UN Event : Strengthening International Accountability regarding Violence against Children in Armed Conflict

UN Event : Strengthening International Accountability regarding Violence against Children in Armed Conflict


During the 55th Session of the UN Human Rights Council Defence for Children International will organise a side event on 15 March 2024 at 10:00 – 11:00 AM CET in Room XXV, Palais des Nations and online.

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Over 440 million children live in conflict affected situations. Indeed over 27,100 grave violations against them were verified by the UN in 2022 alone. New and evolving conflict dynamics demonstrate the constant vulnerability of children in war, despite existing legal instruments, mandates and accountability mechanisms.


Children caught in the midst of armed conflicts face unimaginable hardships. They often become victims of grave violations against their rights. The international community recognises six particularly egregious violations against children in armed conflict, as enumerated by the Security Council in its resolutions:

  • the recruitment and use of children
  • the killing and maiming of children
  • rape and other forms of sexual violence against children
  • the abduction of children
  • attacks on schools and hospitals
  • denial of humanitarian access to children

Despite international efforts in ending and preventing them, these violations persist in various conflict zones. It necessitates a renewed commitment to accountability and justice. This side event aims to explore international accountability mechanisms, particularly within the UN framework, to address these violations.


By convening this side event, we aim to strengthen the global commitment to protecting children affected by armed conflict and ensure that those responsible for grave violations are held accountable for their actions. The discussions will contribute to shaping a more comprehensive and effective international response to this critical issue. This event seeks to foster a collaborative dialogue among stakeholders to enhance international accountability and ensure the protection of children in armed conflict.




  1. International Legal Framework: Analyse the existing international legal framework, including UN resolutions and conventions, aimed at preventing and addressing the six grave violations against children in armed conflict.
  2. Share Best Practices: Showcase successful initiatives and practices that have led to increased accountability and protection for children in conflict zones.
  3. Address Challenges: Identify and analyse the challenges to accountability efforts, including gaps in legal frameworks, lack of resources, and obstacles to cooperation.
  4. Promote Collaboration: Facilitate dialogue among stakeholders, including governments, international organisations, civil society, and affected communities, to foster collaboration in addressing and preventing these violations.
  5. Propose Solutions: Encourage the development of concrete and actionable recommendations to strengthen accountability mechanisms, improve preventive measures, and enhance support for affected children.


Discussion Panel:


H.E. Amb. Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve Opening Remarks by the Group of Friends on Children and Armed Conflict.

  • Prof. Virginia Gamba, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict
  • Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children
  • Aurélie Lamazière, Senior Programme Manager, Save the Children
  • Prof. Ann Skelton, Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
  • Khaled Quzmar, DCI President

This side event is organised with the support the Geneva Group of Friends on Children and Armed Conflict* and of the NGO Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

* Group of Friends on CAAC : Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Uruguay.


To attend this event in person (if you do not have a UN badge), we kindly invite you to: