2. Reconstruction
  3. The task of rebuilding war-torn societies is a huge one that must take place not only at the physical, economic, cultural and political, but also at the psychosocial level. Reconstruction must relate to the child, the family, the community and the country. Rebuilding need not simply mean returning to the way things were, but can offer opportunities to leap into the future rather than follow a slow but steady path of progress. Programmes designed during reconstruction can lay foundations for child protection and strengthen social infrastructures, particularly in relation to health and education. Children are rarely mentioned in reconstruction plans or peace agreements, yet children must be at the centre of rebuilding.
  4. Part of putting children at the centre means using youth as a resource. Young people must not be seen as problems or victims, but as key contributors in the planning and implementation of long-term solutions. Children with disabilities, children living or working in the streets and children who are in institutions as a result of conflict should all become essential participants in post-conflict planning and reconstruction. In countries emerging from conflict, agencies such as ILO have a key role to play through skills and entrepreneurship training programmes that address youth. The international community has an important responsibility for sharing technical skills and knowledge as well as financial resources.
  5. The challenges facing communities attempting to rebuild are enormous.

As a consequence of scorched-earth policies, communities often have little from which to reconstruct. In many countries, landmines restrict the use of roads and agricultural lands. “Donor pullout” can leave populations struggling to survive, particularly if humanitarian assistance has been structured in ways that encourage dependency rather than build family and community strength and integrity. For these reasons, the seeds of reconstruction should be sown even during conflict. Particularly for children, emergency aid – investment that secures their physical and emotional survival – will also be the basis for their long-term development. In this sense, emergencies and development should never be arbitrarily or artificially separated.

  1. As daunting as reconstruction is the task of restoring family livelihood. UNHCR and others have developed a form of reintegration assistance known as “quick impact projects”. These are simple, small-scale projects designed to act as bridges between returnees and residents while bringing immediate, tangible economic and social benefits. They involve the beneficiary community in determining priorities and implementation. One version of the quick impact projects gives female-headed households special consideration and provides loans and credits to enable them to form cooperatives and open small businesses. Before the conflict, women may have been less involved than men in economic activity, but armed conflicts can change this pattern dramatically. These projects have been particularly successful in Central America. However, not all quick impact projects have managed to involve local communities meaningfully, and some have been criticised for offering quick fix approaches which fail to benefit the community in the long term.
  2. Such bridging programmes are crucial in providing a more formalized transition from the emergency phase to the longer-term reconstruction phase.

In Cambodia, the expert was told that the phasing out of UNHCR has left a gap in support for many children and families. Agency staff argue that more defined programming, using development principles for a transitional rehabilitation phase would promote the rebuilding of a cohesive, caring social network supportive of women and children. The memoranda of understanding recently agreed between agencies such as UNHCR and UNICEF should be of help in establishing clearer directives for transition planning between agencies, but such planning needs to involve a variety of agencies and NGOs.

  1. Education for children must be a priority in all reconstruction. For refugee children, it is important that their home countries recognize the schooling they have undertaken in the country of asylum. To facilitate this process, students should be provided with appropriate documentation of courses and qualifications. The recovery and reintegration of children will affect the success of the whole society in returning to a more peaceful path. To some extent, returning to non-violent daily activities can start the process of healing and national reconciliation, but communities must also take positive steps that signal to children the break with the violence of the past. In the demilitarization of communities, eroding the cultures of violence that conflict has engendered must be an important priority. Women’s groups, religious groups and civil society all play key roles in this area.
  2. Reconciliation
  3. Truth commissions, human rights commissions and reconciliation groups can be important vehicles for community healing. To date, 16 or more countries in transition from conflict have organized truth commissions as a means of establishing moral, legal and political accountability and mechanisms for recourse. In South Africa and Guatemala, the commissions are aimed at preserving the memory of the victims, fostering the observance of human rights and strengthening the democratic process. In Argentina, where there was an assumption that offenders would receive punishment, there have subsequently been amnesties to the consternation of the human rights community.
  4. It is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve reconciliation without justice. The expert believes that the international community should develop more systematic methods for apprehending and punishing individuals guilty of child rights abuses. Unless those at every level of political and military command fear that they will be held accountable for crimes and subject to prosecution, there is little prospect of restraining their behaviour during armed conflicts. Allowing perpetrators to benefit from impunity can only lead to contempt for the law and to renewed cycles of violence.
  5. In the case of the gravest abuses, including but not limited to genocide, international law can be more appropriate than national action. In view of this, the Security Council has established International Tribunals to punish perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The expert welcomes these tribunals, but is concerned that they may have neither the resources nor the powers to fulfil their objectives. They deserve greater financial support and more determined political backing. The expert supports the proposed creation of an international criminal court, which would have a permanent prosecutor’s office to try cases of genocide and other violations of international law.
  6. One of the most disturbing and difficult aspects of children’s participation in armed conflict is that, manipulated by adults, they may become perpetrators of war crimes including rape, murder and genocide. As of June 1996 in Rwanda, 1,741 children were being held in detention in dreadful conditions. Of these, approximately 550 were under 15 years, and therefore beneath the age of criminal responsibility under Rwandan law. The Government of Rwanda has transferred responsibility for the cases of young people who were under the age of 15 at the time of the genocide from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. They were subsequently released into newly established juvenile or community detention facilities.

