How to Protect Children in Armed Conflict




There must be ratification, compliance and enforcement of international agreements to protect children. [1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9] International agreements are more than normative statements; they are also tools to use for the protection of children. Full practice of the following agreements would greatly improve the situation of children:
• Four Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols;
• Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC);
• Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict;
• Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment;
• Conventions on the Status of Stateless persons and on the Reduction of Statelessness;
• Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court;
• Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction (Ottawa Treaty);
• International Labour Organization Convention 182 Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour;
• Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and Additional Protocol, as well as the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement;
• Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography;
• Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
• United Nations Security Council resolutions 1261 (1999), 1265 (1999), 1314 (2000), 1296 (2000), and 1379 (2001); and
• Regional treaties such as the Ma#@$% Declaration On the Use of Children As Soldiers (22 April 1999), African Charter on Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Montevideo Declaration on the Use of Children As Soldiers (8 July 1999).

States considering the ratification of the Rome Statute are urged to review their national legislation with a view to defining the crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court as national crimes and to ensure that national courts have jurisdiction over them and can prosecute egregious violations of children’s rights in the context of armed conflict, wherever they occur. [9]



We must ensure stronger mechanisms for compliance and monitoring. (2) An effective system will include the following components.
• Immediate investigation of reported violations which threaten the survival of or inflict permanent damage on children during armed conflict, including avenues to report to the Security Council members, as well as other bodies who could take action;
• Deployment of child rights monitors and child protection advisors before, during and after conflicts, and improved mechanisms to ensure that their reports are followed up;
• Early formation of inter-agency task forces for specific conflict situations, including NGOs and youth, to do a child-focused analysis, identify possible points of influence, and develop coordinated strategies to protect the children;
• Mechanisms for youth, NGOs, and local communities to present information to the Security Council so that they are well-informed about specific situations from various sources;
• Mechanisms for reporting on actions taken when violations occur, including the provision of information to youth themselves, whenever possible; and
• Training diplomats, peacekeeping personnel, and humanitarian workers on child rights, child protection and child development before their deployment. (5)
• Make available to the Security Council and Member States accurate and current information about the protection of children’s rights in situation of conflict from a wide variety of sources including United Nations peace operations, country teams, and Special Rapporteurs, and non-governmental organizations. [9]

With the nearly universal ratification of the CRC, State Parties should make further efforts to strengthen and make more effective the Convention’s monitoring mechanisms. Systematic evaluation is required using indicators developed to reflect the principles and provisions enshrined within the Convention and other human rights instruments. The essential monitoring role of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child needs to be reinforced with additional resources, so that the Committee can more adequately fulfill its mandate. This, in part, requires an increase in the number of Committee members. (3)

Accountability and Impunity:

Accountability demands commitments to legal standards through the universal ratification and implementation of international and regional instruments; as well as national



monitoring and reporting systems supported by international mechanisms. The failure of the international community to take action against those who violate children's rights is the principal cause contributing to the continuation of the intolerable existence of millions of war-affected children. Those who violate children's rights must be named, shamed, held accountable and rendered powerless by all means necessary. Impunity must never be allowed to prevail. Accountability means much more than simply bringing war criminals to trial. It signifies the creation of a political, and social climate in which those who violate children's rights or who collude in their violation - be they governments, insurgent groups, private sector forces or other actors, are made to experience the repugnance of civilized individuals and societies. Establishing innovative mechanisms to hold non-state actors accountable is a particular challenging priority, which has to be addressed by the international community. [1, 2, 3, 4]

Secure significant, new economic investment in quality education for war-affected children by national authorities, supported by donors, NGOs and the UN system. Education must be a priority within humanitarian assistance. (1, 4)

International solidarity:

Systematic action to address the above issues and the recommendations which follow, cannot take place without sustained international solidarity in the form of the universal ratification of all relevant international human rights standards, the development of concrete mechanisms for monitoring child rights abuses and the commitment of the resources necessary to ensure protection, care and rehabilitation of all children threatened by or exposed to violence. (4)

Children as a zone of peace:

There is no situation in which violence against children, or the exploitation, recruitment or targeting of youth is justifiable. Schools, health and recreation centres or other places where children gather should never be attacked. Any targeting of children or violation of their rights must be immediately, repeatedly and visibly condemned. Geographical "zones of peace" and "days of tranquility" must be insisted upon and respected to ensure the delivery of assistance to children. Parties to armed conflict should ensure the full, safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel to assist children. [7] Make special arrangements to meet the protection and assistance requirements of women, children and other vulnerable groups, including such things as the promotion of “days of immunization” and other opportunities for


the safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian delivery of basic necessary services [6; 8]. The protection of children in armed conflict must be included in the peace and security agenda to enhance the needs of children in conflict and post-conflict situations. [9] There can be no impunity for those who violate children's rights or support those who do, be they governments, corporate, non-state actors or others; they must be identified and condemned. Unaccompanied children, or those separated from their parents require special measures to ensure their protection, care and reunification with family. (1, 2, 3, 4)

• Companies and countries that have used and unexploded ordnance for profited from their sale should be identified and required to contribute funds for mine action. Leaders responsible for causing civilian, especially children deaths and injuries and economic damage through the use of landmines should be held accountable for their actions under international law.

• A world-wide moratorium on the use of cluster munitions should be implemented and consideration give to the immediate and long-term humanitarian consequences of these weapons, especially on children.

• Armed embargoes should be imposed, monitored and enforced in situations where children are targeted, where widespread and systematic violations of humanitarian and human rights law are committed, and where children are recruited as soldiers or terrorists.


A child’s education should not be interrupted. Education is central to humanitarian action. Good quality education, which enables children to think critically, solve problems, collaborate with others, and respect diversity, is the key to a future free of armed conflict. Schools provide learning opportunities, which empower children by fostering self-esteem, giving them hope and skills for the future. They also create an atmosphere for emotional and psychological stability for children whose lives have been affected by turmoil, displacement and the breakdown of family structures. Education is also an essential alternative to recruitment. Schools should be central to the promotion of HIV/AIDS awareness, conflict resolution, peace education, life skills training, landmine awareness,



human rights, and include psychosocial support in the core curriculum. Sustained national, regional and international financial commitments are critical to the continuation and expansion of good quality educational services in post-conflict societies. Particular priority must be given to the education of girls. [1; 2; 4; 5]

• Education should foster ethnic, religious and gender understanding and not fuel prejudice.

• Specialised, accelerated learning programmes for adolescents should form a key part of an emergency education response. Children and their parents, especially refugee and displaced children, should have an education that respects their language, culture and identity. Adequate professional training of teachers, adequate salary and working conditions are essential to ensuring the continuation of good quality education services. [1, 4]


Commitment and action:

A sustained improvement in the situation of children in conflict cannot take place without strong and committed action from governments, non-state actors, UN agencies, NGOs, the private sector and youth themselves. Safeguarding the security and rights of the child demands the courage to shape a new consensus that accords children the highest priority in all actions before, during and after conflict. Leaders at all levels and in every sector of society - government, the private sector, civil society, international and regional organizations - must rise to the challenge of fulfilling their responsibilities to protect children. Regional approaches to preventing conflicts and promoting peace must be encouraged and strengthened. Political and economic pressure should ensure that warring parties provide access to education, health care, , clean water and adequate nutrition. Universal standards for the assurance of child rights must finally be recognised as taking precedence over any specific political agenda; children’s rights must no longer be subject to the #@$%aries of political self-interest. (1, 4)



• Governments, donors and relief organizations should prevent the institutionalisation of children and prioritise the reunification of children with their families and communities. Arrangements such as foster care and peer group living need to be linked with appropriate community, psychosocial, cultural or religious networks that promote child protection.

