Chapter 1 – Mandates
To strongly encourage the inclusion of appropriate child protection provisions, including the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers, in all United Nations peacekeeping mandates, including for regional peacekeeping operations.
Why is this principle important?
UN peacekeeping operations are established by the UN Security Council, through the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR). These resolutions set out a mission’s mandate and detail the tasks that a UN peacekeeping operation will be required and authorized to perform. Therefore, the clear articulation of appropriate child protection tasks in the mandates of UN peacekeeping operations serves as a fundamental enabler to preventing and addressing the recruitment and use of child soldiers in the context of UN peacekeeping operations.
While the mandates of UN peacekeeping operations are mission specific, a series of thematic UNSCRs have empowered the UN Security Council to systematically consider certain cross-cutting themes in the development of all mission mandates. Among these, UNSCR 1612 (2005) stresses that UN peacekeeping operations are responsible to ensure a coordinated response to violations against children affected by armed conflict, and to monitor and report such violations to the UN Secretary-General.Endnote 20
The protection of children in conflict has been included in a number of peacekeeping operations mandates since 2001.Endnote 21
UN peacekeeping operations mandates that have child protection provisions, as of April 2019:
- African Union – UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID): UNSCR 1769 (2007) and 2363 (2017)
- UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO): UNSCR 1925 (2010)
- UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS): UNSCR 1996 (2011) and 2155 (2014)
- UN Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA): UNSCR 2100 (2013)
- UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA): UNSCR 2149 (2014)
How can this principle be implemented?
Members of the UN Security Council can draft and vote on mandates for UN peacekeeping operations. The UN Security Council also regularly reviews the mandates for UN peacekeeping operations and can decide to extend, amend, or end missions. As such, Members of the UN Security Council have a unique responsibility to ensure the inclusion of specific child protection provisions in new or renewed UN peacekeeping operations mandates. Non-Members of the UN Security Council also have an important role to play. They can encourage the inclusion of appropriate child protection provisions in UN mandates through: ad hoc cooperation among the UN Security Council, Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs), and the Secretariat; national statements and letters to the UN Security Council; formal demarches or informal bilateral engagements with UN Security Council members; and/or, targeted advocacy in the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34). With that in mind, all Member States – both Members and non-Members of the UN Security Council – should endeavour to support the following activities.
Advocate for the inclusion of the following elements and provisions in the mandates of UN peacekeeping operations, as set out by the UN Security Council:
- Specific and gender-sensitive child protection tasks: Member States should advocate for the inclusion of explicit tasks related to the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers in mission mandates, acknowledging that the specific functions accorded to each mission will depend on the nature of the mission and on the other child protection actors involved. Tasks may include: enhancing dialogue with perpetrators to end violations against children; identifying and securing the release of children from armed groups; ensuring children’s rights in national legislation; advocating for child protection issues within the mission; and, monitoring and reporting on violations against children. The complex dynamics of child recruitment and use in armed conflict are often gender- and context-specific and provisions in mission mandates should be sensitive to these considerations.
- References to relevant children and armed conflict (CAAC) UN Security Council resolutions, presidential statements, conclusions, and other relevant UN reports: Mission mandates should reference the UN Secretary- General’s most recent country report on CAAC, as well as the most recent country conclusions of the UN Security Council Working Group on CAAC.Endnote 22
- A call to prevent and end all grave violations against children: UNSCRs should call for the prevention of, and an end to, all violations against children – including the six grave violationsEndnote 23 – and for strict compliance by all parties with international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL). In particular, reference can be made to the Geneva Conventions (especially the Fourth Geneva Convention) and its Additional Protocols I and II; the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict; and, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Moreover, UNSCRs should include language to encourage the implementation of action plans by parties to armed conflict specifically related to preventing and ending child recruitment and use.
- A call for compliance with IHL and IHRL by peacekeepers: In authorizing a mission, the UN Security Council should call on all mission components to fully comply with relevant obligations under IHL or IHRL, including those related to the protection of children. Moreover, the UN Security Council should call on the mission components to: ensure proper training for peacekeepers in IHL and IHRL, including specific training in relation to children both before and during deployment; enforce accountability for violations of IHL and IHRL by peacekeepers; conduct after-action reviews (AARs) and investigations of any reported violations or incidents; and, adopt and implement standard operating procedures for peacekeepers encountering children associated with or separated from armed forces or armed groups.
