Variations in Reporting on Children and Armed Conflict


The UNSG’s annual report on children and armed conflict and its “Annex” lists the world’s grave violators of children’s rights – resulting in a formal UNICEF-led mechanism, known as an MRM. In countries noted in the body of the SG’s report but not included on the Annex, UNICEF operates a “Working Group.” In both cases, UNICEF extensively relies on local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as implementing partners to monitor and report on the situation of children in armed conflict. However, this reliance may not be in the best interest of children and can result in one-sided political advocacy that does not serve the purposes for which the MRM and Working Group frameworks were established. This paper will shed initial light on the question of why variations in reporting on children in armed conflict exist despite well-established frameworks. In order to analyze this question, the paper compares UNICEF-Afghanistan and UNICEF-oPt and the organizations’ reporting on the grave violation of “recruitment and use” of children.  


The impact of conflict on the lives of children is recognized globally and is given high priority by the international community, with international organizations and formal mechanisms established to protect children in armed conflict. These frameworks, in theory, are applied in all conflicts around the world in a highly structured manner. However, scholars have recognized that these international frameworks are subject to the self-interests of states and bureaucratic factors. Adding to this is the growing debate on the self-interests of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), however there are still significant gaps in our understanding of how the NGO space varies across conflict zones and the implications of this variation.

The international framework dedicated to the protection of children, known as “Children and Armed Conflict,” defines six categories of what it labels as “grave violations” that occur to minors in conflict zones.1 The international community, via UNICEF, is tasked with monitoring and reporting on such violations, and taking action when they occur on a systematic and widespread scale. Recruitment and use of children as soldiers is particularly significant among the six violations as almost all armed groups condemned by the international community are guilty of this heinous crime.2 Given the crucial importance of this particular grave violations, and the role NGOs play in attempting to combat it, this paper seeks to explore the role of NGOs in accurate reporting on children in armed conflict, while specifically considering this grave violation of recruitment and use. The question considered is therefore why variations in reporting on children in armed conflict exist despite well-established international frameworks with the following two hypotheses being explored through a comparative case study:

  • Hypothesis 1: An increased reliance on NGOs will lead to more accurate reporting on recruitment and use of children.
  • Hypothesis 2: An increased reliance on NGOs will lead to more reporting on recruitment and use of children.

The paper is structured as follows. First, I give a brief overview of the debate surrounding the UN and NGOs. I then provide a structural overview of the children and armed conflict framework, specifically looking at the various actors that fit into this structure and their influence. This paper, therefore, takes a more “agent” centric approach while also acknowledging various structural elements and their constraints. Third, I will utilize a qualitative comparative case study to analyze and compare UNICEF-Afghanistan’s monitoring and reporting on “recruitment and use” of children as soldiers to that of UNICEF-oPt (UNICEF’s branch in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza). This case comparison will shed light on the structural similarities and practical differences in data collection and reporting in two different conflict zones with various high and low points of violence in the Middle East. It is, however, important to note that a number of constraints – namely, the limited scope of the paper in only considering a single grave violation and that the Arab-Israeli conflict is often found to be an “outlier” in many academic studies – limit these findings to a preliminary and illustrative analysis that warrants further research. Furthermore, the analysis of accuracy in monitoring poses a challenging conundrum – namely, UNICEF’s alleged failure to monitor and report on certain violations would result in there being limited data on these apparent violations. I therefore utilize a number of news articles to fill this void when necessary, but it is important to acknowledge the bias that these articles each suffer from.