• All peace agreements should set clear provisions for disarming, demobilizing, rehabilitating and reintegrating soldiers, including child soldiers. Institutional arrangements for disarmament and the safe and timely disposal of arms and ammunitions should be made explicit and be fully funded and supported. [1]

• States, UN bodies and civil society should promote a culture of peace through peace education programmes. Children and their families should be educated about the dangers of small arms and light weapons, and the popular entertainment culture that glorifies gun use and violence should be challenged.

• Civil society and NGOs should play an increasingly important role in arms prevention, reduction and awareness raising and in monitoring government policy. (1)

• Provide basic services to children during the conflict and post-conflict periods, including education and health care. [7]


With HIV/AIDS so prevalent, the rape and sexual abuse of children is a traumatic violation of their most fundamental rights, and a physical and psychological threat to their survival. Conflict and HIV/AIDS collide in destructive ways. Conflict conditions can destroy family structures, cause displacement and increase the likelihood of the sexual abuse of children - especially girls – thus heightening their exposure to HIV/AIDS. War also destroys systems for health care, the screening of blood transfusions and AIDS awareness education programmes that help prevent the spread of the disease during times of peace. Care and support must be made available to children affected by HIV/AIDS in zones of conflict, and schools and educational programs must be the focal points for HIV/AIDS awareness and care. (1, 4)



• Education and training on HIV/AIDS prevention should be made mandatory for all military and peacekeeping personnel, together with voluntary and confidential counseling, testing and treatment. Codes of conduct should be strictly enforced through disciplinary action, which can help lessen the incidence of sexual violence. (1)

• All relief organizations, and in particular NGOs, working in conflict-affected countries should ensure the development and mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS approaches in their policy and practice. (1)



Ensuring accountability and ending impunity:

• Sign and ratify all conventions and agreements related to the protection of children in armed conflict, with special emphasis placed on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Ottawa Convention on landmines. Deposit upon ratification of the Optional Protocol binding declarations indicating a minimum age of 18 for voluntary recruitment into national armed forces. (1, 2,3, 4)

• Incorporate into national legislations, mechanisms for enforcing all child relevant international and regional human rights and humanitarian law treaties, including penal sanctions for violators. (1, 4)

• Ensure that those responsible for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other crimes perpetrated against children are prosecuted for these crimes (2) excluded from any amnesty provisions contemplated during peace negotiations. (4)

• Apply pressure on warring parties, which violate children’s rights by cutting off or limiting their political and economic sources of support. This can be done by imposing such things as sanctions on the trading of natural resources from conflict areas, cutting off economic support from diaspora communities, restricting the travel or foreign financial holdings of violators and denying recognition to individuals and groups who have committed crimes against children if they subsequently ascend to power. (1, 4)

• Make the signature, ratification and implementation of the Optional Protocol to the CRC a pre-condition for defense co-operation, military training, joint military exercises or arms sales and exchanges. (2, 4)

• Hold corporations within their jurisdiction accountable for their direct activities in conflict affected countries, as well as for their indirect support to countries, which violate the rights of children in conflict situations. Governments should utilise executive and legislative measures to prevent corporate actors within their jurisdiction from engaging in commercial activities with parties to armed conflict who violate international standards for the protection of children. (2, 4)



• Governments must prosecute rape against girls and women during armed conflict as a war crime. (4)

• Address the root causes of children’s recruitment and participation in conflict, including psychosocial, educational, economic and ideological factors. (2)

• States should strengthen national laws to prevent and to prosecute sexual crimes. (1)

• Strengthen and make more effective the Convention of the Rights of the Child’s monitoring mechanisms. (2)

• Governments must demonstrate strong, sustained political will in regard to children both in terms of generating effective international cooperation, assistance and resources, as well as in ensuring that adequate political and financial support flows from national and sub-national governments to the grassroots and community level organizations that provide services to children. (3)

• Arms embargo violations should be criminalized and prosecuted.

• Condition any aid (be it military, economic or political) or diplomatic recognition of a warring party on respect for child rights; especially the non-recruitment and non-deployment of children as soldiers. (3)

• Ensure universal implementation of birth registration by 2015, with particular attention to children who are refugees, internally displaced or belonging to minority groups. Legal documentation is essential to prevent separation or facilitate early family reunification, and is one of the most important protection measures against child recruitment; and data collection on children and adolescents must be improved and disaggregated by age, gender, and indicators for potential involvement in conflict, so that effective prevention strategies can be implemented. (1, 2, 4, 5)

• Emphasize the importance of countries meeting their obligations to submit detailed, reliable, and timely State Party reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and to widely disseminate such reports in their countries and beyond. (3)

• Establish systematic recruitment procedures, which ensure that no child under the age of 18 is recruited into armed forces. (5)


• Train military forces in child rights, placing emphasis on the specific needs of women and girls. This training should be conducted by military officers knowledgeable of these issues, in a simplified manner which reflects the language, culture, socialization and knowledge base of the trainee group. These programmes should also involve organizations with specific knowledge on children's rights and conflict situations; especially NGOs, and be implemented on a long-term basis and updated regularly. Such training should also be extended to civilian police forces and other international personnel. (5)

• Provide new guidelines and standards for nations to train their peacekeeping troops or civilian police forces in a way, which effectively addresses the complex issues of 2lst century human security operations; particularly those focused on the protection of children. (4)

• Bilateral military assistance should include training on international human rights and humanitarian law, with an emphasis on children's rights. (4)

• Make protection of the security and rights of children a matter for bilateral diplomatic relations, including the use of specific diplomatic incentives and disincentives to encourage compliance with international standards. Train diplomats on child rights and child protection issues. (5)

• Reduce the flow of small arms by the following means:

- Adopt binding codes of conduct at the national, regional, and international levels; (4)
- Ensure transparency in arms transfers by making government reports on all transactions available in public registries; (4)
- Create a reliable system for marking arms and ammunition at the time of manufacture; (4)
- Conduct preventive disarmament through programmes for the collection and destruction of weapons; (4, 5)
- Improve the system of stockpile management and security.
- State governments should destroy old or surplus weapons stocks rather than selling them or giving them away. (4,5)

• Reduce the legal trade of small arms and eliminate arms sales to regions of conflict; (4)



• Strengthen mechanisms for prevention and control of the illicit trade and stockpiling of small arms; (4)

• Establish effective national institutions and mechanisms, such as a national Commission for Children (2) or office of a national Ombudsperson for Children, to ensure that the concerns of children are placed high on the national agenda, especially in countries affected by conflict. (4)

• Use bilateral diplomatic initiatives to focus attention on the security and rights of children, giving this as much attention by country missions as trade initiatives. (4,5)

• Make some forms of diplomatic recognition, political support, and military support for all parties in a conflict contingent on compliance with international standards for the protection of children. (2, 4, 5)