For the estimated 1,191 children who are in detention and deemed criminally responsible, UNICEF, through the Ministry of Justice, provides legal assistance for their defence. It is also advocating special provisions for the trial of these adolescents. The dilemma of dealing with children who are accused of committing acts of genocide illustrates the complexity of balancing culpability, a community’s sense of justice and the “best interests of the child”.

  1. The severity of the crime involved, however, provides no justification to suspend or to abridge the fundamental rights and legal safeguards accorded to children under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. States Parties should establish a minimum age below which children are presumed not to have the capacity to infringe penal law. While the Convention does not mention a specific age, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules) stress that this age shall not be fixed at too low a level, bearing in mind the child’s emotional, mental and intellectual maturity. The Committee on the Rights of the Child states that the assessment of the children’s criminal responsibility should not be based on subjective or imprecise criteria, such as the attainment of puberty, age of discernment or the child’s personality. 41/ Those children who have been deemed criminally responsible should, as article 40 of the Convention asserts, be treated with dignity, and have their social reintegration taken into account. Children should, inter alia, be given the opportunity to participate in proceedings affecting them, either directly or through a representative or an appropriate body, benefit from legal counselling and enjoy due process of law. Deprivation of liberty should never be unlawful or arbitrary and should only be used as a measure of last resort. In all instances, alternatives to institutional care should be sought.
  2. The prime responsibility for consistent monitoring and prosecution of violations rests with the national authorities of the State in which the violations occurred. Whether justice is pursued after the conflict depends largely on the prevailing social and political environment. Even when there is a willingness to prosecute offenders, the country may not have the capacity to do so adequately, since the system of justice itself may have been largely destroyed. Following the conflict in Rwanda, for example, only 20 per cent of the judiciary survived, and courts lacked the most basic resources. 42/ At the Fourth Regional Consultation on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children in Asia and the Pacific it was proposed that the reconstruction of legal systems must be viewed as an urgent task of rebuilding and that substantial international assistance may be required.

“Children are dropping out of childhood. We must envision a society free of conflict where children can grow up as children, not weapons of war.” 43/

  1. Much of the present report has focused on methods by which children can

be protected from the worst impacts of armed conflict. However well such measures are implemented, clearly the most effective way to protect children is to prevent the outbreak of armed conflicts. The international community must shatter the political inertia that allows circumstances to escalate into armed conflict and destroy children’s lives. This means addressing the root causes of violence and promoting sustainable and equitable patterns of human development. All people need to feel that they have a fair share in decision-making, equal access to resources, the ability to participate fully in civil and political society and the freedom to affirm their own identities and fully express their aspirations. Such ideas have been eloquently expressed, with analytic power that cannot be attempted here, in such texts as The Challenge to the South: The Report of the South Commission and the report of the Commission on Global Governance entitled “Our Global Neighbourhood”.

