The Security Council on Monday adopted a resolution aimed at protecting children in armed conflict through a host of measures.
Resolution 2427, which won unanimous approval of the 15 council members, has strongly condemned the recruitment and use of children by parties to armed conflict, as well as their re-recruitment, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and abduction.
Xinhua news agency reports the resolution also condemns attacks against schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access by parties to armed conflict, and all other violations of international law committed against children in situations of armed conflict.
It demands that all relevant parties immediately put an end to such practices and take special measures to protect children.
The resolution also emphasises the responsibility of all states to put an end to impunity and prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other egregious crimes perpetrated against children.
Reiterating the Security Council's readiness to adopt targeted and graduated measures against persistent perpetrators of violations and abuses committed against children, the resolution also calls on member states and the United Nations (UN) to mainstream child protection into all relevant activities in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations to sustain peace and prevent conflict.
It recalls the importance of ensuring that children continue to have access to basic services during the conflict and post-conflict periods, including education and healthcare, and urges member states, UN bodies and civil society to take specifically into account, equal access to education for girls.
The resolution stresses the importance of long-term and sustainable funding for mental health and psychosocial programming in the humanitarian context, and ensuring all affected children receive timely and sufficient support. It also encourages donors to integrate mental health and psychosocial services in all humanitarian responses.
It expresses grave concern at the use of detained children for information-gathering purposes, and emphasises that children who have been recruited in violation of international law by armed forces and armed groups and are accused of having committed crimes during armed conflicts should be treated primarily as victims of violations of international law.
The resolution urges member states to consider non-judicial measures as alternatives to prosecution and detention for children formerly associated with armed forces and armed groups.
The deprivation of liberty of children should be used only as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time, it says.
The resolution also asks to avoid, wherever possible, the use of pre-trial detention of children, and calls on member states to apply due process for all children detained over their association with armed forces and armed groups.
The adoption of the resolution preceded a high-level open debate on children and armed conflict, which was chaired by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, whose country holds the Security Council presidency for July.
Over 21,000 cases of grave violation of children's rights in armed conflict have been verified by the UN last year, a drastic increase from the previous year at 15,500 violations, according to an annual report released last week by the UN secretary-general on children and armed conflict.
Among the violations in 2017, some 15,000 were perpetrated by non-state armed groups and about 6,000 were committed by government forces, according to the report.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK