[Open letter] Armed conflict: all perpetrators of grave child rights violations must be listed by the United Nations

For several years, the Bureau has been part of a joint appeal by international child protection organisations to the UN Secretary General to publish a complete and accurate list of perpetrators of grave violations of children’s rights in armed conflict in its report’s annexes. Since nothing has changed despite our repeated calls, we are compelled to continue our action.

Every year, the UN Secretary General publishes a report on the situation of children in armed conflict. The annex to this report lists all parties to ongoing conflicts identified as perpetrators of grave violations against children’s rights. This list should be, according to the UN’s own criteria, evidence-based and accurately reflect the data collected and verified in the areas in question by the UN monitoring and reporting mechanism (read more here).

However, for years we have observed that not only do not all parties responsible for grave violations appear on this list, but some are also removed without meeting the necessary conditions, namely that “there is UN-verified information that it has ceased all grave violations against children for which it is listed […] for a period of at least one reporting cycle” (criterion set out in the 2010 Annual Report, A/64/742-S/2010/181, para 178).

For example, in the annexes to last year’s report, the Saudi-led coalition and the Tatmadaw (Burmese armed forces) were removed from the list of grave violators, even though the UN had collected data proving their culpability. As noted in the Secretary-General’s recent report on the situation of children and armed conflict in Myanmar, the UN verified the recruitment and use of 302 boys by the Tatmadaw in the first half of 2020 alone (S/2020/1243, paragraphs 27 and 30), and dozens of children were killed and maimed by the coalition in Yemen in 2020.

How can we expect to change things if these perpetrators of serious violations are not bothered to any great extent? The UN Secretary General must stop politicising his report, and publish the full and accurate list of perpetrators, both organisations and governments, and not withdraw them until real change is seen.

Read the complete letter

List of signatories:

1. Amnesty International
2. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
4. Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)
5. Child Rights International Network (CRIN)
6. Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace, and Security
7. Defence for Children International (DCI)
8. Freedom Forward
9. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
10. Global Justice Center
11. Human Rights Watch
12. International Bureau for Children’s Rights
13. International Rescue Committee
14. Mwatana for Human Rights
15. Save the Children
16. Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict
17. Women’s Refugee Commission
18. World Vision International

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