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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
Security Council
16 June 2010



Security Council
SC/9956

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council
6341st Meeting (AM & PM)



SECURITY COUNCIL, IN PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT, REITERATES ‘STRONG CONDEMNATION’


OF RECRUITMENT, USE OF CHILDREN IN ARMED CONFLICT

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The United Nations Security Council today reasserted its strong condemnation of the recruitment, killing, maiming, raping and other abuse of children during armed conflict, and expressed its readiness to take targeted measures against persistent perpetrators of those crimes.

Following a day-long meeting that heard from over 60 speakers — including the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, representatives of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and a young abduction victim from Nepal — the Council expressed particular concern about the growing number of attacks against schools, teachers and pupils, through a statement read out by the representative of Mexico, which holds the 15-member body’s presidency for the month of June.

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CAROLINE ZIADE (Lebanon) said that the lost childhood of children in conflict was a threat to the stability and prosperity of their nations and communities. In her region, a just and lasting peace could not be established while threats to children continued, including cluster bombs used by Israel in Lebanon and Gaza and the embargo of Gaza, of which children make up 45 per cent of the population. She hoped that someday the listing criteria would be extended to all six violations of the latest Council resolution on the issue, and that due attention would be paid to underlying causes of conflict.

She welcomed the guidelines on the protection of children by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the deployment of child protection advisers in missions. Donors were urged to ensure a predictable financing structure for implementing action plans and reintegrating children affected by armed conflict. It was imperative for the Working Group to respond swiftly to urgent and sudden situations when children were affected, and for more effective follow-up to occur. Noting that prosecution of violators was still rare, she called for more support for maintaining the rule of law at a national level. She also called for the improvement of psycho-social support services to all children associated with armed conflict, who paid the price of such conflict on a daily basis.

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VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) agreed that due attention should be given to the violations of rights of children in armed conflict and welcomed practical steps for including, in the reports’ annexes, parties responsible for crimes that included killing and maiming. There also was a need to look at the idea of including country-specific situations. His Government found unjustified references to situations in India, Pakistan and Yemen, as they could not be called armed conflicts. It also condemned premeditated attacks against children and the disproportionate use of force. He was notably concerned at the increased attacks against education facilities and condemned grave violations of humanitarian law committed in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza. He called on those parties to conflict to comply with their obligations.

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GRABRIELA SHALEV (Israel) noted progress in releasing children from armed groups in many areas, but said that valuable time was being lost in the case of hundreds of thousands of others still being held, and whose release and reintegration she called for immediately. She also called for the deployment of more child protection advisers in peacekeeping missions. She maintained that more information was needed to enable appropriate authorities to investigate and respond substantively where appropriate, but stressed that sources, particularly those that relied heavily on uncorroborated allegations, must be vetted.

She welcomed the mention of Israeli children who had been victims of armed conflict, as well as the exploitation of children and their use as human shields by Hamas, in the Secretary-General’s report, urging that future reports elaborate on those subjects rather than mentioning them in passing. In that context, she spoke of attacks on camps of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). She said incitement of children to hatred and violence, such as an exhortation to kill Jews that she attributed to a Hamas magazine, must also be ended.

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RIYAD MANSOUR, Permanent Observer for Palestine, said that the situation of children in armed conflict — including foreign occupation from which the children of Palestine continued to suffer — remained a matter of grave concern. Failure to provide children in conflict situations with the protection to which they were entitled under international law had deepened their suffering, with immense consequences for their societies. Unfortunately, political will was missing to directly address the crises being faced by such children, which would require, among other steps, real measures to ensure accountability by perpetrators of crimes against children, for which there must be zero tolerance.

In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said that Israel had been permitted to act with impunity, with total disrespect for international law, resulting in the heavy price paid by Palestinian children that Ms. Coomaraswamy had noted. Their plight had not improved since her last visit, particularly in the blockaded Gaza Strip. The Secretary-General’s recent report only provided “a brief, sterile glimpse” into what he called the pervasive, intense suffering of Palestinian children, which he described as including widespread death and injury, use as human shields, homelessness, forcible interrogation and detention and violation of the right to health and food. As for alleged Palestinian violations, he maintained that Palestinians strived through their institutions to redress the abnormalities that arose from foreign occupation, in preparation for independence, through which their children would enjoy their rights with dignity and freedom from want.

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ALYA AHMED S. AL-THANI ( Qatar) said that, despite progress, problems existed in protecting children in situations of foreign occupation. The report noted changes in the occupied territories and made reference to many people killed and injured in the recent conflict. Education was the best means to control violence and she urged efforts to follow the Secretary-General’s recommendations. Despite international appeals to meet children’s educational needs, many had been deprived education because of armed conflict. Schools had been targeted, some operated by the United Nations. An inquiry had been launched into the attacks on schools run by UNRWA and the Council should determine who was responsible for those attacks.

Discussing Qatar’s efforts, she said that the wife of the Qatari Emir, a United Nations Special Envoy, had expressed concern at the impacts of conflict on education and had joined the international campaign supporting free education for Gazan students and those in the West Bank. Moreover, “Reach out to Asia”, an international organization founded in Qatar, provided educational opportunities for children in various countries affected by crises and natural disasters. Before the Israeli war in Gaza, it launched a programme to protect schools in that area. Qatar and Bosnia and Herzegovina, among others, had established a document on the right to education during armed conflict that would be submitted to the General Assembly.

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