|Children in Armed Conflicts (Item 10 of the Draft Agenda) (International Committee of the Red Cross , 1995, 20 p.)|
At the 49th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (1994), the ICRC intervened on 11 November on Item 101 regarding the promotion and the protection of childrens rights. In addition to reviewing the tragic fate of children caught in armed conflicts, the ICRC seized the opportunity to make an appeal for a better respect of the rules of international humanitarian law protecting children in these circumstances. The ICRC also reiterated its support for ongoing efforts to increase the protection these children already have, in particular through an international instrument increasing to 18 years the age limit for the recruitment and participation of children in hostilities.
The International Federation as well, intervened on the same Item to point out the importance not only of the protection of childrens rights but also of measures for assistance and especially rehabilitation. Rehabilitation programmes should highlight the role of families and the community and avoid the isolation of these children as a way of preventing their stigmatization. The International Federation has reiterated its support for the improvement of the situation of child soldiers and has shown heightened interest in contributing through its own action and that of its National Societies to the promotion of the physical and psychological recovery of the children as well as their social integration.
The Committee and the Federation participated as observers in the work of the Commission on Human Rights and intervened along the same lines when the subject was discussed under Item 24: Rights of the Child, in March 1995.
The ICRC and the International Federation also launched an appeal calling for concrete action in the field of education, health and covering the needs of abandoned children as preventive measures that would lead to a true respect of child welfare laws.
Resolution 48/157 (1993) of the UN General Assembly initiated a study on the impact of armed conflicts on children. This was an important step in the promotion of childrens rights as it will doubtlessly contribute to search for real solutions to the problems faced by children in such situations. The importance of the work already carried by the Movement in this field was also stressed notably with the study entitled Child Soldiers which could serve as a tool for the broader enterprise planned by the United Nations. Both the ICRC and International Federation were active in the preparatory meetings for this study and their participation will continue with the limitations of the mandates of the institutions.