Protection of Children in Armed Conflicts in the Light of International Documents

02 January 2024 | 15:52 Code : 2023920 General category
Sattar Azizi, MohammadMehdi Seyed Nasseri
Protection of Children in Armed Conflicts in the Light of International Documents

(Image source: The New Arab)

Peace and tranquility is the wish of all nations, however, every day in a corner of the world, we witness a new war and conflict. Regardless of the reason for the start or continuation of these conflicts, groups that have the least means of protecting themselves are involved in them. The main and most vulnerable of these groups are children. In fact, what burns in the fire of war is the image of the happy childhood days of children, whose ashes leave serious and lasting physical and mental injuries for them. In the past two years, the situation of children in occupied Palestine, East Jerusalem, Ukraine and Sudan has been very dangerous. For this reason, in its latest report in January (2023) titled Children's Rights Perspective in )2023(, UNICEF declared war and conflict as one of the most important challenges and crises in children's lives.This report states that the year (2022) has been extremely difficult for people around the world, especially children. The human race, especially children, have faced a series of major crises, including the continuation of the covid-19, the great war in Europe, the energy crisis, the increase in inflation and food insecurity. As the Convention on the rights of the child states in its Article 1: "For the purposes of this Convention, a child means a human being under the age of )18(, unless it is determined to be less than the age of puberty according to the applicable law." After this reminder, it is necessary to refer to the definition of humanitarian rights, which means "rules creating rights and duties that will be enforced during the conflict and in any place where there is a conflict".

Protecting children in armed conflicts is a reality that the world community has put its stamp on today confirmed. The need for all-round support for this vulnerable group has been discussed by the sstates Provide valuable documents in the international and regional scene. During a blur in many of different regions of the world have different regulations on the protection of children in armed conflict. However, due to the lack of binding regulations, the need to compile international documents. Protecting children in conflicts has always been felt.

At the international level, we see the drafting of conventions to protect children in There have been armed conflicts. Among these conventions, we can refer to the Geneva convention support for civilians during war, (1949) Protocols I and II additional to the Geneva Conventions on the protection of victims of international armed conflicts international, (1977), Convention on the Rights of the Child, (1989), Statute of the International Criminal Court, (1998) Convention No.182 of the International Labor Organization, (1999) and the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (2000).

These treaties contain There are many rules to protect children, we refer to some of these rules: Civilians should never be attacked, they should be respected and protected They should always be treated with humanity (4th Geneva Convention 1942), determining the age of conscription, protecting children against disrespectful attacks, respecting children and providing assistance and Cares on the part of the parties to the conflict, non-participation of children under (15) years of age in the conflicts armed, the need to keep and separate children from adults in case of capture, prohibition execution of children under (18( years of age (Protocol additional to the Geneva conventions of 12 August (1949), and relating to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts (Protocol 1), no direct and indirect participation of children in armed conflicts (second additional protocol to Four Geneva conventions, prohibiting the employment of people under 15 years of age in the armed forces (Convention on the Rights of the Child approved 1989), compulsory or voluntary mobilization of children under (15) years of age in armed forces or their employment for active participation in international armed conflicts and It is a non-international war crime and subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (Statute).

International Criminal Court (ICC), employment and forced use of children in armed conflicts The title of one of the worst forms of child labor (Convention 182 of the International Labor Organization) and Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (2000), which contains relatively better rules compared to other documents. is international, this protocol, which includes an introduction and (13) articles, prohibits mandatory employment of persons under (18) years of age in the military forces and their direct participation in conflicts indicate that the summary of its articles is as follows: In Article 1 of the Protocol, member states are required to directly protect persons under (18) years of age in armed conflict , do not participate and Article (2) refers to the prohibition of forced employment of persons under (18). This is the first It is a time that an international document prohibits the employment of persons under the age of (18) in military forces were mentioned, that's why it seems that the provisions of this protocol are relative to other international conventions to be more complete in this regard.