• Invest in children before, during and after conflict; ensuring their rights to education, health care and other basic services. (4)

• Ensure safe and continuous access to children for the delivery of humanitarian services in conflict zones, particularly to humanitarian NGOs, regardless of the location, nationality, religion, gender or ethnicity of the children. Encourage the appropriate use of truces and cease-fires where War-affected Children are concerned, while recognising that cease-fires may prolong conflict by facilitating the rearming and regrouping of combatants and freezing the lines of conflict. (4)


• Specific strategies and mobilization of resources to prevent the separation of children from their families should be implemented early in a conflict. (5)

• Support the development of child protection networks before conflict breaks out. These should include safe places for children to go, as well as programs for adolescents which include skills training, continuing education, vocational training, options for economic livelihood, and reproductive health care services. Adolescents and their families need access to information essential for them to make choices that



will determine their future. Community centers are needed for peace-building. (1, 3, 4, 5)

• Specialized accelerated curriculum for adolescents should form a key part of the emergency educational response. (1)

• Governments with embassies or consulates in war-affected countries should monitor the situation of children there; prioritizing the issue of child rights abuses and adopting appropriate policies to address the situation as part of their bilateral agenda. (4)

• Monitor and enforce arms embargoes; Withhold military aid to countries or groups, which use child soldiers. (1, 4)

• Work to transform cultures of violence and militarism into more peaceful societies by implementing measures to end all violence against children, including the use of corporal punishment. (4, 5)

• Establish and accord priority programmes for disarming, demobilizing, rehabilitating and reintegrating child soldiers both within and outside of peacekeeping environments. These should include specific measures to ensure children's protection from exploitation and re-recruitment, and address the special needs of girls and children with physical and psychological disabilities. [1; 4]

• Governments and regional organizations should declare child soldier-free zones.
(4, 5)

• Adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement with a view toward preventing forced displacement and providing protection and assistance during
displacement. Ensure that refugee and IDP camps are not institutionalized as permanent settlements. All necessary means should be used to prevent camps from becoming sanctuaries and recruiting grounds for children by militias, and other elements, that threaten children's security. (1, 4, 5)

• Commit to training military forces in child protection issues, and contribute to appropriate training for humanitarian agencies in security and risk-assessment. (4)



• Impose, monitor and enforce arms embargoes in situations where civilians are targeted or where widespread and systematic violations of humanitarian and human rights laws are committed and where children are recruited as child soldiers. (4)

• Establish more landmine awareness programmes, specifically directed at children in affected areas. (1, 2, 4)

• Ensure that multinational corporations and individual employers actively contribute to social development and do not employ children in exploitative labour. (3)

• Conduct public education for youth that are at risk of being exploited as domestic workers, and bring special attention to “hidden work” where girls are at special risk. (3)

• Encourage local and international non-governmental organizations to collaborate with Governments and United Nations agencies to mobilize public opinion and political pressure for the protection of children. (2)


• Incorporate into all peace agreements clear provisions for disarming,
Demobilizing, rehabilitation and reintegrating soldiers, including child combatants. Establish institutional frameworks and provide funding support for disarmament and the safe and timely disposal of small arms and ammunitions. (4)

• Every effort should be made to ensure that the rights, protection and well being of
children, are fully and systematically taken into account in priority setting, resource
allocation, programme planning and national policy making, especially in times of
peace consolidation and reconstruction. (2)

• Those responsible for genocide and war crimes against children must be brought to justice. Post-conflict assistance should prioritise truth, and reconciliation initiatives, and the rebuilding of justice systems paying special attention to juvenile justice. (1)

• Ensure the protection of child soldiers from retribution, summary execution, arbitrary detention, torture and other punitive measures, in accordance with the Convention on


the Rights of the Child and international juvenile justice standards. (2) Governments should ensure that any judicial proceedings involving child soldiers must be within a framework of restorative justice that guarantees the physical, psychological, and social
rehabilitation of the child. They must also work to ensure that the justice process is as local and culturally sensitive as possible and that it supports healing and reconciliation. (1, 4)

• Ensure that protection provisions for children as victims and witnesses are included in the work of ad hoc war crime tribunals and in the rules of evidence and procedures of the International Criminal Court and Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. (4)

• Establish channels, which enable children to safely bring their perspectives and ideas directly to national leaders, governments and other adults in all walks of life. Young people suffer directly in conflict and their experiences and views must inform adult decision making. (4, 5)

• Protect internally displaced children, refugee and other war-affected children from sexual and labor exploitation, as well as recruitment by government and other armed forces, and ensure their right to education, health and safety. (3)

• Create spaces for both established and emerging youth organizations to meet, share experiences, network and support each other in their work of monitoring and advocating around issues related to war-affected children. (1, 4)

• Ensure that national action plans are developed with the participation of children and their families.

• Ensure that any child removed from exploitative child labor is not treated as a
criminal, and receives education, vocational, psychosocial support and other appropriate forms of assistance.

• Tackle the root causes of child labor exploitation, which include poverty, gender inequality, and the lack of quality and affordable education. (3)

• The rights protection and special needs of girls and women should be adequately
addressed during peace negotiations and in post conflict arrangements. Girls and
women need to be assured equal access to education, property, inheritance,
vocational training and employment opportunities. (2)



• Urge all parties to conflict to promote the participation of women in peace processes. (2)

• Education must be seen as the fourth component of emergency humanitarian assistance. Ensure that access to education is rapidly restored, supported and strengthened during and after conflict, in keeping with commitments made at the Dakar 2000 Conference on Education for All. Education must be funded with the same sense of urgency as life-saving emergency assistance and must be made a central pillar of humanitarian assistance. This includes non-formal education, vocational and skills training and special attention to the educational needs of girls. (2,4,5)

• Support the preparation and pre-positioning of national-language education kits that can be deployed quickly during and after armed conflict to ensure continued learning opportunities for children; even when national school systems are facing serious disruption. (4)

• Ensure that schools and educational systems are the focal points for HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and care during emergencies, and that they offer expanded life skills curriculums, which include nutritional support, hygiene and other domestic survival skills. (4)

• Promote the values of tolerance, diversity, reconciliation, inter-communal social interaction, and equity among children. (2)

• Ensure that national action plans are developed with the participation of children and their families. (3)

• Devote more resources to adolescents and particularly girls, as they are often forced to become heads of households in conflict situations, and are particularly vulnerable to recruitment and sexual exploitation. Include women in planning and decision-making roles for security and humanitarian assistance to help ensure that the needs of girls are given attention. (1, 2, 4, 5)

• Girls who have been abducted for sexual purposes require immediate assistance, including health and psychological care, economic livelihood, and social support to live independently from their abductors. (5)



• Perform psychosocial and developmental impact assessments (preferably conducted by a diverse group of actors who know the culture) before implementing aid programmes to ensure that they will improve and not worsen a situation. (1, 4)



• Give more political and economic support to strengthen capacities of national institutions, local NGOs, and Civil Society Organizations to ensure sustainability. (2)

• Provide resources to support training and capacity building of local NGOs to enable them to more effectively monitor and report on child rights violations and advocate for the rights of children in armed conflict. (4)

• Provide technical and financial resources required to ensure adequate capacity and the long-term reintegration and rehabilitation of child soldiers. (2)

