|Children in Armed Conflicts (Item 10 of the Draft Agenda) (International Committee of the Red Cross , 1995, 20 p.)|
The protection of children in armed conflict is a matter of deep concern for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and has been the subject of many debates at several International Conferences and meetings of the Council of Delegates. Particular stress had been placed upon the very serious issue of the participation of children in hostilities and the physical and psycho-social consequences for the child itself, the family and the community.
In Budapest in November 1991, the Council of Delegates adopted Resolution 14 entitled Child Soldiers. The text called for a study on the recruitment and participation of children as soldiers and for measures to be taken to reduce and even to eliminate such practices. The study was prepared under the auspices of the Henry Dunant Institute and published under the title Child Soldiers 1. It contains a wealth of accounts gathered during different armed conflicts and recommends concrete measures to ensure effective protection of children involved in such situations.
1 Child Soldiers by Ilene Cohn and Guy Goodwin-Gill: A study for the Henry Dunant Institute. Geneva. Published by Clarendon Press. Oxford, 1994,228 pages.
On the basis of the recommendations proposed in the study, the Council of Delegates adopted Resolution N° 4 at its meeting in Birmingham in October 1993. The Resolution called on all the components of the Movement to come to the assistance of children exposed to conflicts and to this end, urged them, in particular, to present and disseminate Child-Soldiers (doc. CD 93/4.4/1). In order to implement the recommendations proposed in the study, the resolution invited the ICRC and the International Federation, in co-operation with the Henry-Dunant Institute to elaborate and launch a Plan of Action for the Movement to promote the principle of non-recruitment and non-participation of children under 18 years of age in armed conflicts and to take concrete action to protect and assist child victims of armed conflicts.
This report refers to steps taken by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to implement Resolution N° 4 (Birmingham 1993). It then introduces the Plan of Actin for the Movement prepared under the auspices of the Henry Dunant Institute.