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CHILD Protection & Child Rights » VII. International Mechanisms » United Nations» Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflicts


In 1996, Ms. Gra�a Machel, an independent expert appointed by the Secretary-General, submitted a report to the General Assembly called 'Impact of Armed Conflict on Children'. This report was popularly called the Machel report and was the basis of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and armed conflicts. In December of that year the General Assembly through resolution 51/77 established the office of the Special Representative. The post is elected for a term of three years.

The mission of the Special Representative is "to promote and protect the rights of all children affected by armed conflict". The position serves as an advocate for children in conflict zones. The objectives of the office are:

  • To support global initiatives to end grave violations
  • To promote rights-based protection for children affected by armed conflict
  • To make children and armed conflict concerns an integral aspect of peacekeeping and peace building
  • To identify new trends and strategies for the protection of children through research
  • To secure political and diplomatic engagement on CAAC initiatives
  • To raise global awareness with regard to all issues relating to children and armed conflict.

These objectives can be realised with the help of governments, other UN bodies and NGOs by monitoring and reporting, advocacy, research and working in partnership, coordination and mainstreaming of information.

The current Special Representative, Radhika Coomaraswamy of Sri Lanka, was appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in April 2006. She was reappointed by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in February 2007. Ms. Coomaraswamy is a lawyer by profession and formerly the Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission. She is internationally known human rights advocate who was the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women from 1994 to 2003. She was on the faculty of the New York University School of Law.

Previous Special Representatives are Olara A. Otunnu (1998-2005) and Karin Sham Poo (interim).


Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
United Nations S-3161
New York, NY 10017
Tel: +1 212-963-3178
Fax: +1 212-963-0807