At the regional level, the situation is very different. in the European continent due to the expansion of organizations international non-governmental and other humanitarian organizations as well as the integration of this continent in the form The European Union and the Council of Europe are witnessing progress in the field of human rights and humanitarian rights. At In this continent, both the Council of Europe and the European Union have taken several actions in the field of children's rights have carried out armed conflicts; In this context, we can refer to the European Convention Implementation of children's rights approved by the Council of Europe, Resolution 1215 approved by the Assembly of Councils Europe in the year 2000, the European Charter of Children's Rights approved by the European Parliament, the resolution of the European Parliament in The case of child soldiers, (1998), Berlin statement on the use of children as soldiers, (1999) and in particular, the European Union directive on children and armed conflicts was mentioned.

In the Americas, there are several documents regarding the protection of children in Aarmed conflicts. Among the documents available in this continent, we can find

Montevideo Declaration on the Use of Children as Soldiers in Latin America and the Caribbean region, resolution Children and armed conflicts issued by the Organization of American States in (2000) and other human rights documents supporting the rights of children in armed conflicts such as the Convention American Human Rights (1969) names.

In the continent of Asia, as mentioned, due to the lack of cultural uniformity and integration, States have not been able to formulate conventions related to rights in a coherent and systematic way human and humanitarian rights. However, among the important documents in this continent can be Kathmandu Declaration on the Use of Children as Soldiers (2000) in the Asia Region Pacific, and Aman's statement regarding the use of children as soldiers (2001) in the region Middle East and North Africa, pointed out. But in Africa, the situation is much different than other continents. black continent because of presence the colonialists during the industrial and socio-economic backwardness, poverty, and famine. could not achieve political stability. These factors repeatedly cause civil wars international, especially at the instigation and with the help of foreign powers, in this continent. many times It has been seen that during these wars, children were abused and used as soldiers have used for these reasons, this continent is much more active than other continents in terms of support children have taken steps in armed conflicts and despite repeated complaints of humanitarian rights children's rights in armed conflicts of this continent, Africa has the most advanced regional system In the field of children's rights, among the valuable documents of this continent, we can refer to The African Charter On The Rights And Welfare Of The Child (1990) - that even by some governments that are the other side of human rights documents and are not humanitarian related, approved - Resolution 1659 (LXIV) about the situation African children in situations of armed conflict approved by the Council of Ministers of the African Union, and The African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention)(2009). With regard to numerous international and regional documents and the special attention of States and organizations global and regional and the rapid progress of human rights and philanthropy and monitoring institutions

The implementation of these rights as well as the sensitivity and awareness of public opinion towards rights children in armed conflicts and the awakening of global conscience, it seems that rights should be consider the child in armed conflicts as one of the certain and obvious rights accepted by the international community.

And let's accept that children's rights have been generally accepted in this area and entered the field of international law. It has become normal, although we have to admit that children still need as much support as possible the international community is against armed conflicts; What about the international level?

A separate convention in this regard, whether at the regional level, especially in the Asian continent Recently, witnessing wars and internal conflicts, foreign aggressions, and many instabilities, especially in Middle East and South Asia region. Right now, the situation of Ukrainian, sudanese and Palestinian children in the recent conflicts in (2022) and (2023) is a bitter and shocking story that requires serious action by the governments of the conflicting parties and the international community, especially the United Nations. These are the children of today, whose war threatens all aspects of their lives, and we adults must think more about our mission towards them and find solutions. The United Nations children's Fund (UNICEF) in its December )2022( report entitled "Review of humanitarian action for children in )2023(" notes that children are the hope of the world's future and together we can create a better future for every child who is in conflict and crisis. Let's build life. Hoping for more support for these hopes tomorrow. Let's remember that childhood is not a dream and children have rights.


* Sattar Azizi is Prof. Of International law in Bu-Ali Sina University, Tehran, Iran. MohammadMehdi Seyed Nasseri is Children's rights researcher.

tags: Israel-Palestine conflict human rights

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