UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the Security Council to impose sanctions against governments and armed groups that repeatedly recruit and use child soldiers.
In a report on Wednesday to the UN Security Council covering the period from September 2007 to December last year, Ban documented grave violations against children in 20 countries and listed 56 parties — both governments and rebel groups.
A council resolution adopted in 2005 established a group to monitor and report on countries and groups using child soldiers, abducting, killing or maiming children and attacking schools.
“Widespread and systematic rape and sexual violence against children, both girls and boys, is increasingly a characteristic of conflict, often perpetrated in a rule-of-law vacuum,” Ban said.
The 20 countries where parties recruit and use children in conflicts include Afghanistan, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, Haiti, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nepal, the Palestinian territories and Israel, the Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand and Uganda.
Ban called on the council to continue insisting that parties named in the report prepare and implement plans with timetables to halt the recruitment and use of child soldiers “and to take measures against any parties that fail to comply.”
In situations where the council does not have sanctions committees, “the Security Council is urged to consider means by which targeted measures may be applied against persistent perpetrators of grave violations against children,” Ban said.
The secretary-general also called for urgent action by governments to bring those responsible for recruiting and using children to justice and encouraged the Security Council to refer cases involving children to the International Criminal Court for investigation and prosecution.