Abduction Guidance Note – World

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Abduction of children in armed conflict: new guidance offers tools to enable monitors to better address one of the most serious violations of children’s rights

New York, July 18, 2022 – In an effort to strengthen the tracking and reporting of child abductions in armed conflict, a guidance note is published by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, offering additional tools for practitioners to address this grave and complex violation of children’s rights in times of war. Since the six grave violations against children in armed conflict are intrinsically linked, children often suffer other grave violations at the time of their abduction and are recruited and used, killed, maimed or sexually abused.

In recent years, child abductions have risen sharply in situations on the children and armed conflict agenda, whether to terrorize communities, target specific groups or force the participation of children in hostilities. In response to this disturbing trend, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2225 in 2015 and formally recognized the importance of holding parties accountable for child abductions.

The guidance note was produced by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict in consultation with UNICEF, the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and the Department of Peace Operations within the framework of the Mechanism Monitoring and Reporting (MRM) Technical Reference Group.

“With a 90% increase in verified abduction incidents in 2020 and a sustained increase in 2021 to 20%, there is an urgent need to ensure that everyone working in monitoring, reporting and advocacy is equipped with tools to end and prevent the abduction of children, as requested by the Security Council. This guidance note on abduction aims to respond to this urgent need,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict, Virginia Gamba.

The countries and regions with the highest number of children abducted in 2020 and 2021 were Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Burkina Faso and the Lake Chad Basin region, affecting mainly boys but girls being increasingly targeted at an alarming rate.

The abduction of children for service in armed conflict, in violation of applicable international law, has dramatic consequences for the physical and mental well-being of children, their families and communities, with possible impacts on the contexts of long-term peace and security. Post-conflict considerations are also addressed in the guidance note, such as the suggestion to include child protection elements aimed at ending and preventing their abduction in peace processes and resulting peace agreements. , as well as ensuring long-term and appropriate reintegration. programs for liberated children.

In addition to providing specific and practical guidance to child protection staff in the field, the abduction guidance note also includes examples from the field that can help inform understanding of the grave violation, as well as as advocacy tools that can be used as part of efforts to end and prevent child abductions by parties to conflict.

“Even when released or if they manage to escape their captors, abducted children continue to face major challenges regarding their reintegration into their communities. Their needs must be met in a comprehensive and sustainable manner, and we encourage the international community to continue to support all those working on the children’s and armed conflict program on the ground and doing outstanding work for children. affected by conflict. Their job is to ensure that, wherever they are, all children who survive serious violations also have a chance to have a new life, in which they can thrive,” added Virginia Gamba.

The guidance note is officially released today at an event co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations and co-sponsored by the governments of Brazil, Canada, Kenya, Malaysia and Qatar.

For more information, please contact:

Fabienne Vinet, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

+1-212-963-5986 (office) / +1-917-288-5791 (mobile) / [email protected]

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