Security Council condemns targeting and use of children in armed conflict

The United Nations Security Council today strongly condemned the targeting and use of children in armed conflicts and called on all warring parties to immediately desist from such practices. In a statement read out in an open meeting by its current President, Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani of Singapore, the Council expressed its commitment to the protection of children affected by armed conflict as an essential component of its work to promote and maintain world peace and security. Meeting on the eve of a UN General Assembly session devoted to children’s issues, the Council underscored the importance of ensuring unhindered humanitarian access to children, and called on parties to conflict to make special arrangements to protect and assist the youngsters. The Council also reaffirmed its call for the inclusion of provisions to protect children, with particular attention to the special needs of girls, in peace negotiations and agreements. Speaking at the outset of the meeting, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara Otunnu, said that when adults waged war, it was children that paid the highest price. In conflict situations children were killed and maimed, made orphans and refugees, he said. “Every day that a child lives in fear, pain or danger of violence of war, is another day where we have not done enough,” added Graca Machel, former Independent Expert of the Secretary-General on the Impact on Armed Conflict on Children, and author of the recent book Impact of War on Children. For her part, the Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Carol Bellamy, drew the Council’s attention to need to protect children in war zones from abuse, sexual violence and rape. Also participating in today’s session were three children from war-affected countries – East Timor, Liberia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Each appealed to the Council to use its influence to stop war and protect children from disastrous consequences of conflict.Video – Security Council meeting

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