  1. Preventing conflicts from escalating is a clear responsibility of national Governments and the international community, but there is also an important role for civil society. Religious, community and traditional leaders have often been successful at conflict management and prevention, as have scholars and NGOs involved in mediation and capacity building. Women’s organizations, too, have been very influential, promoting the presence of women at the negotiating table, where they can act as their own advocates and agents for peace. One example is African Women in Crisis, a UNIFEM programme working to strengthen the capacity of women’s peace movements throughout Africa. The statement of the Third Regional Consultation on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children in West and Central Africa recommends that peace missions, reconciliation forums and all peace-building efforts should incorporate women as key members of negotiating teams. The expert agrees.
  2. Education for peace
  3. All sectors of society must come together to build “ethical frameworks”, integrating traditional values of cooperation through religious and community leaders with international legal standards. Some of the groundwork for the building of “ethical frameworks” can be laid in schools. Both the content and the process of education should promote peace, social justice, respect for human rights and the acceptance of responsibility. Children need to learn skills of negotiation, problem solving, critical thinking and communication that will enable them to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence. To achieve this, a number of countries have undertaken peace education programmes. In Lebanon, the expert visited the education for peace programme, jointly undertaken in 1989 by the Lebanese Government, NGOs, youth volunteers and UNICEF and now benefiting thousands of children nationally. In Liberia, the student palaver conflict management programme employs adolescents as resources in peer conflict resolution and mediation activities in schools. In Northern Ireland, the expert was informed about initiatives aimed at the universal inclusion of peace education elements in school curricula.

Similarly in Sri Lanka, an education for conflict resolution programme has been integrated into primary and secondary school education. An innovative element is the programme’s use of various public media to reach to out-of-school children and other sectors of the community. While such initiatives are not always successful, they are indispensable to the eventual rehabilitation of a shattered society.

  1. The statement of the Second Regional Consultation on the Impact of Armed Conflict in the Arab Region called for a comprehensive review of the content, process and structure of peace education programmes (sometimes called “global education” or “education for development” programmes). The review was to include an assessment of best practice and coordination, the promotion of effective evaluation techniques and an exploration of stronger methods of involving and responding to local needs, aspirations and experiences. The consultation also emphasized the importance of integrating peace education principles, values and skills into the education of every child.
  2. Adults are just as much in need of conflict management skills and human rights education as children and youth. Here, the most difficult challenge is to achieve tolerance not just between individuals, but also between groups.

The media can play an important role by helping readers and viewers to enjoy diversity and by promoting the understanding that is needed for peaceful co-existence and the respect that is required for the enjoyment of human rights. The media’s role as mediator has been explored in South Africa, where some journalists have been trained to use their access to both sides of conflict in order to help bring about national consensus on divisive issues.

