On Monday June 17th, 2013, the Security Council held a debate on Children in Armed Conflict (CAAC). The main focus was the Secretary-General's Report on Children and Armed Conflict (S/2013/245), dated 12 May 2013; particularly, the ‘unprecedented threats' to children in the Mali and Syria conflicts. The council addressed the need to hold persistent perpetrators of human rights violations against children in situations of armed conflict accountable. In addition, the council underlined the importance of establishing and implementing concrete time-bound action plans to prevent and stop further abuses.
The debate started with Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui. Also addressing the Council were Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Yoka Brandt, and the Associate Vice-President of Save the Children, Gregory Ramm. Twenty-six Member States, in addition to the European Union, addressed the Council. Seven Member States made gender references in addition to the briefings of Special Representative Leila Zerrougui, Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, and Save the Children Associate Vice-President Gregory Ramm.
Ten statements out of nearly 30 speakers included gender references to issues such as sexual violence, integration and re-recruitment of girls and boys into regular armed forces, and systematic rape and torture perpetrated against girls during times of armed conflict.
Special Representative Leila Zerrougui and Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous expressed the need to prioritize accountability for sexual violence perpetrated against children by armed groups. Several delegates, including Syria, Pakistan, Australia, Luxembourg, and France, also referenced sexual violence perpetrated against children during armed conflict.
Similarly to the previous Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict that took place in September 2012, there was mention of the vulnerability of both women and children during times of war. Comparably to last year's debate, not one statement made direct reference to resolutions on women, peace and security: Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889 or 1960. It must be remembered that sexual violence as experienced by children in armed conflict is not mutually exclusive from sexual violence as articulated in resolutions on women, peace and security.
Additional topics articulated during the debate on Children and Armed Conflict included measures necessary for increasing pressure on persistent perpetrators of sexual violence against children in order to hold them accountable, bringing an end to impunity, implementing existing resolutions, negotiating action plans as needed, and creating and strengthening laws to stop the use of drones. Furthermore, the debate consisted of statements that addressed the need for properly allocated funding for all related action plans and the prioritization of issues relevant to children in peace discussions.
Member States who spoke at the debate included: representatives of Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Guatemala, India, Iraq, Luxembourg, Myanmar, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Syria, Thailand, Togo, United Kingdom, and the United States. The representative of the European Union delegation also delivered a statement.UN and Civil Society representatives at the debate included: Special Representative Leila Zerrougui, Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Yoka Brandt, and Save the Children Associate Vice-President Gregory Ramm.
*States and representatives who referenced gender are in bold.