Briefing on Children and Armed Conflict
Tomorrow afternoon (10 January) Council members will be briefed in consultations by the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy. This briefing is a follow-up to resolution 1998 (2011) in which the Council invited Coomaraswamy to brief it “on the modalities of the inclusion of parties” into the annexes of the Secretary-General’s reports on children and armed conflict.
In discussing how parties are included in the Secretary-General’s reports, it seems that Coomaraswamy is expected to focus on the preparation of the annual report, including a historical perspective of how the annexes came about. (Since 2002, reports of Secretary-General have contained two annexes of parties to armed conflict that recruit children: Annex I includes situations that are on the Council’s formal agenda and Annex II those that are not on the Council’s agenda.)
Coomaraswamy is also likely to talk about how information coming from the ground is processed in UN headquarters and the ways in which the Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict engages with member states. It is possible that she may also cover the related issue of sanctions.
Following Coomaraswamy’s briefing, Council members will be given the opportunity to make statements and ask more specific questions. It seems that some members may be interested in further details about the process and criteria for including parties in annexes.
This will be the first opportunity for the new Council members to express their views on the issue of children and armed conflict. This issue, which has been on the Council’s agenda since 1999, has generally seen active participation from Council members through the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, currently chaired by Germany. The Working Group meets to discuss and adopt conclusions on the Secretary-General’s country-specific reports on children and armed conflict on a frequent basis and is likely to have its first meeting in 2012 towards the end of January to discuss conclusions on Sudan.