  1. Current levels of animosity in the former Yugoslavia, which had a long-running peace education programme, illustrates that programmes promoting respect for human rights and teaching conflict management skills are not enough on their own. Also essential are clear and strong mechanisms for reconciliation, the protection of minorities and access to social justice. Governments can specifically outlaw the kinds of discrimination that breed resentment. The persistent violation of the rights of minority and indigenous groups has helped generate the conditions that lead to armed conflict.
  1. Demilitarization
  2. In addition to pursuing equitable patterns of development, Governments can lower the risk of armed conflict by reducing levels of militarization and by honouring the commitments made at the World Summit for Social Development to support the concept of human security. Towards that end, Governments must take firm action to shift the allocation of resources from arms and military expenditures to human and social development. Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, is heavily militarized:    between 1960 and 1994, the proportion of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) devoted to military spending rose from 0.7 per cent to 2.9 per cent. The region’s military expenditure is now around $8 billion, despite the fact that 216 million people live in poverty. South Asia is another region that spends heavily on arms. In 1994, it spent $14 billion on the military although 562 million South Asians live in absolute poverty. 44/ Governments worldwide should take uncompromising steps to demilitarize their societies by strictly limiting and controlling access to weapons.
  1. At the international level, Governments must exercise the political will to control the transfer of arms to conflict zones, particularly where there is evidence of gross violation of children’s rights. The United Nations must adopt a much firmer position on the arms trade, including a total ban on arms shipments to areas of conflict and determined efforts to eliminate the use, production, trade and stockpiling of anti-personnel landmines. The United Nations Register of Conventional Arms should be expanded to include more types of weapons and mandatory reporting should be required.
  2. Donors and development agencies should give priority to programmes that include conflict prevention components designed to help manage diversity and reduce economic disparities within countries. Economic development in itself will not resolve conflicts. However, unless the reduction of economic disparities becomes an essential ingredient in all programmes, human development will be constantly thwarted by violent conflict. Donors should make stronger efforts to ensure that a greater percentage of their funding is aimed directly at social infrastructures and programmes for children.
  3. In a report on strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance (A/50/203-E/1995/79), the United Nations Secretary-General estimated that spending on refugees doubled between 1990 and 1992, that the cost of peace operations increased 5-fold in the same period and 10-fold in 1994 and that spending on humanitarian programmes tripled from $845 million to $3 billion between 1989 and 1994. Significantly, official development assistance (ODA) figures for 1994 were at their lowest point for the past 20 years amongst the world’s richer countries – just 0.3 per cent of combined gross national product (GNP), rather than the 0.7 per cent agreed by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and endorsed by the General Assembly. Decreasing levels of aid and increasing costs of emergencies have a negative impact on aid for long term development, despite growing awareness that longer term development may be one of the more effective methods of preventing conflicts and rebuilding communities.
  1. Early warning
  2. Improvements in early warning systems and stand-by capacity are necessary to reduce the dangers of armed conflict for children. On numerous field visits, it was stressed to the expert that, although massive displacement and threats to children had been anticipated in a region, they had not been sufficiently taken up by the international community. Recent efforts of the international humanitarian community to establish improved early warning systems and contingency planning have included NGOs and local institutions. Noting the rare inclusion of child-specific expertise in stand-by arrangements, the expert recommends the full consideration of children’s rights and needs in the development of early warning systems and contingency planning. The media can alert the international community to child rights violations, but early warning must be linked to early action to be of any use. The escalation of conflict in the Great Lakes region of Africa is a clear example of the failure to link early warning with preventive measures and early action.
  3. The burden and consequences of armed conflict usually have transborder impacts, diverting energy and resources from all countries in the region and leading to increased impoverishment. Civil society and international NGOs can mitigate these impacts by providing their own early warning, advocating international and local human rights standards, promoting community-level peace- building and offering mediators. Action can also come from regional organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the League of Arab States, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), OECD and the European Union (EU), as well as those assembled for particular projects, such as the former Contadora Group, which was related to the central American peace process, and the Economic Community of West African States Military Observer Group (ECOMOG), related to peacekeeping in Liberia. The capacity of regional bodies, which differ greatly in their experience and resources, should not be overstated, but they can engender frank and open discussion among neighbouring governments. Regional organizations, NGOs and other actors have a number of preventive diplomacy instruments open to them, including grass roots dialogues, mediation, human rights missions, peacekeeping and peace-building.
  4. In the long run, conflict prevention is everyone’s responsibility. It requires action at local, national and international levels to remove both the underlying causes of conflict and the immediate provocations for violence. Ultimately, the failure to achieve comprehensive peace-building, the failure to settle disputes peacefully and the failure to prevent child rights violations each represent a collapse of moral and political will.
  6. To keep these issues very high on the international human rights, peace, security and development agendas, the expert believes that it is essential to ensure a follow-up to the present report. She recommends the establishment of a special representative of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict.
