The UN Security Council has held an open debate on children affected by conflict. It adopted a resolution to name and shame governments and armed groups which abduct children in armed conflicts.
The resolution adopted by the Security Council on Thursday expressed grave concern at the abduction of children in conflict. It stated that abduction often preceded or followed other abuses against them, ranging from their use as child soldiers to rape and death. The Council heard that more than 200 million children were caught up in armed conflict.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council that "abduction is now being used as a tactic to terrorize or target particular ethnic groups or religious communities, and children have been a particular focus."
Leila Zerrougui, the UN special representative for children in armed conflict, told the Council that "the response to abductions needs to be scaled up to address this increasing trend - including through early warning mechanisms."
Last year was one of the worst in recent memory for children living in conflict areas such as South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Iraq, Syria and Nigeria.
Added to list of 'trigger' crimes
In 2005, the Council approved a resolution to identify governments and armed groups that recruited child soldiers. Four years later it voted to name and shame countries and groups engaged in conflicts which led to children being killed, maimed and raped.
Thursday's resolution added the abduction of children in conflict as a reason for a government or armed group to be listed as a violator of children's rights. Those on the list can face action by the Security Council, including sanctions.
"By adding abductions as the fifth "trigger" violation, the Council makes it possible for responsible parties to be held to account," Eva Smets from the Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict said. "This is a laudable step towards enhancing the international community's ability to protect children," she added.
jm/rc (AP, UN)