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Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – January 2021

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Recommendations to the Security Council

LIBYA

Libya is a situation of concern in the Secretary-General's (SG) 2020 annual report on children and armed conflict (CAAC). In January, the SG is expected to report on UNSMIL, pursuant to SCR 2542 (2020), which expanded UNSMIL's child protection mandate. A nationwide ceasefire agreement was signed by the warring parties on October 23 following UN-facilitated talks. The Council has called on the parties to abide by their commitments and implement the agreement in full. Briefing the Council in November, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda called for a recommitment to bring perpetrators of the worst atrocity crimes to justice. According to the SG's latest report on Libya (S/2020/876), migrants and refugees remain vulnerable to grave human rights violations, including child rights violations, in detention centers, with COVID-19 further exacerbating risks. Between March and September 2020, nearly 500 children intercepted at sea and returned to Libya were sent to detention centers, according to data from the International Rescue Committee. The COVID-19 pandemic has also severely impacted child immunization schedules, with UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) warning that severe vaccine shortages have left 250,000 children at risk of illness or death from preventable diseases. On December 2, a 16-year-old boy was killed, and two other children were injured, in an attack as they left their school in the city of Al Ajaylat. The Security Council should:

  • Reiterate its call for parties to abide by their ceasefire commitments and fully implement the agreement, and call on all parties to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL);
  • Urge all parties to allow full, safe, and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance and health services to children and other civilians in need;
  • Call on the Government to end arbitrary detention of migrants and refugees, in particular children; to release those unlawfully deprived of their liberty; and to put in place measures to prevent torture or other ill-treatment in detention;
  • Call for allocation of adequate resources to allow UNSMIL to fully deliver on its child protection mandate, including through the urgent deployment of a Child Protection Adviser, per SCR 2542 (2020);
  • Call for the protection, rights, well-being, and empowerment of children affected by armed conflict to be fully incorporated and prioritized in ongoing and future efforts to build and sustain peace; and encourage and facilitate consideration of children's views in these processes where possible and compatible with the best interests of the child, pursuant to SCR 2427 (2018) and drawing on the 2020 Practical Guidance for Mediators.