International Organisations and Reports: Annual report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict.
Headline : India protests over UN chief’s report
- The United Nation has recently released its Annual report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict.
- India is disappointed with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for including in the report situations in India that are neither armed conflicts nor a threat to international security.
About Annual report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict.
- The present report covers the period from January to December 2018, was submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2427 (2018).
UN Resolution 2427: In 2018, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution aimed at a framework for mainstreaming protection, rights, well-being and empowerment of children throughout the conflict cycle.
- The report highlights global trends regarding the impact of armed conflict on children and provides information on violations committed as well as related protection concerns.
- The present report also include a list of parties that, in violation of international law, engage in the recruitment and use of children, the killing and maiming of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, attacks on schools and/or hospitals and attacks or threats of attacks against protected personnel,1and the abduction of children.
Highlights of the Report:
- Violence against Children: More than 12,000 children were killed or maimed in around 20 conflict situations of 2018. Children continue to be used in combat, particularly in Somalia, Nigeria and Syria. They also continue to be abducted, to be used in hostilities or for sexual violence,
- Sexual Violence against children: Some 933 cases of sexual violence against boys and girls were reported, but this is believed to be an under-estimate, due to lack of access, stigma and fear of reprisals.
- Overall decrease in attacks on schools and hospitals: Attacks on schools and hospitals have decreased overall, but have intensified in some conflict situations, such as Afghanistan and Syria, which has seen the highest number of such attacks since the beginning of the conflict in the country.
- Access to education: Mali provides the most serious example of children being deprived of access to education, and the military use of schools.
- Detention and release of children involved in conflict: Rather than being seen as victims of recruitment, thousands of children around the world were detained for their actual or alleged association with armed groups in 2018 (in Syria and Iraq), the majority of children deprived of their liberty are under the age of five.
- Increase in number of children benefiting from release and reintegration: The number of children benefiting from release and reintegration support, however, rose in 2018 to 13,600 (up from 12,000 in 2017).
- All parties to conflict must refrain from directing attacks against civilians, including children, as peace remains the best protection for children affected by armed conflict.
- Parties to conflict must protect children and put in place tangible measures to end and prevent these violations.
- The nations to work with the UN to help relocate foreign children and women actually or allegedly affiliated with extremist groups, with the best interests of the child as the primary consideration.
- Increased resources and funding to meet the growing needs, as more children are separated from armed groups.
About India in the report:
- India was mentioned under a section of the report titled “Situations not on the agenda of the Security Council or other situations”.
- The report mentions terrorist groups in Jammu & Kashmir and Maoist groups elsewhere that recruit child fighters, children killed in these areas, and sexual violence against them, although India is not in armed conflict.
- According to the report, terrorist groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir and Maoists groups elsewhere have recruited children as fighters.
- It also added that children continued to be killed or injured in operations by the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and in areas of Maoist activity.
- The report noted that there were reports of sexual violence against girls by security forces in Kashmir citing the Kathua rape case.
India’s Objections to the Report:
- India has strongly expressed its disappointment over the report.
- The section on “Situations on the agenda of the Security Council”, which conforms to its mandate, deals with countries like Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which are in a civil war situation that overwhelms the nations. (This section also included Israel and Palestine territories.)
- The inclusion of India and countries like Thailand and even Pakistan in an added section appears to be arbitrary because it places them on the same level as those countries covered by the Council mandate.
- However, at the same time the report ignored countries in Central America, for example, where violence has led to an exodus of thousands of children escaping the brutalities.
- Such attempt to expand mandate in a selective manner to certain situations only politicises and instrumentalises the agenda, obfuscating and diverting attention from the real threats to international peace and security.