Literature Review

Wendt explains one of the most fundamental debates in international relations theory – the tension that exists between “human agents” and “structures” and the need to instead look at the relationship between the two to understand international relations.3 Indeed, attempting to understand the UN and its various agencies from purely a structural standpoint poses significant challenges, as the individual actors affecting the decisions are left out of the analysis. As such, Barnett and Finnemore treat international organizations as autonomous actors (agents) that exhibit certain bureaucratic behavior and create their own classification of actors and action. They explain that since international organizations are bureaucratic, they can suffer from standard problems such as issues related to accountability and inefficiencies.4 A number of scholars have further specified this analysis, and look at the UN and its strengths and weaknesses in achieving its mandates. Forsythe, for example, argues that national interest dictates states’ involvement in human rights related issues and that NGOs exert their agency by pushing states to pay attention to international norms.5 Delbruck emphasizes the role the UN has played in encouraging globalization, and argues that it can serve as a forum to promote the participation of non-state actors in international politics.6

This assumption of non-state actors, including NGOs, assumes their ability to implement aid objectives more efficiently and with more expertise than donor governments.” Keck and Sikkink’s “boomerang model” helps in explaining the role NGOs play in the international system, arguing that when violations occur in one state and activists are not able to affect change, that they reach out to international partners, forming a transnational advocacy network (TAN) with local civil society groups and other likeminded international actors. According to Keck and Sikkink’s model, this “TAN” is able to utilize various coercive measures – information, symbolic, leverage, and accountability politics – to affect the state.7

While acknowledging the moral component of NGO advocacy, the boomerang model fails to factor in self-interest. NGOs might have a stated mission of improving human rights, but they also might have ulterior motives – such as their own financing and political agendas. Steinberg argues that “The NGO ‘halo effect’ explains how the media and other actors accept the most unlikely allegations without question. Groups perceived to promote moral principles are protected from investigation, and their claims are taken at face value.”8 Prakash argues that this halo effect is perhaps eroding, as due to numerous scandals involving NGOs focusing only on obtaining funding and not on their stated missions that the organizations are becoming more and more subject to scrutiny.9 Prakash furthers that while indeed following the Cold War NGOs were understood as principled actors without selfish motivations, that the idea that wealthy individual funders and state actors could “purchase” NGOs became realized.10 According to Prakash an abundance of resources, low barriers to entry, and lax oversight can lead to dishonest and illegitimate NGOs and also create perverse incentives for the legitimate ones to behave dishonestly.11 Adding to this discussion, Steinberg and Bacon highlight the disturbing phenomenon of NGO actors with links to terror groups. They explain, however, that the “halo effect” largely protects even these morally corrupt organizations from scrutiny, leaving their sources of funding and operational capacities intact.12

Children and Armed Conflict: The Structure

UNICEF is tasked with leading the international community’s work on children in armed conflict around the world. The framework, formally known as “Children and Armed Conflict,” (under the Office of the Special Representative for the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict) was established in 1996 with the UN Secretary-General’s appointment of a “Special Representative on the impact of armed conflict on children” and the requirement for the Special Representative to create reports “of children affected by armed conflict to be presented to the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council.”13 Following the first debate in the Security Council on the issue of children and armed conflict in 1998, the item was formally put of the Council’s agenda.14 Since 2001, the Secretary-General has included an “Annex” to his annual reports, listing “parties to armed conflict” that fundamentally breach the rights of children.15 The purpose of the Annex is to focus the “Security Council on specific parties, whether states or non-state actors” and take “targeted measures against violators, including the possibility of sanctions.”16 Originally, the Annex was focused exclusively on the violation of recruitment and use of child soldiers. Subsequent Security Council resolutions expanded the “trigger factors” for listing to also include “abduction of children,” “attacks on schools and hospitals,” “killing and maiming,” and “rape and other forms of sexual violence.”17

In 2005, the Security Council adopted resolution 1612, establishing a monitoring and reporting mechanism (MRM), in order to “provide timely, objective, accurate and reliable information on the recruitment and use of child soldiers in violation of applicable international law and on other violations and abuses committed against children affected by armed conflict.”18 The MRM mechanism applies only “in country situations [that] are listed in the annexes of the annual Report of the Secretary-General on CAAC [Children and Armed Conflict].”19 Under the MRM framework, UNICEF is tasked with helping “to manage the MRM,” being the “eyes and ears” to gather information at the local level, with data ultimately included in the Secretary-General’s annual report.20