• Give priority to funding education and vocational training programs for adolescents, with financial support for students enrolled in the programs and where appropriate, micro-loan programs to underwrite their business ventures upon graduation. (4)

• Ensure that the commitments of resources for war-affected children announced at the Winnipeg Conference are new resources and not taken from other development
assistance programs which are also important for children, their families and their communities. (4)

• Donor countries must provide far more support, both bilaterally and internationally, for mine action in affected countries, including through contributions to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance. (1)

• Donors and international agencies must work to end great disparities in international humanitarian assistance provided to different countries during armed conflicts. Shifts in media coverage, political priorities and other causes of ‘donor fatigue’ must no longer cost children’s lives in forgotten conflicts. (4, 5)


• Secure significant, new investment in quality education for war-affected children by national authorities, supported by donors, NGOs and the UN system. Education must be a priority within humanitarian assistance. (1, 2, 4)

• Allocate or increase resources for children directly affected by armed conflict, and provide overseas development assistance and local development funds with an emphasise on conflict prevention. (4, 5)


• Allocate funding in accordance with the needs and priorities of local communities, and prioritize programs for prevention and long-term post-conflict peace building. Support from outside experts in child protection during conflict should ensure that such expertise reinforces and rebuilds local capacity and enhances local knowledge, instead of replacing it. Special emphasis should be placed on respecting local culture and local child protection institutions. (4)

• Provide technical co-operation, financial assistance to help prevent the recruitment of children as combatants and to implement effective strategies for their demobilisation, rehabilitation and social reintegration, including economic livelihood. (1, 4, 5)

• The OECD/DAC, in consultation with the UN and NGOs, are urged to establish criteria and guidelines to reduce disparities in resources allocated to war-affected women and children in different conflict situations. They should also reduce the
institutional and budgetary barriers between relief assistance, reconstruction and development co-operation. (1, 4, 5)

• Increase technical support and resources so that improved treatment, care and support are available for children affected by HIV/AIDS in conflict situations and in neighbouring communities. (1, 4)

• Donor governments need to allocate an extra $10 billion as per the request of UNAIDS for AIDS prevention and care. (4)

• Donor countries, international agencies and other relevant organizations should ensure the allocation of adequate resources for data collection and analytical research, as well as for monitoring and reporting on children's rights violations. (4)



New mechanisms are needed to encourage the growing range of non-state actors, such as armed groups, political movements, and other organizations to comply with the same international norms in regard to children, as apply to states.

These include:
• An international registry of non-state commitments to comply with existing child related conventions, including regular, independent monitoring and public reporting on compliance;
• Public awareness and education campaigns which emphasize the benefits of child protection for everyone, including non-state armed groups and political movements;
• Development and greater use of mediation and conflict-resolution skills to encourage non-state armed groups to use non-violent means to resolve conflicts and commit to the protection of children before hostilities break out;
• Greater use of incentives and disincentives to encourage compliance; and
Negotiating commitments for child protection and demobilization of child solders by non-state armed groups as part of temporary cease-fire agreements, peace agreements, and other agreements during and after hostilities. (5)

• Adopt the child protection standards embodied in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol and those described in international humanitarian laws
regarding the rights and protection of children in armed conflict. Develop and make public their own codes of conduct relating to war-affected children. (4, 5)

• Armed groups must prevent the recruitment of child soldiers and ensure their demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration. (1, 5)

• Carry out training programmes based on such codes of conduct for their armed units and civilian officials. (4)

• Agree to be held accountable and accept monitoring of their commitments to international or internal standards by the UN or other institutions, and to punish violators of children's rights within their own ranks, cooperating with the International Criminal Court. (4)

• Agree to respect and expand current safety zones for children in which access to health care and emergency aid are possible, or to establish them where they do not currently exist. [4]


• Ensure safe and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance for children and guarantee the protection of humanitarian personnel [4; 5; 6; 8]. Underscore the importance of the safety, security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel. [6]

• Provide protection of children in peace agreements, including, where appropriate, provision relating to the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation of child soldiers and the reunification of families, and to consider, when possible, the views of children in the process. [7; 8]

• Commit to international standards on the protection of children's rights and develop a public reporting mechanism on the measures adopted. (4, 5)

• Co-operate in establishing independent, international mechanisms for monitoring and annual reporting on compliance with international norms as they relate to children. (5)

• Promote and protect the rights and meet the special needs of girls affected by armed conflict and put an end to all forms of violence and exploitation, including sexual violence and rape. [6; 8]

• Abide by the concrete commitments they have made to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children in Armed Conflict, as well as relevant United Nations bodies, to ensure the protection of children. [8]


• All parties to armed conflicts should ensure that the protection, welfare and rights of children are taken into account during peace negotiations and throughout the process of consolidating peace in the aftermath of conflict. [6]



Economic actors must also respect the universally recognized human rights of children. They are not above the law. Children deserve good governance, which includes regulating legal economic activities which fuel conflict, controlling illegal economic activities which thrive on conflict, and reforming international financial and trade institutions to make them accountable for compliance with the CRC.

Achieving these objectives requires:
• Adoption and enforcement of national and international legislative measures to prevent corporate actors from engaging in commercial activities with parties to armed conflict who violate international standards for protecting the rights of children; (3)
• Improvement in analytical tools to understand the economic factors that fuel conflict and the development of more effective economic levers to use as incentives for peace and disincentives for armed conflict involving children;
• Priority support for child-focused development in country assistance strategies being developed and used by World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, other donor countries, regional development banks, and other financial institutions. Creating economic livelihoods for youth and their families prevents conflicts over access to resources;
• Development of mechanisms to hold the international financial institutions accountable for their role in meeting international commitments under the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and cancellation of the bilateral and multilateral debts of the highly-indebted poor countries and increased development assistance to the most vulnerable countries, to reach the target of 0.7% of GNP of developed countries. As long as poor countries are forced to spend more on interest payments to rich countries than they spend on basic education, health and protection for their children, vulnerable children will be at high risk for involvement in armed conflict. (5)

• Individual companies or industrial sectors should develop corporate responsibility or "best practices" codes of conduct with a view to protecting children's rights in conflict situations. Emphasis should be placed on regulating trade in armaments and natural resources, ensuring equitable labour standards, and addressing other issues as defined by the UN Secretary General's Global Compact on Business. Corporate actors should commit to using these codes as guidelines for industry oversight and monitoring. (2, 4)

• Participate in collaborative meetings with governments to develop effective strategies and investment plans to support war-affected children. (4)



• Corporations should contribute to the strict implementation of sanctions legitimately established by the international community in full respect for human rights and the rights of the child. (1, 3)


• Comply fully with national and international legislative measures, which prevent corporations from engaging in commercial activities with parties to armed conflict who violate international standards for protecting children's rights. Private sector firms, which directly or indirectly benefit from activities which harm children should be prosecuted. (2, 4, 5)

• Conduct “child impact assessment”, where feasible, with regard to particular investments and projects funded in or near zones of conflict. [9]

• Encourage increased transparency in company's holdings, business dealings and human rights records to ensure that none of their practices violate children's rights in conflict situations. (4)

• Provide resources for programs to assist children affected by armed conflict. (4)

