Human Rights Council Urges Protection of Children's Health during Armed Conflict

04/01/2013
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At the twenty-second session of the Human Rights Council in March, the council passed a resolution on children and the right to health (Rights of the child: the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health). In a section on “Health issues relating to children requiring special attention,” the council included language on children affected by armed conflicts. Paragraphs 25 and 27 are of particular interest to the work of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition:

The Human Rights Council:

    25.    Calls upon all States and other parties to armed conflict to respect fully international humanitarian law and condemns in the strongest terms all violations of applicable international law committed against children in armed conflict including recruitment and use of children, killing or maiming, rape or other sexual violence, abduction, attacks against schools and hospitals, denial of humanitarian access and the forced displacement of children and their families, and urges all parties to armed conflict to end all violations that affect their physical and psychological wellbeing, and to seek to end impunity for perpetrators by ensuring rigorous investigation and prosecution of crimes committed taking into account transitional justice measures;

    27.    Calls on parties to armed conflict to refrain from actions that impede children’s access to health services, and in this regard calls upon such parties to refrain from attacking hospitals and other medical facilities, as well as medical personnel and the transport of medical supplies, including through physical attacks, abductions and looting. Also calls upon parties to armed conflict to respect the prohibition under international humanitarian law of attacks on schools and hospitals and to facilitate humanitarian access to children in conflict- affected areas;