In addition to the MRM framework, a second UNICEF-led structure is in place – known as a Working Group – to monitor and report on country situations that are not included in the Annex but that are on the Security Council’s agenda. In countries with a Working Group, UNICEF is supposed to provide “factual information on patterns of violations and efforts made to end and prevent them, which may inform the SRSG’s [Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict] listing recommendations and subsequent decisions by the SG [Secretary-General].”21 UNICEF is also instructed to be cautious in operating the mechanism as “claims of human rights violations can be used as a propaganda tool to discredit others or reports may be biased against one party due to allegiances and/or fears among a particular population.”22 According to the MRM’s “field manual,” Working Group members must be “neutral, impartial and independent from all parties to the conflict.”23 Furthermore, according to UNICEF, “Country Offices, in situations in which the MRM is not activated… should be rigorous and to the extent possible cross check information from multiple sources to ensure accuracy given that information is often manipulated in conflict-affected areas toward political ends.”24

UNICEF International has noted the challenges of UNICEF relying on local partners as members of its Working Groups and/or to implement humanitarian projects around the world. In a 2013 audit report, the auditors noted that, “UNICEF has not established a formal performance assessment framework for its implementing partners to assess the programmatic and financial capacity of its implementing partners and to use as a reference source for future cooperation,” adding that “UNICEF has no detailed guidance on how to select suitable civil society organization implementing partners for its vetting process, and no measures or indicators of what might constitute an acceptable level of partner capacity and expertise. This may expose UNICEF to the risk of selecting inappropriate partners and to increased risks of poor value for money and fraud.”25 The audit further elaborates on UNICEF’s lack of a “global monitoring system with respect to the implementation of the harmonized approach to cash transfers, capturing information on the capacity assessments and assurance activities undertaken by its country offices.”26 As such, the audit recommends that UNICEF International “Enhance the process of implementing partner selection by establishing specified and workable criteria in the implementing partner mapping process” and “Establish a global monitoring system to track the extent to which country offices plan and manage capacity assessment and assurance activities related to cash transfers.”27

UNICEF-oPt’s Working Group

A. The Structure

Since Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza are not listed in the Annex of the Secretary-General’s report, but are on the agenda of the Security Council, UNICEF operates a Working Group. Active since 2007, the Working Group’s formation was described by the current head of the group as simply ‘many organizations coming together.’28 Indeed, UNICEF-oPt partners with numerous NGOs, citing them in its periodic situation reports and other publications and produces a large volume of documentation regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, it appears that most of this documentation focuses on alleged violations committed by Israeli security and as such disregards potential violations by other armed groups. Included in this data are 45 “situation Reports,” dating back to November 2012.29

B. The NGO Actors

UNICEF-oPt’s Working Group is made up of 14 NGOs, including Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Mezan, B’Tselem, Terre des Hommes – Suisse, Save the Children, War Child Holland, World Vision, as well as a number of UN agencies. UNICEF-oPt also partners with and provides funding to other NGOs, such as Addameer,30 Wadi Hilweh, and EAPPI. Considering that UNICEF’s humanitarian mandate, this selection of NGO partners is odd as the majority are political advocacy organizations that lack humanitarian capacity; some even have missions distinctly different than anything to do with child protection. For instance, the Israeli NGO B’Tselem states that it “works to end Israel’s occupation…”31 while Wadi Hilweh is a center that “aims at revealing the facts and history of the village of Silwan.”32 Furthermore, at least two members of the UNICEF Working Group have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization – designated as such by Canada,33 the US,34 the EU,35 and Israel.36

