Monthly update on children and armed conflict – October 2021 – Colombia

Recommendations to the Security Council

COLOMBIA

The Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) is listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s (SG) 2021 Annual Report (S / 2021/437) on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) for recruitment and use. In October, the mandate of the United Nations Verification Mission for Colombia is due to be renewed, in accordance with SCR 2574 (2021). In May, the Security Council broadened the mission’s mandate to include monitoring the execution of sentences handed down by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (Jurisdicción especial para la paz), created by the 2016 peace agreement. According to the Secretary-General’s June periodic report (S / 2021/603), the National Reintegration Council’s Technical Working Group on Children has been reactivated and is meeting to address challenges related to security and protection issues. In its latest annual CAAC report, the SG called on the government to allocate adequate resources to implement its national action plan to prevent the recruitment and use of children and sexual violence against children. and the “Súmate por mí” program to prevent the recruitment and use of children by armed groups, including in indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities. He also expressed concern about the continued recruitment and use of children by armed groups and the increase in the killings and mutilations of children; in response, he called for continuing education in demining and risk reduction and strengthening prevention and response to sexual violence. The Security Council should:

  • Demand that all armed groups, in particular ELN and FARC-EP dissidents, immediately release all children under the age of 18 from their ranks and end all recruitment, use and abduction of children;

  • Urge the government to continue to redouble its efforts to prevent the recruitment and use of Colombian and Venezuelan children, as well as other serious violations, paying particular attention to the most vulnerable, including indigenous girls and children and Afro-Colombians;

  • Call on the government to take measures to protect children and other civilians during military operations, including respecting the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution;

  • Call on the government to strengthen accountability for all serious violations committed against children in armed conflict, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, and for attacks against social leaders, human rights defenders and conflict-affected communities, especially those victimizing children;

  • Call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the recommendations of the Security Council Working Group on ACAC (SCWG-CAAC) set out in its fourth conclusions on the situation of children and armed conflict in Colombia.

The United Kingdom is the leading country over Colombia.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC)

Thirteen parties are listed in the appendices of the SG’s 2021 annual report on CAAC for serious violations against children, including the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) for rape and other forms of sexual violence. This year, CODECO was newly listed for murder and mutilation of children and attacks on schools and hospitals, Mai Mai Apa Na Pale was newly listed for recruitment and use and kidnapping, and Nduma defense of Congo-Rénové was listed for rape and sexual violence (in addition to recruitment and use and killing and dismemberment, for which he was previously listed). In October, the Council is expected to discuss the SG’s latest periodic report on MONUSCO, in accordance with SCR 2556 (2020). According to the SG’s June periodic report (S / 2021/587), the UN verified the murder and mutilation of 51 children, including 11 girls; 20 incidents of rape or other forms of sexual violence against girls; and the recruitment or use of 133 children, including seven girls. According to UNICEF, the intensification of the conflict in the eastern provinces during the first half of 2021 worsened the protection and risks of gender-based violence for children and further limited humanitarian access.
According to the SG’s latest annual report on CAAC, the DRC was among the countries with the highest number of verified serious violations against children in 2020. In his report, the SG praised the Government’s efforts to prevent recruitment on a lasting basis and the use of children by its forces, as well as efforts to hold perpetrators of serious violations to account, while calling for the implementation of aspects of the 2012 action plan relating to sexual violence. . The Security Council should:

  • Urge all parties to immediately stop recruiting and using children, release those in their ranks, respect their obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (IHL) ), and if they have not yet done so, engage with the UN to develop, sign and implement action plans to end and prevent serious violations;

  • Call on all parties to take immediate and specific action to end and prevent rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, including ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable and survivors have access to a response and comprehensive, gender-sensitive and age-appropriate protection; ask the government to step up efforts to implement the aspects of its 2012 action plan relating to sexual violence;

  • Call on all parties to facilitate the safe, rapid and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to all children and other civilians in need;

  • Call on all parties to rapidly and fully implement the recommendations of the SCWG-CAAC elaborated in its seventh conclusions on the situation of children and armed conflict in the DRC.

France is the leading country in the DRC. Niger chairs the 1533 Sanctions Committee.

SYRIA

Seven parties to the conflict are listed for at least one serious violation against children in the appendices of the SG’s 2021 annual report on CAAC. Syria was among the situations with the highest number of verified serious violations against children in 2020. In October, the Council will receive its monthly briefing on the humanitarian situation, the political process and the use of chemical weapons in Syria. In July, the Council adopted SCR 2585 (2021), extending the cross-border delivery of humanitarian aid through the Bab al-Hawa crossing.
According to UNICEF, the intensification of hostilities in northwestern Syria has left at least 54 children dead or injured since early July. Cases of COVID-19 have reportedly increased dramatically in northern Syria in recent months, and explosive ordnance continues to pose a risk to children. A recent Save the Children report describes the violence and other survival risks faced by children who continue to be detained in northeast Syria for their alleged or actual association with ISIL or that of its members. of their family. An Amnesty International report released in September documented cases of detention, torture and other ill-treatment of former Syrian refugees, including children, upon their return to Syria. The SCWG-CAAC received the SG’s third report on CAAC in Syria (S / 2021/398) in April. Negotiations were underway at the time of writing. The Security Council should:

  • Demand that all parties respect their obligations under IHL and IHL, by taking concrete measures to prevent and, in all cases, minimize the loss of children, immediately end and prevent any other abuses against repatriated children, and call for immediate and concrete action to hold all perpetrators accountable;

  • Urge neighboring countries and other refugee host countries to respect their obligations under refugee law, including the principle of non-refoulement;

  • Urge all listed parties, including the Syrian government forces, to develop and sign action plans to end and prevent violations against children, and call on the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to swiftly and fully implement their action plan ;

  • Remind all parties that children associated with armed groups should be treated primarily as victims, including children actually or allegedly associated with groups designated as terrorists and children who may have committed crimes; their reintegration must be given priority in accordance with international juvenile justice standards; and detention of children should only be used as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;

  • Urge member states to facilitate the return of their nationals, including the children of their nationals, detained for their actual or suspected association with ISIL or that of their family members, following individual needs assessments based on rights ; provide reintegration assistance in accordance with international law and standards, prioritizing the best interests of the child; and prevent children from becoming stateless.

Norway and Ireland are the lead countries on the humanitarian situation in Syria.