UNITED NATIONS – The UN Security Council unanimously adopted on Tuesday a resolution against recruitment of child soldiers, pressing nations to halt the abuse of children including rape and attacks on schools.
In its report on child soldiers last year, the United Nations for the first time named military forces and rebel groups that persistently used children in armed conflict.
The groups included Myanmar’s national army and two rebel militant groups in the country; three insurgent groups in the Philippines; the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia; armies and militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and pro-government militias in Sudan as well as the southern-based Sudan People’s Liberation Army.
The signatories “call upon member states concerned to take decisive and immediate action against persistent perpetrators of violations and abuses committed against children in situations of armed conflict, and further call upon them to bring to justice those responsible for such violations.”
The resolution highlighted actions prohibited under international law, including “recruitment and use of children, killing and maiming, rape and other sexual violence, attacks on schools and/or hospitals.”
It also cited “the primary role of governments in providing protection and relief to all children affected by armed conflicts,” and said it was “the responsibility of states to end impunity and to prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other egregious crimes perpetrated against children.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the resolution — an initiative by current Security Council president Germany — is the eighth since 1998 to condemn nations and militaries which use children to wage war and subject them to brutal violence like rape and maimings.
“Let us keep working together to ensure that children everywhere can grow up safe, healthy and educated so they can build a secure and sustainable future,” he said.
Late last month Ban expressed concern about the growing number of attacks on schools and hospitals, threatening to employ “targeted measures against repeat violators — especially non-state actors.”
At the time he said he welcomed efforts by the Security Council to negotiate the resolution which adds attacks on schools and hospitals as a listing criteria in the annual UN reports on children and armed conflict.