DCI-P is regularly quoted and sourced by UNICEF and the other NGO partners, despite noted discrepancies in its description of international and domestic laws as well as the above noted concerns.37 DCI-P dedicated its 2014 annual report to its former employee Hashem Abu Maria, who is referred to as a “comrade” and “leader” by the PFLP.38 According to DCI-P, Abu Maria focused on “Palestinian teens monitoring and documenting child rights violations in Hebron” (emphasis added).39 Numerous other staff and board members similarly exhibit connections to the terror group.40 PCHR, a Gaza-based organization, founder and director has been denied travel permits and has been imprisoned on multiple occasions.41 In February 2014, the PFLP organized a ceremony in Gaza honoring him for winning the “Alternative Noble Prize” with Dr. Rabah Muhana, a member of the PFLP Political Bureau, delivering a speech at the prize ceremony.42

C. Accuracy in Monitoring and Reporting on Recruitment and Use of Children

These terror-linked and advocacy focused NGOs would appear to be in violation of UNICEF’s “neutrality” and “impartiality” requirements, especially given that the NGOs represent the same political bias and near similar political agendas. In addition to this potential violation of the humanitarian principles, there are also practical implications. Numerous government and Israeli non-government groups have documented the presence of child soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza, however mainstream reporting by international NGOs and UNICEF is oddly minimal. For instance, an article published in Institute for Palestine Studies notes the use of children by Hamas in order to build “terror tunnels” from Gaza into Israel.43 A video published by AFP news agency “Gaza children play war in Hamas summer camp,” shows young children wearing Hamas camp T-shirts and hats, holding guns, and performing various military training exercises. Another video by ITV News shows teens “handling firearms” and training to kidnap Israelis via Hamas terror tunnels dug into Israel.44

Despite these noted instances, it does not appear that the members of the Working Group nor UNICEF have included “recruitment and use of children” by Palestinian armed groups in recent reports. In UNICEF-oPt’s December 2017 bulletin, the group acknowledged that it was “not in a position to document cases of child recruitment and use of children” by armed groups in Gaza,45 despite that numerous Working Group members (PCHR, World Vision, Save the Children, UNRWA, and WHO) have a presence there. This claim was then echoed in the 2017 Secretary-General’s report on Children and Armed Conflict, which states that “The United Nations did not receive reports of the recruitment and use of children in 2016; however, this violation is difficult to document, particularly in Gaza.”46 Additionally, the issue of incitement, which can lead to recruitment and use of children, by the Palestinian Authority as well as other Palestinian factions – such as videos and social media images encouraging children to throw stones and to commit stabbings – is ignored by the Working Group. In 2014, UNICEF did note Palestinian and Israeli recruitment and use in its third quarter 2014 CAAC report.47 As well, UNICEF noted that during the 2014 Gaza war, there were three cases of Palestinian recruitment and use noted, and one instance of Israeli recruitment and use of a 17-year old Palestinian boy.

This documentation failure is highly problematic. As noted in an emotive opinion piece in Commentary Magazine:

“After all, you don’t hear much about Hamas’s recruitment efforts from the UN, the EU, the media or major human-rights organizations. But if those child soldiers are someday killed fighting Israel, all of these bodies will vie over who can condemn Israel for ‘killing children’ most vociferously. And it’s precisely that reaction that makes recruiting child soldiers a win-win for Hamas: By so doing, not only can it significantly expand its fighting forces, but it can also ensure that Israel suffers international vilification whenever a war breaks out–all without suffering any negative consequences to itself.”48

Adding to the oddity of UNICEF-oPt and its NGO Working Group’s failure to document recruitment and use is that according to a report by Catherine Hunter for the “Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers,” DCI-P was indeed involved in documenting this grave violation prior to the Working Group’s inception.49 As noted in the report, “In 2004 Defence for Children International (DCI-Palestine) documented 22 incidents where under-18s were killed as a result of their involvement in militant actions. Of these, one was claimed by Hamas, involving a raid on a settlement by a group in which a 17 year old from Shaja’iyya in Gaza was killed.”50 Another UNICEF-oPt partner that fails to report on Palestinian grave violations today is also cited as having once documented recruitment and use by Hamas. The report further notes that in 2002, “Several local human rights and charitable organizations, backed by domestic Palestinian opinion, put pressure on members of the armed groups to renounce the use of children in military operations… Since then, other children’s rights groups, including DCI-Palestine, have followed up on this issue, receiving a positive response from a number of Hamas officials, including West Bank political leader Sheikh Hassan Yusuf.”51 Yet, since the establishment of the UNICEF-oPt Working Group, DCI-P appears to no longer report on Hamas’ and other Palestinian factions’ use of child soldiers.52 This is particularly noticeable in DCI-P’s table that shows the “number of children killed while involved in hostilities,”53 which claims no children were killed participating in hostilities since 2015 – years that featured an upswing in violent stabbings committed by Palestinian minors against Israeli civilians.54

