Last Friday Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued his annual report to the UN Security Council took a historic step as for the first time it included a list of violators who use child soldiers. The countries which included Somalia’s transitional government; Congo’s armed forces; Myanmar’s army; and rebel groups in Congo; Myanmar; the Philippines, Colombia; Sudan; and Uganda, have all been under close observation for at least five years. In the report Ban also named for the first time it names seven countries or groups that commit rape and sexual violence against youngsters — six in Congo and Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army, which is notorious for kidnapping children and using them as fighters and sex slaves. Added to the list for recruiting children this year were, the Afghan National Police, the Central African Republic’s rebel Committee of Patriots for Justice and Peace, and Somalia’s Hizbul Islam. Burundi’s National Liberation Force (Palipehutu-FNL), was removed from the list after verifications by the UN that all children have now been released and reunited with their families.
“We still live in a world with those who would use children as spies, soldiers and human shields,” Radhika Coomaraswamy, the U.N. special representative for children in armed conflict, said in a statement. “The shifting nature of conflict has put many children on the front lines. Too often children become collateral damage during military operations.” AP
The report to the council directly asked them to seek stronger measures against those countries and groups that continue to violate children’s rights at such grave levels, urging them to see that violators face harsher punishments.