VII. Gender awareness and Cross Cutting Topics (CCT)
7.4. Children and armed conflict
Children are involved in and affected by conflict in different ways, they are always victims and need to be protected, even when they may be perpetrators of crimes.
In order to advance the goal of protecting children during armed conflict and ending the impunity of perpetrators, the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1612 identifies six categories of violations – the so-called six grave violations, and are the basis of evidence-gathering. These violations are: Killing and maiming of children; Abduction of children; Recruitment or use of children; Rape or other grave Sexual violence; Attacks on schools and hospitals; Denial of humanitarian access.
In many conflicts children recruited by armed groups take direct part in combat. However, their role is often not limited to fighting. Many girls and boys are also used in support functions that also entail great risk and hardship. Their tasks can vary, from combatants to cooks, spies, messengers and even sex slaves. Moreover, the use of children for acts of terror, including as suicide bombers, has emerged as a phenomenon of modern warfare.
For more details see the Factsheet.