When DCI-P does highlight recruitment and use in recent documentation, it does so more in reference to alleged Israeli violations. On the NGO’s webpage titled “Issues: Child Recruitment” DCI-P states that “since 2006, DCIP has documented at least 20 cases involving attempts by Israeli forces to recruit Palestinian children as informants during interrogations following arrest.”55 A 2014 article in the Australian that cites two individuals affiliated with the NGO “Military Court Watch” also notes Israel’s alleged use of children in order to “gather intelligence.”56 It does not appear that UNICEF has included these alleged violations in its reporting.

The fact that the UNICEF-oPt Working Group is for the most part seemingly neglecting this crucial aspect of its mission is a puzzle. Considering the political partners that UNICEF-oPt elects to rely on for sources of information and given UNICEF International’s prior acknowledgement of bias introduced by implementing partners provides a possible answer, warranting further analysis, for why this grave violation is ignored.


A. The Structure

There are a number of state and non-state actors in Afghanistan that are listed in the Secretary-General’s Annex, including the ISIL-Khorasan Province, Taliban forces and affiliated groups, and the Afghan National Police (including Afghan Local Police).57 Since 2008, UNICEF has operated a “MRM” as part of the Sub-Cluster on Child Protection.58 In addition to this sub-cluster, Afghanistan also has a number of other mechanisms in place made up of state institutions, international organizations, and NGOs tasked with handling issues related to children in conflict, including the Child Protection Action Network (CPAN), which partakes in both provincial and regional analysis.59 All parties to the conflict in Afghanistan were listed for the grave violation of recruitment and use and the MRM data regarding this grave violation is regularly included in the Secretary-General’s Annual Report. As noted in numerous UNICEF reports, “There is an urgent need to clarify within the sector what is meant by the Child Protection Sub-Cluster and N-CPAN – at the moment these two terms are used inter-changeably, and leading to more confusion.”60

B. The NGO Actors

Unlike in UNICEF reports on the Arab-Israeli conflict, UNICEF-Afghanistan rarely cites individual NGOs, instead stating in its periodic situation reports that they work with between 150-200 “national and international NGOs.” Furthermore, there are only six situation reports available on the conflict.61 Pinpointing UNICEF-Afghanistan’s NGO partners lacks further transparency as the funding appeals do not include “implementing partners” (as compared with UNICEF-oPt which regularly lists NGO implementing partners in funding appeals). From analyzing various UNICEF Annual Reports and other publications it is, however, possible to pinpoint a select number of NGO partners, including Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Save the Children, War Child UK, Terres des Hommes, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Agency for Humanitarian and Development Assistance for Afghanistan, World Vision, OXFAM, and Ground Truth.62 As noted in a “Child Frontiers” 2010 “Review of the Child Protection Sub-Cluster in Afghanistan”:

“The majority of organizations (especially at the national level) are recovery or development oriented – focusing on longer-term institutional capacity building and establishing normative frameworks. Despite humanitarian needs being prevalent in significant parts of the country given protracted and volatile conflict and frequent natural disasters, these issues are largely dealt with on an ad/hoc basis. The humanitarian agenda, consequentially, is often overlooked in favour of longer term development goals.”63

Furthermore, according to UNICEF’s 2013 annual report “All provinces were covered by the MRM, with dedicated UNICEF technical staff conducting systematic monitoring, advocacy and inter-agency coordination of issues affecting children in armed conflict. A full 77 per cent of grave violations reported during 2013 were verified, and regular reports were developed and shared with all relevant stakeholders.”64 Compared to UNICEF-oPt’s reliance on NGOs to implement projects, it appears that UNICEF-Afghanistan instead has more dedicated staff for its protection work, perhaps diminishing issues related to implementing partners identified in this paper as well as by UNICEF International’s audit.

