UN Security Council Resolutions Concerning Children Affected by Armed Conflict: In Whose ‘Best Interest’?

In: The International Journal of Children's Rights
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  • 1 (University College Cork)

The agreement by the Security Council to adopt thematic resolutions on children is a powerful expression of our collective commitment to children and their rights: specifically to ensuring children’s right to protection from serious violations of international law. Still history is replete with examples of protectionism by powerful decision-makers; not all follow a rights-based approach as entrenched within international human rights law. The objective of this paper is to investigate the decision-making processes and related outcomes of the Security Council from the perspective of international law. At the core of this investigation is an analysis of two interconnected dynamics: first the extent to which the Council is bound – under the Charter of the United Nations – by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); and second the extent to which the Council is in compliance with these obligations. This includes de-constructing the resolutions from the perspective of the procedural right of the best interests of the child and also assessing the outcomes with reference to the Council’s primary responsibility – the maintenance of peace and security. Attentive to the normative power of the Security Council’s decisions and recommendations, the paper cuts deeper to investigate: (i) the legal effects of the resolutions for the development international law relating to children and (ii) the consequences for children’s right to protection from serious violations of international law – present and future.

  • 24)

     See Human Rights Committee, ‘Non-discrimination’ General Comment 18 (11 October 1989) U.N. Doc., para. 5; Human Rights Committee ‘Implementation at national level’ General Comment 3 (29 July 1981) U.N. Doc. para 1; and Human Rights Committee ‘The nature of the general legal obligation’ General Comment No. 31 (29 March 2004) U.N. Doc., para. 6 and 7. See also G. Van Bueren, The International Law on the Rights of the Child, (Leiden: Martinus Nijhuff Publishers, 1995), 391.

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  • 32)

    I. Brownlie, Principles of public international law (Seventh edition) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 4, 691, 692. See generally D. Shelton, ‘Introduction, Law: non-law and the problem of ‘soft law” D. Shelton (ed.) Commitment and compliance: the role non-binding norms in the international legal system (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 1.

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  • 99)

    Hammarberg, ibid, 6-9. Also see P. Alston ‘The legal framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child’ Bulletin of human rights: the rights of the child 91/2 (New York: United Nations, 1992), 7.

  • 110)

     See above, p. 12-13. There are extensive references to this rule of humanitarian law within the eighth resolution. See, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1998 (12 July 2011) UN Doc. S/RES/1998 (2011), preamble, paras. 1 and 3.

  • 145)

     See above, p. 17-20.

  • 146)

     See above, p. 2-4.

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