Thematic Security Resolutions on Children: In Whose ‘Best Interests’?

International Journal of Children’s Rights (2013) 127–161



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: speci!cally 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 inter- connected 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 deconstructing 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..

(Picture, @UNGeneva on adoption of UNSC Resolution 2139)