C. Accuracy in Monitoring and Reporting on Recruitment and Use of Children

UNICEF-Afghanistan’s work on monitoring and reporting on the recruitment and use of children also differs from that of UNICEF-oPt. Firstly, cases of child recruitment and use are documented in the UN Secretary-General’s 2017 Annual Report:

“The United Nations verified 96 cases of child recruitment and use of children, double the number of cases verified in 2015. Armed groups remained the main perpetrators of recruitment and use of children, with 84 verified cases, of which 69 (including 1 girl) were attributed to the Taliban (a threefold increase compared with A/72/361 S/2017/821 17-14707 5/41 2015); 10 to ISIL-Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP), while 5 could not be attributed to a specific group. In addition, there were unverified reports of recruitment affecting more than 3,000 children, mostly by armed groups including Taliban and ISIL-KP…”65

Secondly, UNICEF-Afghanistan Annual Reports, situation reports, and other publications note efforts by the organization to combat recruitment and use. For example, UNICEF identified that one of the core problems with recruitment and use in Afghanistan is that many children do not have birth certificates. Thus, in addition to children being forced into armed groups, many young people also try to join the national forces in order to earn a stable salary. Without birth certificates, the Afghan National Army is handicapped in verifying the age of individuals trying to join, resulting in boys under-18 being enlisted. UNICEF has therefore worked to improve birth registration, and in 2017, in partnership with Afghanistan’s Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Department, “416,367 infants were registered in 2017, about 47 per cent of whom were girls.”66 UNICEF further adds that in 2017 it established “11 child protection units… as part of the national police in 32 provinces. These units helped to prevent the recruitment of 1,411 children into armed groups.”67


This initial analysis and comparison of UNICEF’s structural approach in two different zones can help us improve our understanding of the benefits and constraints of relying on NGOs as implementing partners. Indeed, UNICEF-oPt appears to rely more on political advocacy NGOs, instead of only humanitarian organizations, with the results being a significant amount of reporting, but reporting that lacks data on recruitment and use of Palestinian children by Palestinian armed groups. On the other hand, in Afghanistan, UNICEF appears to rely more on its own staff and humanitarian and development NGOs as part of the MRM framework and as such, reports on all parties to the conflict’s use and recruitment of children as soldiers. The volume of reporting and documentation of UNICEF-Afghanistan in general, however, appears to be less than that of UNICEF-oPt. Hypothesis 1 – that an increased reliance on NGOs will lead to more accurate reporting is shown to be false, demonstrating that literature acknowledging the more self-interested side of NGOs carries some weight. Hypothesis 2 – that an increased reliance on NGOs will lead to more reporting – is also apparent in this initial analysis.

There are a number of shortcomings of this paper. First, being able to definitively demonstrate the hypotheses would involve further comparison of other UNICEF-led frameworks in other conflict zones. This is especially important as in numerous quantitative and qualitative studies in international relations, the Arab-Israeli conflict is often found to be an “outlier” case. Second, expanding this analysis to the other five grave violations could improve the generalizability of this paper and increase the significance of findings regarding reliance on NGOs. Despite these shortcomings, the paper provides an important initial analysis and comparison of UNICEF’s NGO reliance in two conflict zones and the impacts of this reliance when monitoring and reporting on recruitment and use of children as soldiers.

