The Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for the Children in Armed Conflict (SRSG CAAC) reports that there are around 250 million children living in a conflict-affected nations. The report of the past ten years reveals that there are more than 170,000 grave violations verified by the United Nations.
These millions of children are deprived of their childhood and basic human rights. Despite the protection that should be afforded to them by international law, conflict places them in situations of extreme vulnerability and risks. All too often, they are drawn into hostilities, either directly as child soldiers or indirectly by being forcibly displaced, detained, killed, maimed, abducted, injured, or exploited. As a result of poverty, discrimination, or avenging past sufferings, children of any age and sex are recruited by governmental forces, paramilitaries, or rebels.
We believe and defend that children in conflict situations should enjoy full protection and realisation of their human rights in compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols (particularly the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (2002) and other relevant international standards and be enabled to develop their potentials as fully-fledged responsible members of society, especially with a view to being actors of change and peace during and post-conflict.
Despite several decades of international attention on this issue and admittedly some progress, children continue to be subjected to the scourge of conflict in general. With the increase of conflicts nationally and across borders in many parts of the world, DCI reaffirms its commitment to advocate for the respect of the standarts by international law to protect children from the devastating impact of armed conflicts.
Defence for Children International and its National Sections have been most active in Central African Republic to support survivors of rapes, and demobilize and reintegrate child soldiers involved in the conflict-affected regions of Bouca and Kaga-Bandoro, in Colombia, where the rates of recruitment of children are increasing despite the peace agreements made, in Yemen, a living hell for children with the ongoing political crisis since 2011, and in Palestine, where children are brutally detained, killed and maimed in the Palestine-Israeli conflict.
In addition, DCI partnered with nongovernmental organisations like Child Rights Connect to found the Child Rights Connect Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, and was elected its co-convener in 2017 with War Child Holland, and convener as of 2020. DCI is also an associated member of the Watchlist on Children Affected by Armed Conflict.
Children in War 2022 Report
This report recounts the experiences of children in armed conflict, offering insights to their aspirations for their futures, the child rights violations committed during armed conflicts, and ensuring accountability for children in armed conflict through increased youth participation.
The report encourages states, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), UN agencies and all stakeholders to continue to advocate for increased child and youth participation in inter-governmental spaces, including the UN system, and for the ongoing engagement and mobilisation of children everywhere as key partners in putting an end to all forms of violence.