Zermatten, Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
In her remarks, Ms. Zerrougui focused on three themes highlighted in her 2012 annual report to the General Assembly. First, she stressed the need for States, with the support of the United Nations, to prevent the recruitment and use of children through the enactment and enforcement of the rule of law. Second, she called attention to the effects of explosive weapons and urged States to reduce their impacts on children. Third, she detailed the important role of collaboration with other UN agencies and regional organizations in her Office’s work and expressed her intention to further extend collaboration with regional organizations.