In addition to having international mechanisms in place to address grave violations of children in armed conflict, we must also be vigilant in insuring that self-interested actors do not co-opt these mechanisms for their own political gains. UNICEF must therefore only entrust the protection of children onto groups it has vetted and committed to the humanitarian principles in order to prevent grave violations.


  1. These violations include “recruitment and use,” “killing and maiming,” “sexual violence,” “attacks against schools or hospitals,” “abduction,” and “denial of humanitarian access.”
  2. Recruitment and use is not limited to children taking part in combatant roles and can include children working as cooks, spies, messengers, sex slaves, and suicide bombers.
  3. Alexander E. Wendt, “The Agent-Structure Problem in International Relations Theory,” International Organization 41, no. 3 (Summer 1987).
  4. Michael N. Barnett and Martha Finnemore, “The Politics, Power, and Pathologies of International Organizations,” International Organizations 53, no.4 (1999), p667-732.
  5. David P. Forsythe, “The UN Security Council and Human Rights: Promising Developments, Persistent Problems,” Journal of Human Rights 13, no.2 (May 2014), 123 & 140.
  6. Jos Delbruck, “The Role of the United Nations in Dealing with Global Problems,” Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 4, no.2 (Spring 1997), p277-296.
  7. Margaret E. Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998), Page 8-10.
  8. Gerald Steinberg and Josh Bacon, “NGO Links to Middle East Terror,” Middle East Quarterly 24, no. 3 (June 2017),
  9. Nives Dolsak and Aseem Prakash, “NGOs Are Great at Demanding Transparency. They’re Not so Hot at Providing It,” The Monkey Cage (blog), entry posted January 2016,
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Gerald Steinberg and Josh Bacon, “NGO Links to Middle East Terror,” Middle East Quarterly 24, no. 3 (June 2017),
  13. Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, “Timeline,”
  14. Ibid.
  15. Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, “Identifying Parties to Conflict Who Commit Grave Violations Against Children,”; UN Security Council, “Resolution 1379 (2001),” November 20, 2001:
  16. UN, “MRM Guidelines,”
  17. UNICEF, “Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) on grave violations of children’s rights in situations of armed conflict,”; Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, “Identifying Parties to Conflict Who Commit Grave Violations Against Children,”
  18. UN Security Council, “Resolution 1612 (2005),” July 26, 2005:
  19. UN, “Field Manual: Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) on Grave Violations Against Children in situations of Armed Conflict,” June 2014:
  20. Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, “Monitoring and Reporting on Grave Violations Committed Against Children,”
  21. UNICEF, “Guidance Note: UNICEF Roles and Responsibilities in the Children and Armed Conflict Agenda of the Security Council,” November 2015, 14:
  22. Ibid.
  23. UN, “Field Manual: Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) on Grave Violations Against Children in situations of Armed Conflict,” June 2014, 4:
  24. UNICEF, “Guidance Note: UNICEF Roles and Responsibilities in the Children and Armed Conflict Agenda of the Security Council,” November 2015, 10:
  25. UN, “United Nations Children’s Fund Financial report and audited financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2013 and Report of the Board of Auditors,” 2014, 10:
  26. Ibid, 19.
  27. Ibid, 11 and 19.
  28. NGO Monitor, “UNICEF and its NGO Working Group: Failing Children,” February 2018,
  29. UNICEF State of Palestine, “Situation reports,”
  30. According to Fatah, Addameer is an affiliate of the PFLP terror group. Fatah, “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,”
  31. B’Tselem, “About B’Tselem,”
  32., “About Silwanic,”
  33. US Department of State, “Foreign Terrorist Organization,”
