The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday declared that schools and hospitals should be declared as off-limit areas for both the armed groups and the military activities. And a resolution was passed in respect of this particular agenda which culminated into the accused in such cases to be held accountable and placed in the Secretary General’s annual list of those committing grave crimes and violations against children.
While adopting the resolution 1198(2011) the council expressed concerns regarding the grave crimes which children are subjected to and particularly the attacks on schools and hospitals.
The list of the Secretary General is approximated to already consist of the groups which recruit children into armed forces, kill or maim children or commit sexual offenses against them.
The adoption of the resolution is seen as a significant move in the protection of children against offenses performed by armed groups or military. Quoting Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “Places of learning and places of healing should never be the places of war.” The Council makes it clear that it views the crimes done by armed groups or military personnel viz-a-viz children as a serious peace and security issue and cautions/warns the international community to refrain from doing such act.
Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF, explained that the occurrences of children being kidnapped and forced to fight in wars they didn’t have any connection to or subjected to sexual offenses by armed soldiers were being continuously repeated all around the world.
The painful scenario of classrooms being used as barracks, playgrounds being converted into graveyards and schools and hospitals being bombed were taking into cognizance and discussed into with regard to the resolution.
But many speakers and officials felt and expressed the fact that only jotting down and reporting the names of the accused groups would not be so helpful in removing such offenses against the innocent children; but a more definite and concrete steps need to be measured and implemented with a firm hand.
Speakers participating were representatives of the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Russian Federation, Lebanon, France, Nigeria, Gabon, India, China, Italy, Mexico, Canada (on behalf of the Group of Friends of Children and Armed Conflict), Slovenia, New Zealand, Switzerland (on behalf of the Human Security Network), Iraq, Japan, Luxembourg, Peru, Pakistan, Thailand, Hungary, European Union, Australia, Finland (also on behalf of Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), Liechtenstein, Belgium, Israel, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Austria, Ukraine, Chile, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Korea, Armenia and Benin.
REPORT BY BIKRAM SINGH RANA