Corporate sector responsibility:

The corporate sector must establish its own codes of conduct and greater transparency regarding activities in conflict zones. Independent monitoring bodies must be supported to highlight corporate activities, which directly or indirectly contribute to or benefit from the targeting, exploitation and abuse of children in zones of conflict. (2, 4)


• The UN Security Council, in cooperation with the rest of the UN system, must use all the tools at its disposal to prevent conflicts, including early warning, preventive diplomacy, preventive deployment of peacekeepers, preventive disarmament, and post-conflict peace-building. (1, 3)

• Request the Special Representative to the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (in consultation with relevant NGOs and organizations) to compile a watch list of countries where there is a pattern of violations against children, and receive regular reports on the condition of children in these countries. Where serious violations of children's rights have been identified, the Security Council should send missions to the countries concerned. (4, 5)

• In reports and briefings to Security Council, the Secretary-General should systematically elaborate on human rights and humanitarian concerns, and provide relevant information and analysis on the situation of women and children. These reports should draw from a wide variety of sources, including from operational humanitarian and human rights agencies and non-governmental organizations. (1)

• Include in all relevant country situation reports submitted to the Security Council by the Secretary-General an update on the situation of the protection of children's rights. (4)

• Urge armed groups to commit themselves to the child protection standards embodied in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol and in international laws. (2)

• Insist that all parties to armed conflict permit unconditional and unhindered access of humanitarian assistance to children. (2)

• Call upon parties to armed conflict to adhere to the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which identify rights and guarantees relevance to the protection of persons. (2)

• Urge parties to conflict to provide protection and practical support to internally displaced persons. [2; 7]


• Mainstream HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, care and support into emergency humanitarian assistance and demobilization, disarmament, reintegration and repatriation programmes, including those for boy and girl soldiers. [9]


• Establish a quick and efficient process for receiving reports on child rights abuses from UN agencies, NGOs and other relevant sources to remedy potentially explosive situations before they escalate into armed conflict. This process should be strengthened as a key measure in conflict prevention. (4, 5)

• Include an assessment of the HIV/AIDS situation with a particular focus on the impact of that situation on children in Security Council field missions. [9]

• Support the launch of the international research network on children and armed conflict. [9]

• Pay due attention and follow-up on the informal inter-agency working group on the integration of child protection concerns into peace negotiations and agreements. [9]

• Provide sufficient and sustained funding for international truth-and justice-seeking efforts and provide for such efforts within the mandates of peacekeeping mandates [9] Member states, parties to armed conflict and other concerned actors are called upon to ensure that the truth and justice seeking processes envisaged in the aftermath of conflict pay systematic attention to the full range of children’s war-time experiences, the circumstances that allowed such abuses and the long-term interventions required to ensure rehabilitation and reintegration [8; 9].

• Ensure that the mandates of peace operations explicitly include provisions for the monitoring of the rights of children. [9] Continue to include child protection elements in the mandates of relevant peacekeeping operations, and to provide for child protection advisers and child-focused human rights officers where appropriate. [8; 9]

• Urge states and parties to conflict to allow United Nations Agencies and NGOs to more effectively monitor the situation of internally displaced children. (2)

• Take action to ensure that safe and unhindered humanitarian access to vulnerable populations, especially children is provided by parties to armed conflict. [9]


• Call on all parties to give systematic consideration to the special needs and particular vulnerability of girls. (2)

• Systematically seek and take into account information from the NGO community on compliance by parties to conflict with their obligation and commitments with regard to child protection. (2)

• Address linkages between armed conflict and terrorism, the illicit trade in precious minerals, the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, and other criminal activities, which prolong or intensify its impact on civilian populations, especially children [7; 8].

• Recall SC resolution 1209 (1998) which stresses the importance of all member states, and in particular states involved in manufacturing and marketing weapons, to restrict arms transfers that could provoke or prolong armed conflicts or aggravate existing tensions. [6]

• Use security council’s and member states’ political leverage to help ensure that parties to conflict respect their child protection obligations and commitments [8; 9] and the commitments made to the Special representative for Children and Armed Conflict, as well as relevant United Nations bodies [9].

• Urge member states to ensure appropriate training on child rights and protection for all national troops and personnel involved in United Nations peacekeeping operations in advance of deployment to the mission area. [6; 9] Use the training package developed by the informal working group on child protection as a core component of training provided to peacekeeping personnel [9].

• Consider requesting troop-contributing States to inform the Secretariat of the Security Council on measures taken to investigate and prosecute members of their armed forces who are alleged to have violated international humanitarian law, including the rights of children. [2]

• Member states should contribute to the credibility and legitimacy of United Nations peacekeeping operations by conducting transparent follow-up to allegations of misconduct against children by their nationals acting under the United Nations flag. [9]



• Sanctions must be selectively and thoughtfully targeted to avoid damaging vulnerable populations, especially women and children. When sanctions are applied, the Security Council must have clearly defined objectives and criteria for termination. Sanctions should be lifted gradually as the objectives are satisfied. No sanctions regime should be implemented unless the Security Council is persuaded by a rigorous assessment that such a regime will not have a negative impact on children. UNICEF and other UN and NGO partners should promote the identification of a set of agreed common indicators to monitor the impact of sanctions on children. Sanctions assessment and monitoring mechanisms should include channels for the submission of evidence from youth and NGOs working in affected communities. The Security Council and its sanctions committees should improve their transparency and accountability through public reporting, debate, and monitoring and periodic reviews. [1; 2; 4; 5; 7]

• Consider targeted measures against parties to armed conflict, including complicit neighbours, whose actions are contributing to the illegal exploitation of natural resources and the consequent fueling of violent conflict in zones of conflict. [9]

• Provide the technical support and resources necessary for regional organizations to fulfill their roles in the protection of children in situations of armed conflict. [9]

• Continue its development of “strategic maps” of resource flows in zones of armed conflict characterized by egregious harm to children and civilians, focusing in particular on the beneficiaries of those flows and the supply chains. Include when feasible specific provisions in the mandates of peacekeeping operations to monitor such activity. Convene informal consultations with relevant actors, in particular with business leaders on establishing mechanisms to curb those supply chains. [9]

• The Security Council should continue to address the economic agendas of the various actors in conflict situations with a view to restricting those economic activities, which prolong conflict and the suffering of children. [2, 4] Discourage corporate actors that are on the Security Council’s agenda and within its jurisdiction, from maintaining commercial relations with parties to armed conflicts. [8]

• The Office of the High Commission for Human Rights should be invited to regularly participate in Security Council meetings and submit country and thematic reports on the situation of children's rights. (1, 4)



• The Security Council should hold an open debate on operational mine action in a peacekeeping environment, with a focus on integrating military and humanitarian priorities and with respect to specific operations, particularly in Africa. (1)

• The Security Council should empower peacekeepers to use all necessary force to protect children and ensure their security. (1, 4)

• The Secretary-General and the Security Council must be unrelenting in their pursuit of the highest standards of conduct by peacekeeping personnel.(2) Where violations against women and children have been committed by UN personnel, States must investigate and punish offences and make public the results of such proceedings. Urgent attention must be given to establishing the disciplinary and oversight mechanisms in all peace support operations, in the form of an ombudsperson, and Inspector General or through an Office created especially for that purpose. (1)

