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In my capacity as Chairman of the Working Group of the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict, I have the honour to submit a report on the activities of the Working Group since the submission of its last report on 11 July 2008.
I should be grateful if you would have this letter and the enclosed report issued as a document of the Security Council.
1. On 26 July 2005, the Security Council adopted resolution 1612 (2005) on children and armed conflict.
2. In paragraph 8 of the resolution, the Council decided to establish a working group of the Security Council to review the reports of the mechanism referred to in paragraph 3 of the resolution, to review progress in the development and implementation of the action plans mentioned in paragraph 7 of the resolution and to consider other relevant information presented to it. The Council decided further that the working group should:
(a) Make recommendations to the Council on possible measures to promote the protection of children affected by armed conflict, including through recommendations on appropriate mandates for peacekeeping missions and recommendations with respect to the parties to the conflict;
(b) Address requests, as appropriate, to other bodies within the United Nations system for action to support implementation of the resolution in accordance with their respective mandates.
3. Pursuant to resolution 1612 (2005), the Chairman of the Working Group submitted reports to the Council on developments in relation to the Working Group for the periods from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006 (S/2006/497), from 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007 (S/2007/428) and from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008 (S/2008/455). Since the issuance of the latter report, the Working Group has held five formal meetings, on 25 July, 5 September, 14 November and 19 December 2008 and on 24 February 2009.
4. On 1 January 2009 the chairmanship of the Working Group was transferred from France to Mexico.
II. Substantive issues addressed
30. Monika Sandvik-Nylund, Advocacy and Policy Specialist of UNICEF, presented the Secretary-General’s “horizontal note”, placing particular emphasis on the situation of Sri Lanka and Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory:
(b) In Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory the rapid deterioration in the seriousness of the conflict had resulted in intolerable consequences for children. That specific issue had been addressed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict in the frame of her visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
31. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict briefed the Working Group on her visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, stressing the importance of improving the accountability process and of access for humanitarian assistance. A written report would be presented to the Human Rights Council.
Debate on children and armed conflict
32. On 29 April 2009 the Security Council held an open debate on children and armed conflict, which was chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, and attended by the Secretary-General, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, the Executive Director of UNICEF and Grace Akallo, a former child soldier from Uganda.
33. At the end of the open debate, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement on this matter (S/PRST/2009/9).