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

In: The International Journal of Children's Rights
Sarah M. Field Human Rights Lawyer/Advocate LL.B. (Trinity College Dublin), Ph.D. (University College Cork),

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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.

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