• Undertake efforts to obtain the release of children abducted during armed conflict. [7]


• Provide sustained and adequate resources to all relevant actors, in particular peace operations, United Nations entities and non-governmental organizations, engaged in implementing demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for children. [9]

• Consider specific means of involving local communities in the development and implementation of the post-conflict response, in particular those aspects that pertain to the rehabilitation of children affected by armed conflict. [9]

• Promote a culture of peace, including through support for peace education programmes and other non-violent approaches to conflict resolution, in its peace-building activities [8; 9] and encourage the involvement of young persons in programmes for peace consolidation and peace building. [7]



• Work closely with and support local communities and civil society groups in their efforts to strengthen local norms and social networks that have traditionally provided for the protection of children, including in times of war. (2)

• Member states providing military, economic or political assistance to parties to conflict can condition such aid on respect for fundamental children’s rights. (2)

• Regional organizations should establish appropriate mechanisms to facilitate development and implementation of policies and activities for protection of children in their region. (2)

• Rapid and deep debt relief is needed for heavily indebted poor countries. While broad strategies to overcome poverty are needed, specific steps to fulfill children’s right to primary health care, adequate nutrition, clean water and sanitation, and quality basic education must be taken. (1)

• The UN and other regional organizations should urge member states and non-state entities to make the signing and ratification of all conventions relevant to children in armed conflict (especially the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol) a central priority. (2, 4, 5)

• Member states should take measures to make any political, diplomatic, financial, material and military assistance contingent on compliance with international standards that protect children. (2)

• Ensure the appropriate training and education of all civilian, military, police and humanitarian personnel involved in UN Peacekeeping Operations on international humanitarian human rights and refugee law, especially on the rights and protection of children and women [2] and follow appropriate guidance on HIV/AIDS [8].

• Provide training in child development and the protection and rights of children and women for personnel participating in regional peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peace-building operations, and include child protection staff among the personnel of those operations. (2)



• Regional organizations are encouraged to promote neighborhood initiatives, such as the establishment collaborative mechanisms for monitoring and curbing illicit cross-border flows of arms, natural resources and currency. [2; 8]

• When imposing regional sanctions, regional organizations are urged to develop a coordinated and integrated approach to minimize unintended consequences on civilian population, especially children. [2; 8]

• Where regional legal instruments exist for protecting the rights of children, regional organization should be encouraged to develop appropriate institutional mechanisms and capacity for monitoring the implementation of those instruments. (2)

• Regional organizations should be encouraged to cooperate in monitoring the movement and activities of individuals who are suspected of gross violations of the rights of children during armed conflict and in bringing them to justice. (2)

• The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights should be strengthened to carry out the monitoring and reporting of child rights violations in all conflict areas, and should prepare a consolidated annual report on the situation of children's rights, extracted from Country and Thematic Reports and from relevant treaty bodies. (1, 4)

• The Committee on the Rights of the Child should develop additional guidelines on reporting and monitoring the implementation of the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. (4)

• Develop a mechanism for non-state entities to unilaterally declare their respect for international standards and their willingness to comply with existing conventions, including time-bound commitments. Create an international registry of these commitments and an independent monitoring and public reporting system to keep track of compliance. (2, 4)

• Establish a high-level panel of internationally respected individuals to conduct verification missions to ensure commitment compliance by non-state entities with respect to children's rights; including commitments made to the SRSG. (4)



• Define and develop a new doctrine of humanitarian peace keeping which prioritizes human security. This includes multidisciplinary and joint approaches by political,

Humanitarian, and military actors. Mobilize the political will to ensure its appropriate use. (4)

• Continue to implement the policy of 18 years old as the minimum age for participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations, and continue to encourage member states to use this policy as an example for police and military forces world-wide. (4)

• Establish a multi sectored task force to conduct gender audits of all peace-keeping missions. (4)

• Ensure that specific provisions for the demobilization and reintegration of girl and boy child soldiers are spelled out as core elements of all peacekeeping mandates and explicit provisions in UN-supported peace agreements. Extend the time frame for such programs to be at least five years and include youth and community leaders in their design and implementation. (4)

• The UN should carry out a major action-oriented review/study to identify the impact of small arms on children in time for the 2001 Special Session on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms. (4)

• Ensure effective early-warning systems for conflict-prone situations that:
- Report on the threats to the security and rights of children;
- Track the price and availability of small arms;
- Pay specific attention to the situation of girls;
- Report on the scope and methods of the recruitment of children;
- Report on other factors which target youth. (2, 4, 5)

• UNAIDS should lead the development of a coordinated UN strategy on HIV/AIDS, children and conflict. (4)

• The Committee of Co-Sponsoring Organizations of UNAIDS should meet to discuss HIV, children and conflict as a matter of urgency; the findings of the meeting should feed into the Special Session on Children 2001. (4, 5)



• Ensure that child protection functions and training are systematically integrated into all peacekeeping, peacemaking and peace-building operations so as to better respond to the complexity of modern conflict situations. These components should be adequately resourced and staffed to handle child rights and gender-based violations. The UN should deploy child rights monitors and child protection advisors before, during and after conflicts and strengthen mechanisms to ensure that their reports are followed up on. (4, 5)

• Increase training activities on children's rights and gender for both military and non-military personnel. Include these training programmes in the curricula of national, regional and international peace keeping training centres. Peace-keeping and military personnel should ensure that the situation of children in armed conflict is constantly monitored, and that their rights are respected and the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict is implemented. (4)

• Regional organizations should institute mechanisms for monitoring and taking steps to curb the cross-border movement of individuals and groups credibly accused of having violated their child protection commitments and obligations. [9]. Regional organizations and relevant bodies should institute close and consistent mapping of cross-border activity pertaining to recruitment and abduction of children and to prioritize on their agenda the curbing of such activity. [8; 9]

• Undertake efforts to obtain the release of children abducted during armed conflict. [7]

• UN agencies and NGOs to give high priority to education and peace building in their consolidated appeals for war-affected countries. (1, 4)

• Expand, reinforce and actively promote the Secretary General's Global Compact on Business initiative, by working with companies to develop specific guidelines for doing business in countries in conflict. (2, 4)

• Request the Secretary General to attach to his report to be submitted by October 31, 2002, a list of parties to armed conflict that recruit and use children in violation to the international obligations applicable to them. [8]



• Take urgent steps to regulate and monitor production and export of anti-personnel landmines. (2)

• Ensure that the mandates and budgets for peacekeeping operations include adequate provision for technical and financial assistance for mine clearance and mine awareness programs. (2)

• Urge member states to take concrete steps to investigate, prosecute and sanction individuals and corporate enterprises involved in the illegal trafficking of currency, arms, natural resources, or other elements which exacerbate armed conflict and there by the abuse and brutalization of children. (2, 4)

• Regional organizations should establish child protection units within their secretariats to devise policies and programmes to ensure the protection of children during conflict in their regions. (4)

• Strengthen the capacity of the Committee on the Rights of the Child to investigate and monitor the situation of children in conflict areas in addition to its regular 5 year reporting cycle. (1, 4)

• UN and regional groups to work together more closely towards prompt and appropriate responses, early intervention, and the deployment of the peacekeeping forces necessary to best protect children. (1, 4)

• Human rights treaty bodies should enhance their focus on child rights in conflict situations in reviewing government reports. (1)

• Engage regional organizations to put a stop to human rights abuses by countries in their area, and encourage the more frequent use of regional mechanisms for enforcing accountability. (4)

• UN agencies should present specific proposals to the UN Special Session to strengthen co-ordination among them for the protection of children and the provision of assistance in conflict situations. (4, 5)

• Require that all reports on specific conflict situations include specific information on compliance with international standards for the protection of children by all parties to the conflict and specific information on factors which contribute to the violation of the


security and rights of children. The Department of Political Affairs, which co-ordinates such reports, should include staff with appropriate child related expertise in this field. (5)

New mechanisms are needed to develop and implement strategies for appropriate,
non-military responses in emerging conflicts to help protect children.