  7. The special representative would act as a standing observer, assessing progress achieved and difficulties encountered in the implementation of the recommendations presented by the present study. The representative would raise awareness about the plight of children affected by armed conflict and promote information collection, research, analysis and dissemination at the global, regional and national levels. The representative would encourage the development of networking to exchange experiences and facilitate the adoption of measures intended to improve the situation of children and reinforce action undertaken to such a purpose and would also foster international cooperation to ensure respect for children’s rights in these situations, contribute to the coordination of efforts by Governments, United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, and other competent bodies, including NGOs, regional organizations, relevant special rapporteurs and working groups, as well as United Nations field operations.
  8. The special representative would prepare an annual report to be submitted to the General Assembly as well as to the Commission on Human Rights. The report would contain information received from all relevant sources, including Governments, United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, NGOs and other competent bodies, on progress achieved as well as on any other steps adopted to strengthen the protection of children in situations of armed conflict.
  1. The special representative would work closely with the Committee on the Rights of the Child, relevant United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and other competent bodies, including NGOs. The representative would also maintain close contact with Department of Humanitarian Affairs and members of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, and would make use of the mechanisms established by the Administrative Committee on Coordination for inter-agency follow-up to recent global conferences. The representative would be supported in her/his work, including financial support, by the United Nations system and, in particular, by the High Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for Human Rights, UNICEF and UNHCR.
  2. Follow-up action for Governments
  3. Governments bear the primary responsibility for protecting children from the impact of armed conflict, and indeed, for preventing conflicts from occurring. While this report provides testimony of the efforts of Governments, United Nations bodies and civil society to protect children from the atrocities of war, it is ultimately a testimony of their collective failure to do so. Governments have clearly failed to harness the necessary financial and human resources or to demonstrate the compassion, the commitment and the tenacity required to fulfil their moral, political and social obligations to children. The following recommendations are addressed to all Governments. Improvement in the situation of children affected by armed conflicts requires improved international cooperation, political commitment and action not only on the part of Governments within whose borders conflict exists, but also on the part of those Governments whose citizens are indirectly responsible for inciting or protracting conflicts for economic or political gain.
  4. All States Parties are encouraged to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child in times of peace and conflict, inter alia, through legislative, administrative, budgetary, judicial, educational and social measures. In addition, States Parties should engage in international cooperation through bilateral and multilateral actions and by providing and facilitating humanitarian assistance and relief programmes during conflict situations.
  5. Governments that have not yet ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child should do so. All States should support the adoption of the proposed draft optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on involvement of children in armed conflicts, and adhere to it as soon as possible. In addition, they should support the international ban on landmines and other weapons deemed to have indiscriminate effects. Governments should also ratify and implement other relevant instruments, such as the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols; the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and other specific regional undertakings that address children’s rights.
  6. Governments must give priority to preventive measures by ensuring balanced economic, social and human development through capacity building, the promotion of a child-centred culture and the equitable reallocation of resources, including land. States must enact measures to eliminate discrimination, particularly against children, women, indigenous and minority populations, and must carry out their responsibilities to ensure protection for refugee and internally displaced children.
  7. Governments should recognize that economic and social disparities, neglect and patterns of discrimination contribute to armed conflict, and should consequently review their national budgets with a view to reducing military expenditure and redirecting those resources to economic and social development. Child development and child rights indicators should form the basis for national strategies for children which assess progress and indicate policy and programme reforms. Governments should also ensure that, on matters affecting the child, children’s views are taken into account.
  8. Governments must create enabling environments within which civil society can work on issues related to armed conflict and child rights. Governments should actively encourage and support coalitions that represent the views of parliamentarians, the judiciary, religious communities, educators, the media, professional associations, the private sector, NGOs and children themselves. Such coalitions will facilitate service delivery, social mobilization and advocacy for children affected by armed conflicts. The establishment of national ombudspersons, national human rights commissions, international courts and other institutions should be explored. So should long-term measures designed to ensure respect for children’s rights.
  9. Immediately following conflicts and during periods of transition, Governments must ensure that health, education and psychosocial support are central to reconstruction efforts. Demilitarization, the demobilization of all armed groups, de-mining, mine awareness and the control of the flow of arms within and outside of national borders must become immediate priorities. To achieve justice and reconciliation, it is essential for Governments to engage in national-level dialogues with the military, to strengthen their judicial systems, to carry out human rights monitoring and to establish investigative mechanisms, tribunals and truth commissions that consider violations of children’s rights.
