New trends of armed conflict make children more vulnerable: UN report

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Leila Zerrougui, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict addressing the Security Council. [UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe]

The changing nature of conflict is making children more vulnerable, according to a new report by the UN Secretary-General on armed conflict.

The report, covering the period from January to December 2012 was presented to the Security Council on Monday by Leila Zerrougui, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

Ms. Zerrougui said the reporting period has seen marked progress, especially in the dialogue with parties to the conflict, the action plan to end the use of children in armed conflict.

However, she added, disturbing new trends of armed conflict and concerns for children have also arisen.

"As new conflicts emerged or deepened in the course of the past 18 months, children continued to pay a heavy toll, perhaps the heaviest. The evolving nature and tactics of armed conflict have created unprecedented threats for children. The absence of clear frontlines and identifiable opponents and the increasing use of terror tactics have made children more vulnerable." (29")

The report of the Secretary-General also points out that, as in previous years, non-State armed groups constitute the vast majority of parties listed for using children in armed conflict, accounting for 46 of the 55 perpetrators.

It adds that half of the parties listed are so-called "persistent perpetrators” which means that they have been on the list for five years or more.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1'24"

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