These could include:
• An international team of highly skilled child rights monitors to be deployed in conflict-prone situations with the sole purpose of child protection. Two priority areas for focus would be practical strategies to reduce the risk of adolescent recruitment and measures to reduce the potential risks for girls;
• Early formation of inter-agency taskforces on specific situations, including NGOs and youth, to do a child-focussed risk analysis, identify points of influence, and develop practical and co-ordinated strategies to increase the level of child protection and reduce the likelihood of violence; and
• Mechanisms, including the media, and strategies to provide information to youth and their families about potential risks and protection measures. (5)

• Take effective measures to ensure that refugee and internally displaced children are physically secure. (2)

• Continue to support the protection of displaced children including their resettlement by UNHCR and others as appropriate. [6]

• In every single situation where there are internally displaced persons, a lead agency should be identified. The agency most involved should be designated, and it follows logically that in the majority of cases this agency will be UNHCR. In those instances where UNHCR is not already directly involved, the agency most engaged should be designated. It is expected that the lead agency will collaborate with all other agencies directly involved, e.g. UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP). In all cases, UNICEF should be a major partner in the care and protection of internally displaced children. (1)

• The UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee, together with representatives of developing countries and the NGO community, should ensure child focused policy development, programme planning and implementation. (1)



• The International community is urged to provide increased financial and human resources to support the Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (RSG) on Internally Displaced Persons, particularly in his efforts to: develop monitoring mechanisms to promote more effective compliance with the Guiding Principles; provide advice on obstacles encountered in the protection of IDP children and women; intervene in a timely manner; and mobilise effective international and regional responses. Specifically, UNICEF and UNHCR are encouraged to continue providing appropriate financial and human resources to foster closer collaboration with the RSG. (1, 5)


• Devote particular attention and adequate resources to the rehabilitation of children affected by armed conflict, particularly their counseling and education. [8]

• Support the development of local capacity to address post conflict child rehabilitation and reintegration concerns. [8]

• Promote a culture of peace, including through support for peace education programmes and other non-violent approaches to conflict resolution, in its peace-building activities. [8]



• Establish an international NGO network on war-affected children to enhance communication and collaboration between individual NGOs and existing networks, create task forces to work on specific country situations and build an international database to help monitor child rights in situations of armed conflict. (1, 4, 5)

• Form taskforces on specific situations to do child-focused strategic analysis, identify points of influence, and implement a coordinated advocacy strategy. It would be desirable to co-operate with UN-related agencies, but if the interest is not reciprocated, NGOs could undertake pilot projects on their own. (5)

• A primary focus for individual NGOs is to work with local communities and youth to increase their own capacity to protect the security and rights of children and youth. (5)

• Media organizations and NGOs to bring to the public's attention the culpability of perpetrators of children's rights abuse and those who aid and abet them, politically, economically or militarily. (4)

• Continue to lobby for the ratification of all international and regional instruments relevant to the protection of children in conflict, especially the OP/CRC, the Ottawa
Convention on landmines, the Rome Statute of the ICC and for the handing over of suspected children's rights violators to existing international tribunals. (2, 4)

• Incorporate the active participation of children and youth into the planning and implementation of pre and post-conflict programs to ensure that such programs effectively meet the actual needs of young people. (4, 5)

• International network of NGOs should work with governments and research institutions on data collection, applied research, and sharing best practices to inform the design and delivery of program initiatives to local communities. (4)

• Explore the feasibility of developing a mechanism to allow non-state actors to make commitments for compliance with international standards before conflict breaks out and engage in frequent monitoring and public reporting on compliance with their commitments. (5)



• NGOs engaged in providing humanitarian assistance on the ground should ensure that the rights, protection and well being of children constitute a central concern in their program development, priority setting and resource allocation. (2)

• Advocate against amnesties being granted to those guilty of egregious violations of children's rights. (4)

• NGOs should urge shareholders of companies that violate codes of conduct related to children and put pressure on their corporate boards to change their corporate behaviour. (4)

• Implement training programmes to increase the capacity of local NGOs to monitor and report on child rights violations in conflict-affected and conflict-prone countries. (4, 5)

• Explore the feasibility of a Youth Ambassador program to provide an avenue for young people to raise public awareness, engage in advocacy, and assist in monitoring how well governments and other organizations fulfill their commitments to young people. Launch of this program at the Special Session in 2001 would give youth a role in accountability. (5)

• Begin the disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation of children while conflict is ongoing. (4)


• Actively monitor and report on violations of children's rights in conflict areas, bringing information to the attention of key political actors. Work to build an international monitoring system that links local child protection networks with international monitoring and advocacy organizations. (4, 5)

• Priority consideration should be given to family tracing. When family members cannot be identified, extended family and community care should be arranged. (4)

• Ensure that girls are accorded specialised attention before, during, and after conflict. This includes equal access to education, property rights, vocational training and


reproductive health care and services. Ensure that all humanitarian responses in conflict situations emphasise the special reproductive health needs of women and girls, and include systematic reporting on gender-based violence. There must also be strengthened policy guidance on sexual violence and exploitation. [1; 2; 4; 5; 7]


• Focus programs to support war-affected children’s resilience, positive self-regard and functioning, and emotional well being. Healing and helping children should be done with the children themselves, their families, schools, communities and teachers. (1, 4)

• Child-focused mine awareness and victim assistance programs and much needed. (2)


• Where possible, youth organizations can boycott and/or use pressure tactics against companies that make ammunition and arms. (4)

• Youth can take the initiative to come together to share experiences, network and support each other in their work in monitoring and advocating for issues related to war-affected children. (1, 4)

• Youth can come together through innovative means (e.g.: soccer games between youth who would not normally have met due to propaganda and instilled hate). (4)

• Use the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including youth and child-friendly versions, to pressure their governments to account for their actions. (4)

• Youth delegates to the International Conference on War-Affected Children commit to following up with their governments on commitments made at the Conference. (4)

• Use new technologies such as the Internet to facilitate communication and build solidarity between young people in war-affected countries and countries at peace. (4)

• Youth organizations should run awareness-raising and educational programmes with adults on the rights of children. (4, 5)

• Youth and youth-serving organizations should take into consideration the psychosocial educational and economic conditions, which cause youth to participate in conflict. These organizations should focus on economic alternatives for young people. (4)

• Youth participation is often of a token nature and direct discussions are needed on what it means to have meaningful participation. (4)