- A call to assign Child Protection Advisors (CPAs) and Child Protection Focal Points (CPFPs): The UN Security Council should call for dedicated, specialised CPAs and CPFPs to be deployed in sufficient numbers to coordinate the mission’s child protection functions, and to encourage the mainstreaming of child protection concerns throughout the mission – with particular emphasis on preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers. Senior CPAs (SCPAs) should have direct access to senior mission leadership and serve as its principal advisor on child protection concerns. SCPAs should be supported by additional sector-level CPAs. Military and police CPFPs should be nominated from within the uniformed components that help integrate a mission’s child protection mandate into the daily activities of uniformed peacekeepers.Endnote 24
Advocate for briefings on CAAC in the UN Security Council before the drafting or renewal of a peacekeeping operation’s mandate: Members of the UN Security Council should invite the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG/CAAC) to brief the UN Security Council on country-specific situations, especially following field visits. Such briefings will help ensure that the child protection provisions in the mandates of peacekeeping operations are suited to the current country context.
Advocate for the allocation of adequate UN resources to support child protection in peacekeeping operations: The budget and resources of the mission are subject to UN General Assembly approval. All Member States, therefore, can ensure that adequate resources are provided to support these mandates through the UN General Assembly’s Administrative and Budgetary Committee (Fifth Committee) and, where appropriate, through extra-budgetary funding. Resources should be approved, in particular, for dedicated child protection positions.
Reinforce, where appropriate, these recommendations in regional or coalition peacekeeping operations mandated by the UN Security Council: UNSCRs can also shape the parameters of regional peacekeeping operations carried out under the auspices of the UN, including, but not limited to, operations undertaken by the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union (EU), and/or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In cases where the UN Security Council authorizes peacekeeping operations by regional organizations or other coalitions, relevant Member States should ensure that child protection tasks are further reinforced in the mandating and planning of those regional organizations or coalitions. In the case of the AU, this task would fall upon the members of the Peace and Security Council (PSC). In a NATO mission, this task would fall upon NATO members as represented on the North Atlantic Council.
Examples and resources
“A Checklist for Mainstreaming: Children and Armed Conflict-Friendly Security Council Resolutions”: Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict has developed a 10-point checklist to assist UN Security Council experts and others in mainstreaming the protection of children affected by armed conflict in country-specific UNSCRs. This chapter text draws heavily from the Watchlist checklist, which provides specific examples of resolution language.Endnote 25
UN peacekeeping operations mandates that have child protection provisions: The UNSCRs establishing or renewing the missions listed below each contain specific provisions regarding the inclusion of the protection of children in the mission’s mandate.
- UNAMID (Darfur): UNSCR 1769 (2007) and 2363 (2017)
- MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of Congo): UNSCR 1925 (2010)
- UNMISS (Republic of South Sudan): UNSCR 1996 (2011) and 2155 (2014)
- MINUSMA (Mali): UNSCR 2100 (2013)
- MINUSCA (Central African Republic): UNSCR 2149 (2014)
To implement this principle, Member States should undertake the following:
- Advocate for the inclusion of the following elements and provisions in the mandates of UN peacekeeping operations, as set out by the UN Security Council:
- Specific and gender-sensitive child protection tasks;
- References to relevant children and armed conflict (CAAC) UN Security Council resolutions, presidential statements, conclusions, and other relevant UN reports;
- A call to prevent and end all grave violations against children;
- A call for compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) by peacekeepers; and,
- A call to assign Child Protection Advisors (CPAs) and Child Protection Focal Points (CPFPs).
- Advocate for briefings on CAAC in the UN Security Council before the drafting or renewal of a peacekeeping operation’s mandate.
- Advocate for the allocation of adequate UN resources to support child protection in peacekeeping operations through the UN General Assembly’s Administrative and Budgetary Committee (Fifth Committee) and extra-budgetary funding, as appropriate.
- Reinforce, where appropriate, these recommendations in regional or coalition peacekeeping operations mandated by the UN Security Council.
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