United Nations (New York)

Africa: Statement by Chairman of Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

document

At its thirty-fifth meeting, on 19 December 2012, the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict agreed, in connection with the examination of the second report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Colombia (document S/2012/171), to address a public statement to the parties to armed conflict in Colombia that were listed in annex II to the report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict (document A/66/782-S/2012/261), recalling that resolution 1612 (2005) does not seek to make any legal determination as to whether the situations referred to in the reports of the Secretary-General are or are not armed conflicts within the context of the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols thereto, nor does it prejudge the legal status of the non-State parties involved in those situations:

(a) Calling their attention to the fact that the Security Council has received a report by the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Colombia (document S/2012/171) detailing violations and abuses committed against children in the context of the armed conflict in Colombia, in contravention of applicable international law;

(b) Strongly condemning FARC-EP and ELN for the continued commission of all six grave violations against children in Colombia, involving the recruitment and use of children, killing and maiming, rape and other sexual violence, abductions, attacks against schools and/or hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access, calling upon them to immediately halt those violations and abuses and urging them to abide by international humanitarian law, to comply with Security Council resolutions on children and armed conflict and to implement the previous conclusions of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict in Colombia (document S/AC.51/2010/3);

(c) Demanding that the armed groups:

(i) Immediately halt the recruitment and use of children and unconditionally release all children from their ranks;

(ii) Stop the practice of rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, in particular against girls associated with the armed groups;

(iii) Immediately cease actions that impede children's safe access to education and health services, including attacks as well as threats of attacks in contravention of applicable international law against schools and/or hospitals and protected persons related to them;

(iv) Allow unhindered and safe humanitarian access, and refrain from prohibiting the free movement of goods and people, and in this regard urging them to comply fully with their obligations under applicable international humanitarian law and to respect the work undertaken by members of humanitarian organizations that provide assistance and protection to children affected by the armed conflict;

(v) Stop the use of anti-personnel landmines and other explosive devices in violation of applicable international law, remove unexploded ordnance in order to avoid the killing and maiming of children and provide all necessary information to facilitate demining;

(vi) Immediately release all abducted children, facilitate their return to their families and communities and take all necessary measures to put an end to all abductions;

(d) Calling on the armed groups listed in annex II to the report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict (document A/66/782-S/2012/261) to comply with the obligations applicable to them under international humanitarian law concerning the protection of children in armed conflict and reiterated in Security Council resolution 1612 (2005), and encouraging the United Nations and the Government of Colombia to work together to establish what further measures can be taken to address violations against children committed by those groups;

(e) Emphasizing that the preparation and full implementation of action plans in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009) and 1998 (2011), and verified by the United Nations country task force on monitoring and reporting, is an important step for a party to the armed conflict to be delisted from the annexes to the annual report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, deeply regretting the limited progress in effectively and systematically separating children from armed groups in Colombia, and stressing that any dialogue established under the framework of the monitoring and reporting mechanism in Colombia by United Nations entities with armed groups in order to ensure the protection for children must be conducted in close consultation and with the consent of the Government of Colombia, in line with the terms of reference for the United Nations country task force on monitoring and reporting for Colombia.

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