• Youth monitoring teams should evaluate projects and provide feedback to ensure that recipient governments spend money appropriately. (4)


• Young people can be both victims and perpetrators of violence during conflict. As such, they should not suffer in silence; their voices must be heard. (4, 5)



• Media and journalists should give children and youth access to electronic, print, radio and television media to ensure that children are portrayed accurately. (4)

• Media organizations can pressure/encourage governments to ratify conventions relevant to war-affected children, and can act as watchdog organizations to ensure compliance by mobilizing public opinion on these issues through "name and shame" campaigns. (1, 4)


• Media should establish their own guidelines to avoid the exploitation of war-affected children for their own economic or political reasons. Media should focus on the potential strengths and abilities of war-affected children instead of portraying them simply as victims. (1, 2, 4)

• Play a role in drawing attention to the plight of children in armed conflict. [9]

• Support the development, production and diffusion of radio programs specifically aimed at war-affected children. Youth should be encouraged to play a significant role in the development of these programs. (1, 4)

• Adolescents should be helped to use new communication technology to promote community awareness and health, education and other vital areas for survival in conflict situations. (1)



The Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises the importance of parents and families in the development of children. Families play a critical role in ensuring each child’s right to grow up in a safe, stable and nurturing environment. Governments also play a critical role in development support systems to strengthen families. Poverty, violence in all its forms, and other psychosocial and economic pressures often undermine the ability of families to provide support to their children, and represent a serious threat to children’s right to grow up in a physically and psychologically safe, stable and nurturing environment.

• The Caucus recommends that countries (their governments in partnership with NGOs and other civil society actors and organizations):
• Ensure that all families receive sufficient support in order to provide a physically and psychologically safe, stable, and nurturing environment for children.
• Manage economic activity in ways that enable parents and others to reconcile their work and care-giving responsibilities.
• Prioritise the preservation of family structures within social programs.
• Where appropriate, create parental support networks. (3)
• Teachers and other community leaders must be trained in children's rights and on how to work with children in an empowering way. The value of youth participation should also be promoted among educators. (2, 4, 5)
• Schools should disseminate the Convention on the Rights of the Child (child-friendly versions) in every country to make children aware of their rights. A culture of rights and peace needs to be taught to all children. (4)

• Parents, the community and young people should be involved in curriculum planning and development to ensure that teaching materials are locally relevant and also child-rights based, giving full attention to gender-sensitivity, as well as ethnic and religious tolerance. (1)


• Adequate political and economic resources are needed for:
- Mobilization and co-ordination of early efforts to reunite children with their families;
- Provision of help to affected families, to restore their economic livelihood and heal broken relationships, recognizing that the best context for reintegrating children is a


physically and psychologically healthy family and community life;
- Emphasis on the social aspect in psychosocial trauma programs through the use of community-based approaches to reunite families and deal with the psychological impact of war;
- Avoid stigmatization of child soldiers and victims of gender-based violence by providing help in the context of psychological assistance for all children impacted by war;
- Provide focused assistance for girls who have been abducted for sexual
purposes. This includes private interviews, immediate medical care, psychosocial
support, access to economic resources to live independently of their abductors, and special attention to integrate children born to girl soldiers;
- Ensure that children with disabilities are included in both the planning and implementation of post-conflict programs for youth and communities; and
- Support for child-headed households in the community, including skills training, education and alternative employment opportunities along with traditional social safety nets.
- Communities need to be sensitized about demobilized and rehabilitated child soldiers. (5)


Demobilized children are often afraid to return to their communities since everyone knows who was involved in the war. (1, 4)

• Seek a balance between local traditions and international standards, and work within
communities to bridge the current gap between the two. (4)


There is a clear need to develop a research agenda, a focused set of programmatic priorities and the resources to train potential researchers. These researchers could systematically provide reliable and valid information crucial to furthering our understanding of a host of factors underlying the complexity of issues involved in prevention, protection and intervention. The availability of such information will not only fill in gaps in our knowledge, but will be invaluable in helping decisions makers in their struggle to develop policies and priorities of resources allocation and program development. Unfortunately research activity itself is often relegated to the bottom of a list of priorities in terms of the allocation of resources.

Therefore, the United Nations, Governments, Corporate and Non-Corporate Actors at the global, regional and national level should:

• Provide sufficient economic resources to facilitate the training and deployment of researchers at the local, national and regional level.

• Establish a research network that would coordinate the efforts of individual researchers, research institutions, universities, NGOs, UN agencies and other relevant institutions in terms of funding opportunities, a global database, and the dissemination of research.

• In addition to traditional research methodologies, the complexity of the issues warrants the use of innovative, creative and non traditional methodological approaches.

• Investigate neglected topics. A few examples follow:

- Local cultural norms, values and traditions that protect children;
- Rehabilitative programs based on local cultural norms, values and traditions;
- Analyses of the program effectiveness (including cost-effectiveness) in conflict prevention and resolution, as well as protection and rehabilitation;
- Adolescent needs and motivations; with specific attention to such things as the role that social relationships, educational, recreational and vocational opportunities and families play, in prevention, protection and rehabilitation;
- Factors affecting adolescents coping and resiliency in dealing with conflict and traumatic events;
- Genocidal rape and sexual abuse and exploitation of children in situations of armed conflict;
- Abductions and disappearances of children;
- Girl and boy soldiers’ recruitment and rehabilitation;
- Internally displaced children;
- Programmatic analysis of the effect of political ideology and educational curriculum on children understanding of armed conflict;
- Drugs and economic incentives in effecting children’s role in armed conflict;
- Children’s and adolescents role in peacekeeping activities;
- Availability of infrastructures and accompanying personnel skilled in assisting children in conflict situations;
- Factors or variables that may be predictive in determining high-risk countries or regions likely to target children;
- Psychological impact of armed conflict on children across age, gender, culture and ethnicity;
- The extent to which such things as drug trafficking, trade in small arms, ethnic hatred and incidents of child abuse are predictors of armed conflict that affect children.

• Research should have a visible child-centered focus, addressing children’s areas of concern and encouraging the integration of children in the design, development and implementation of research projects.

• Provide resources for the compilation of a systematic analysis, assessment and review of the current state of our knowledge of the research findings.

• Observational and anecdotal evidence has revealed a growing trend in the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls in conflict situations. Data should be systematically gathered and analysed in an attempt to document this trend. For example, its recommended that:
a) A joint research report be undertaken on the trafficking of women and girls in conflict situations by the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and by the Special Rapporteur on the Eradication of All Forms of Violence Against Women;
b) Studies on children and mother should be undertaken such as the one, ‘Where are the babies,’ a follow up of children born to mothers who have been raped and forcefully impregnated in countries including the former Yugoslavia, Uganda, Guatemala, Sierra Leone and Liberia. (1)

• Gender, age, ethnicity, cultural context and geography should be disaggregated and taken into account in the planning, design, collection and analysis of all assessment, monitoring, reporting, program evaluation and research. Mechanisms should be established to ensure appropriate information flow on gender issues to inform the policy and planning process with respect to peace support operations. (1)

• In order to better understand the long term and potential latent impact of armed conflict on children, it is crucial to undertake innovative retrospective and prospective studies utilizing cross sectional and longitudinal methodologies.

• Research findings should be widely disseminated and made available to the public.