The United Nations has launched a practical guidance for mediators to protect children in situations of armed conflict in New York.

The event, held at the UN Security Council chambers, was part of activities marking the 2020 International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers. Among other things, the document contains guidelines for the integration of specific child protection measures into peace processes during conflict.

In a briefing, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said children had no role in wars, yet millions of them are caught up in armed conflicts in which they are not merely bystanders, but targets.

Guterres stated that children below 18 years of age constitute more than 50 per cent of the populations of most countries affected by war. He added that children were also among the most vulnerable groups and were unable to protect themselves from the impact of conflict, adding that 250 million children lived in affected countries.

According to a 2018 report by the Secretary-General, no fewer than 12,000 children were killed or maimed in 20 conflict situations monitored around the world that year.