UN backs shaming of those who use child soldiers

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Child soldiers

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday backed a resolution calling for the naming and shaming of governments and armed groups that recruit, kill or sexually attack children in armed conflicts. The resolution calling for continued annual reports by the secretary-general identifying those countries and groups that victimize youngsters was approved by a vote of 11-0.

Russia, China, Pakistan and Azerbaijan all abstained, arguing the issue was beyond the scope of security council’s mandate.

The secretary-general’s latest report in June included Syrian government forces and their allied “shabiha” militias on a list of 52 governments and armed groups that recruit, kill or sexually attack children in armed conflicts. It includes 32 “persistent perpetrators” that have been on the list for at least five years, including the security forces of seven countries.

The resolution calls on member states to bring those responsible for such violations to justice, either through national or international judicial systems.

The Security Council also indicate its readiness to adopt “targeted and graduated measures” – a phrase that implies sanctions – against persistent perpetrators.

Leila Zerrougui, the new U.N. special representative for children and armed conflict,  urged the council to take action against persistent perpetrators saying “the cost of inaction has become too high.”

A resolution adopted by the U.N. Security Council in 2005 took the first major step to prevent the victimization of young people in war zones by addressing the exploitation of children as combatants and identifying governments and armed groups that recruit child soldiers. In 2009, the council voted to also name and shame countries and insurgent groups engaged in conflicts that lead to children being killed, maimed and raped.

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