  10. Multilateral, bilateral and private funding sources should be committed to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child as part of the process of development and post-conflict reconstruction. In the light of article 4 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, States Parties should commit themselves, with regard to economic, social and cultural rights, to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international cooperation. This means that those countries with greater resources have an obligation to support the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in those countries with fewer resources.
  11. States should use the collective authority of their intergovernmental (such as the Commonwealth secretariat), regional and subregional bodies to support region-wide initiatives for conflict prevention, management and resolution.
  12. Regional and subregional arrangements
  13. Regional organizations, such as OAU, OAS, EU and the Asia-Pacific Regional Cooperation Framework (APEC), economic commissions, development banks and subregional organizations, such as the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD), should be encouraged to work with national organizations and Government entities to formulate plans of action to protect children. The work should be undertaken within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant international and regional treaties, declarations and guidelines that emphasize children’s rights. These include the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Santiago declaration.
  14. In seeking to promote peace and stability within regions, regional and subregional organizations are encouraged to share information and develop common preparedness measures, early warning systems and rapid-reaction responses that use child rights indicators and are sensitive to children’s needs. The organizations should convene meetings with the military and its chiefs of staff to develop systems of accountability and measures to protect children and civilians in conflict situations. Such measures may include, for example, human rights training and monitoring, the creation of regional mine-free zones, “days of tranquillity”, “corridors of peace” and the demobilization of child soldiers.
  15. Responsibilities of the United Nations
  16. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference on Human Rights (A/CONF.157/24 (Part I) chap. III) recommended that matters relating to children’s rights be regularly reviewed and monitored by all relevant organs and mechanisms of the United Nations system and by the supervisory bodies of the specialized agencies, in accordance with their mandates. The protection of children must be central to the humanitarian, peacemaking and peacekeeping policies of the United Nations, and should be given priority within existing human rights and humanitarian procedures.
  17. Humanitarian concerns are increasingly an important component of the Security Council’s international peace and security agenda. In recent years, the Council has authorized United Nations operations which support political, military and humanitarian objectives. 45/ Consistent with this trend, the Council should therefore be kept continually and fully aware of humanitarian concerns, including child specific concerns, in its actions to resolve conflicts, to keep or to enforce peace or to implement peace agreements. When taking up issues such as demobilization, the Council should bear in mind the very special situation of child soldiers. Where appropriate, the protection of children should be considered in comprehensive resolutions which set out peacekeeping and demobilization mandates reflecting considerations such as monitoring adherence to human rights, the establishment and maintenance of safe areas and humanitarian access. With regard to the issue of landmines, the Security Council is encouraged to consider their particular threat to children. In circumstances where a lack of political stability and peace hinder the provision of humanitarian assistance, the expert urges the Security Council to take up requests for the provision of such assistance to children and other vulnerable groups.
  18. The Economic and Social Council requested, in its resolution 1995/56 of 28 July 1995, that certain issues pertaining to humanitarian assistance be reviewed in anticipation of a more general analysis of institutional needs. Many of these issues, such as resource mobilization, internally displaced persons, coordination, relief, rehabilitation, development and local coping mechanisms, relate to the situation of children affected by conflict situations. Working groups in these areas should ensure that the particular needs of children are included in recommendations presented to the Economic and Social Council and that this subject should become one of the main themes for discussion.
  19. Within their respective mandates, the executive boards of relevant United Nations specialized agencies and other competent bodies should consider the recommendations contained in this report and inform the Secretary-General of the ways and means that they can contribute more effectively to the protection of children in armed conflict. Particular emphasis should be placed on systematically addressing these concerns in field activities, monitoring and reporting, the development of preventive measures and post-conflict recovery. The Department of Humanitarian Affairs, UNICEF,

UNHCR, UNDP, WHO, FAO, WFP, UNFPA, UNIFEM, the High Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for Human Rights and other United Nations bodies must treat conflicts as a distinct and priority concern. the establishment of the mechanisms necessary children’s rights.

  1. The United Nations human rights system
  2. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference on Human Rights recommended that matters relating to human rights and the situation of children be regularly reviewed and monitored by all relevant organs and mechanisms of the United Nations system and by the supervisory bodies of the specialized agencies, in accordance with their mandates. Children’s rights must become distinct and priority concerns within all United Nations human rights and humanitarian monitoring and reporting activities. Within the framework of their mandates, all special rapporteurs and working groups for countries or themes should consider the situation of children affected by armed conflict and should suggest measures to prevent children’s involvement in conflicts and to promote the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of those who are affected. The legal framework to increase the protection provided for internally displaced persons that is being developed by the Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons should be supported and endorsed by the Commission on Human Rights and the General Assembly as a matter of priority.

High Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for Human Rights