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Responsibility to protect: prioritizing children and young people - Report of the Secretary-General (A/76/844-S/2022/428) [EN/AR/RU/ZH]

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General Assembly
Seventy-sixth session

Security Council
Seventy-seventh year

Agenda items 15, 119 and 134
Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up
to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and
summits in the economic, social and related fields
Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit
The responsibility to protect and the prevention of genocide,
war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity


The present report serves to highlight the special needs of children and young people in contexts of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and the extent to which they are targeted and affected by those crimes, albeit differently in both armed conflict and non-armed-conflict situations.

In the report, the Secretary-General encourages Governments to prioritize the protection of children and young people from atrocity crimes as a whole-of government imperative. He reaffirms that prevention is the most important part of the responsibility to protect populations from atrocity crimes and that this means building societies in which atrocity crimes are unlikely to occur. To that end, he encourages national Governments and those supporting them to address the risk of atrocity crimes by identifying and responding to early warnings; honouring legal commitments relevant to the protection of children and young people; promoting socioeconomic inclusion and equality; addressing identity-based intolerance and hate speech; leveraging the education sector to promote tolerance, respect for diversity and social cohesion; pursuing accountability for atrocities against children and young people; and putting children and young people at the centre of atrocity prevention efforts, including by respecting principles relating to child rights and by leveraging the capacities of children and young people.

The Secretary-General also stresses that, in implementing the above priorities, national Governments will require the engagement and support of civil society and other non-Government actors; multilateral and bilateral State and institutional partners; data regarding situation-specific risk factors, lessons learned and good practices in atrocity prevention globally; and related United Nations mandates, programmes and initiatives, including the children and armed conflict agenda, the youth, peace and security agenda and the sustainable development agenda.