Secretary-General: Security Council Should Expand Report Framework to Include Sexual Violence Against Children
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 2:22 PM

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the UN Security Council to take steps against State and non-State parties that recruit child soldiers and kill, rape, maim and abduct children in armed conflict. The Secretary-General’s appeal came at an open meeting of the Council, and reaffirmed the recommendations of the latest Annual Report to the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict (A/63/785–S/2009/158). The report names 56 parties in 20 countries that engage in recruitment of child soldiers and other grave violations against children, including attacks on schools and hospitals.

Specifically, the report recommends that the Security Council expand its reporting and protection framework to include the perpetration of rape and sexual violence against children. Currently, only the recruitment and use of child soldiers is included in the framework. Additionally, the Secretary-General’s report identified 19 persistent violators, both government and rebel groups. “I urge the council to consider action to strike a blow against this impunity, and stop the violators from continuing to victimize children,” Ban stated. 

Grace Akallo, a 29-year-old Ugandan, spoke of her abduction and rape by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. She told the Security Council she was speaking “on behalf of all the children in armed conflict who have to face and survive the atrocities of war, who suffer through the abuses of being used as child soldiers and raped and sexually abused.” In 1996 she was abducted at gunpoint from her high school in Aboke, Uganda. Not only was she forced into battle against the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, she was turned over to rebel commanders and repeatedly raped.  Girls who tried to escape or fight back were killed. After seven months in captivity, Akallo escaped during an attack by the Sudanese rebels, and was rescued by villagers. She is now attending graduate school in international development at Clark University in Massachusetts. Ban Ki-moon supported Akallo’s appeal to the Security Council, saying, “You must respond to her courage and resilience with action.”

According to UNESCO, the number of attacks on schools, teachers, and students increased sixfold between 2003 and 2006.  Human Rights Watch has also called upon the Security Council to adopt stronger action to stop sexual violence against children and attacks affecting education. 

Compiled from:  Edith M. Lederer, Former child soldier urges UN action, Associated Press (April 29, 2009);  Open Debate of the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict (29 April 2009)Annual Report to the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict, April 22, 2009, ReliefWeb;  UN:  Punish Abuse of Children in War, April 28, 2009, Human Rights Watch.