  34. Official Journal of the European Union, “Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/1136,”
  35. Public Safety Canada, “Currently listed entities,”
  36. Israel Ministry of Justice, “List of Terrorist Organizations and Individuals,”
  37. See NGO Monitor’s report “No Way to Represent a Child: Defense for Children International – Palestine’s Distortions of the Israeli Justice System,” September 2017:
  38. DCI-P, “DCI-Palestine mourns the loss of Hashem Abu Maria, colleague and friend, killed by Israeli forces,” July 25, 2014:; PFLP, “People Morns Comrade Hashem Abu Maria, murdered by occupation forces,” August 3, 2014:
  39. DCI-P, “DCI-Palestine mourns the loss of Hashem Abu Maria, colleague and friend, killed by Israeli forces,” July 25, 2014:
  40. NGO Monitor, “The European-Funded NGO PFLP Network,” November 14, 2016:
  41. PCHR, “Raji Sourani,”; The Right Livelihood Award, “Raji Sourani,” 2013:; Janet McMahon, “A Matter of Principle: Gaza Human Rights Lawyer Raji Sourani,”, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, September 1995, 12:
  42. PCHR, “PFLP honors Lawyer Raji Sourani for Winning ‘Alternative Noble Prize,’” February 20, 2014:
  43. Nicolas Pelham, “Gaza’s Tunnel Phenomenon: The Unintended Dynamics of Israel’s Siege,” Institute for Palestine Studies, Vol. 41.4 (2011/12):
  44. AFP, “Gaza children play war in Hamas summer camp,” Youtube, June 18, 2013:; ITV News, “Inside the Hamas summer training camp for Gaza teens,” Youtube, July 27, 2016:
  45. UNICEF, “CAAC Bulletin – Fourth quarter of 2016: Children and Armed Conflict,” December 2017:
  46. UN General Assembly, “Children and armed conflict: Report of the Secretary-General,” August 24, 2017:
  47. UNICEF, “CAAC Bulletin – Third quarter of 2014,” July, August, September 2014:
  48. Evelyn Gordon, “How the World Encourages Hamas to Recruit Child Soldiers,” Commentary, January 21, 2015:
  49. Catherine Hunger, “Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers,” July 2006:
  50. Ibid, 5.
  51. Ibid, 10.
  52. While DCI-P’s “child recruitment” page on its website notes just seven instances of Palestinian recruitment and use in recent years, the group obscures the definition of this grave violation and emphasizes Israel’s alleged “recruitment and use” of Palestinian minors as informants and as human shields. In addition to ignoring Hamas recruitment and use of children, the NGO simultaneously ignores the terror groups use of human shields via placing weapons in schools and hospitals.
  53. DCI-P, “Child Fatalities: Distribution of Palestinian Children Killed While Participating in Hostilities,”
  54. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Wave of terror 2015-2018,” March 18, 2018:
  55. DCI-P, “Child Recruitment,”
  56. John Lyons, “Palestinian kids ‘used as spies’ by Israel,” The Australian, February 10, 2014:
  57. UN General Assembly, “Children and armed conflict: Report of the Secretary-General,” August 24, 2017:
  58. CPAN was activated in some provinces in 2003, was rolled out regionally in 2006, and was nationalized in 2008/9. 
  59. Child Frontiers, “Review of the Child Protection Sub-Cluster in Afghanistan,” August 2010:
  60. Child Frontiers, “Review of the Child Protection Sub-Cluster in Afghanistan,” August 2010:
  61. UNICEF, “Situation reports,”
  62. See: Child Frontiers, “Review of the Child Protection Sub-Cluster in Afghanistan,” August 2010:; UNICEF, “Annual Report 2017: UNICEF Afghanistan Country Office,”; UNICEF, “UNICEF Annual Report for Afghanistan,” 2010:; UNICEF, “UNICEF Afghanistan Situation Report,” July 31, 2013:
  63. Child Frontiers, “Review of the Child Protection Sub-Cluster in Afghanistan,” August 2010, 20:
  64. UNICEF, “UNICEF Annual Report 2013 – Afghanistan,” 15:
  65. UN General Assembly, “Children and armed conflict: Report of the Secretary-General,” August 24, 2017, 5:
  66. UNICEF, “Annual Report 2017: UNICEF Afghanistan Country Office,”
  67. Ibid.

About the Author

Becca Wertman

Becca Wertman