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Protection of children in armed conflicts

31-12-1986 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 256

25th International Conference of the Red Cross, Geneva, 23 to 31 October 1986, Resolution 9

The Twenty-fifth International Conference of the Red Cross,

 recalling Resolution XIII of the Sixteenth International Conference of the Red Cross concerning the protection of women and children in armed conflicts,

 having taken note of the Final Document of the Second World Red Cross and Red Crescent Conference on Peace in Aaland and Stockholm in 1984, and of the recommendations of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Symposium, held in San Remo in 1985, on the protection of children,

 deeply concerned that in many parts of the world children continue to take a direct part in hostilities and are recruited into the armed forces,

 recalling that, in conflicts where weapons are used indiscriminately, a significant proportion of victims are innocent civilians and especially children,

 noting that children are especially vulnerable when they are separated from their families,

 recognizing that children who have been trained to hate and have participated in atrocities of war are often mentally and morally crippled for life

 stressing that the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the two Additional Protocols of 1977 accord to children special protection and treatment,

 1. requests governments and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to disseminate widely the provisions of international humanitarian law protecting children in armed conflicts, as well as publications concerning this question,

 2. recalls that, in accordance with Article 77 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, " the Parties to the conflict shall take all feasible measures in order that children who have not attained the age of fifteen years do not take a direct part in hostilities and, in particular, they shall refrain from recruiting them into their armed forces. In recruiting among those persons who have attained the age of fifteen years but who have not attained the age of eighteen years, the Parties to the conflict shall endeavour to give priority to those who are oldest " ,

 3. recalls also that, accordi ng to the Geneva Conventions and the two Additional Protocols, children under the age of 15 years who have taken direct part in hostilities and fall into the power of an adverse Party continue to benefit from special protection, whether or not they are prisoners of war,

 4. expresses its deep concern that children under the age of 15 years are trained for military combat and recommends that in all circumstances children should be educated to respect humanitarian principles,

 5. recommends that, according to the Geneva Conventions and the two Additional Protocols, all necessary measures be taken to preserve the unity of the family and to facilitate the reuniting of families,

 6. invites governments and the Movement to do their utmost to ensure that children who have taken part, directly or indirectly, in hostilities are systematically rehabilitated to normal life,

 7. expresses its support for the work of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights regarding the drafting of a Convention on the Rights of the Child and stresses that the protection accorded by the new Convention should be at least the same as that accorded by the Geneva Conventions and the two Additional Protocols.




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