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UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


Security Council
4422nd and 4423rd Meetings* (AM & PM)
SC/7219
20 November 2001



SECURITY COUNCIL REQUESTS SECRETARY-GENERAL TO LIST PARTIES
TO ARMED CONFLICT THAT RECRUIT OR USE CHILDREN

Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution 1379 (2001);
Former Sierra Leonean Child Soldier Appeals for Action


Recognizing the harmful and widespread impact of armed conflict on children and the long-term consequences on durable peace, security and development, the Security Council this afternoon expressed its readiness to explicitly include provisions for the protection of children, when considering mandates for peacekeeping operations.

In the second of two meetings today, the Council took that action as it unanimously adopted resolution 1379 (2001) by whose terms it also expressed its readiness to continue to include child protection advisers on peacekeeping operations. In that context, the Secretary-General was asked to take the protection of children into account in peacekeeping plans submitted to the Council, by including, on a case-by case basis, child-protection staff in missions and peace-building operations.

The Council also asked the Secretary-General to continue, and intensify, monitoring and reporting activities by peacekeeping and peace-building support operations on the situation of children in armed conflict. In a report requested by the Council on the resolution’s implementation, the Secretary-General was requested to attach a list of parties to armed conflict that recruit or use children in violation of their international obligations.

“The resolution before the Council today tells each of us what we have to do to protect children in armed conflict”, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Council in the first meeting today, which was addressed by over 30 speakers. He said that the text called on States to punish conduct that fuelled and exacerbated war and drew attention to issues such as the recruitment of children and trafficking in arms and natural resources. It also urged donors, lenders, the United Nations, international financial institutions and others to use their financial leverage and influence as well.

Also in today’s resolution, the Council further expressed its intention to call upon the parties to a conflict to make special arrangements for the protection and assistance requirements of women, children and other vulnerable groups. It also underlined the importance of the full, safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel, goods and assistance to all children affected by armed conflict.

By other terms, the Council expressed its intention to consider taking appropriate steps to address the links between armed conflict and terrorism, the illicit trade and trafficking in precious minerals, small arms and light weapons, as well as other criminal activities which could prolong armed conflict or intensify its impact in civilian populations, including children.

By further terms, the Council undertook to consider, when imposing punitive measures, the socio-economic impact of sanctions on children in order to provide appropriate humanitarian exemptions that would take account of their specific needs and vulnerability, as well as minimize such impact.

The resolution also called on all parties to armed conflict to fully respect international laws related to the rights and protection of children in armed conflict; provide protection and assistance to refugees and internally displaced people; take special measures to promote and protect the rights of girls, meet their needs and put an end to all forms of violence and exploitation; and provide protection for children in peace agreements.

By other terms, the Council urged Member States to end impunity; prosecute those responsible for crimes against humanity and other egregious crimes committed against children; and exclude, where feasible, those crimes from amnesty provisions and relevant legislation. Member States were also urged to consider measures to discourage corporate actors within their jurisdiction from maintaining commercial relations with parties to armed conflicts, who violate applicable international law on the protection of children in armed conflict. States were also urged to take further measures against corporate actors, individuals and entities under their jurisdiction who engaged in illicit trading of natural resources and small arms.

Further by the text, States were urged to ratify both the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on involvement of children in armed conflict and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 182 on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

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Resolution

The full text of resolution 1379 (2001) reads, as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling its resolution 1314 (2000) of 11 August 2000,

"Further recalling its resolutions 1261 (1999) of 28 August 1999, 1265 (1999) of 17 September 1999, 1296 (2000) of 19 April 2000, 1306 (2000) of 5 July 2000, 1308 (2000) of 17 July 2000 and 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000 and the statements of its President of 29 June 1998 (S/PRST/1998/18), 12 February 1999 (S/PRST/1999/6), 8 July 1999 (S/PRST/1999/21), 30 November 1999 (S/PRST/1999/34), 20 July 2000 (S/PRST/2000/25) and of 31 August 2001 (S/PRST/2001/21),

"Recognizing the harmful and widespread impact of armed conflict on children and the long-term consequences this has for durable peace, security and development,

"Bearing in mind the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and recalling the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security and, in this connection, its commitment to address the impact of armed conflict on children,

"Underlining the need for all parties concerned to comply with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and with international law, in particular those regarding children,

"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 7 September 2001 on the implementation of resolution 1314 (2000) on children and armed conflict,

"1. Expresses, accordingly, its determination to give the fullest attention to the question of the protection of children in armed conflict when considering the matters of which it is seized;

"2. Expresses its readiness explicitly to include provisions for the protection of children, when considering the mandates of peacekeeping operations, and reaffirms, in this regard, its readiness to continue to include, where appropriate, child protection advisers in peacekeeping operations;

"3. Supports the ongoing work of the Secretary General, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, the United Nations Children's Fund, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, other agencies of the United Nations system and other international organizations dealing with children affected by armed conflict;

"4. Expresses its intention, where appropriate, to call upon the parties to a conflict to make special arrangements to meet the protection and assistance requirements of women, children and other vulnerable groups, including through the promotion of "days of immunization" and other opportunities for the safe and unhindered delivery of basic necessary services;

"5. Underlines the importance of the full, safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel and goods and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all children affected by armed conflict;

"6. Expresses its intention to consider taking appropriate steps, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, to address the linkages between armed conflict and terrorism, the illicit trade in precious minerals, the illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons, and other criminal activities, which can prolong armed conflict or intensify its impact on civilian populations, including children;

"7. Undertakes to consider, as appropriate when imposing measures under Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations, the economic and social impact of sanctions on children, with a view to providing appropriate humanitarian exemptions that take account of their specific needs and their vulnerability and to minimize such impact;

"8. Calls upon all parties to armed conflict to:

"(a) Respect fully applicable international law relating to the rights and protection of children in armed conflict, in particular the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the obligations applicable to them under the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989, the Optional Protocol thereto of 25 May 2000, and the amended Protocol II to the Convention on Prohibition or Restriction on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, the International Labour Organization Convention No. 182 on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour and the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, and notes the inclusion as a war crime in the Rome Statute of the conscription or enlistment of children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities;

"(b) Provide protection and assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons, the majority of whom are women and children, in accordance with applicable international norms and standards;

"(c) Take special measures to promote and protect the rights and meet the special needs of girls affected by armed conflict, and to put an end to all forms of violence and exploitation, including sexual violence, particularly rape;

"(d) Abide by the concrete commitments they have made to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, as well as relevant United Nations bodies, to ensure the protection of children in situations of armed conflict;

"(e) Provide protection of children in peace agreements, including, where appropriate, provisions relating to the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation of child soldiers and the reunification of families, and to consider, when possible, the views of children in those processes;

"9. Urges Member States to:

"(a) Put an end to impunity, prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other egregious crimes perpetrated against children and exclude, where feasible, these crimes from amnesty provisions and relevant legislation, and ensure that post-conflict truth-and-reconciliation processes address serious abuses involving children;

"(b) Consider appropriate legal, political, diplomatic, financial and material measures, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, in order to ensure that parties to armed conflict respect international norms for the protection of children;

"(c) Consider, where appropriate, measures that may be taken to discourage corporate actors, within their jurisdiction, from maintaining commercial relations with parties to armed conflicts, that are on the Security Council's agenda, that violate internationally accepted child protection standards or that contribute to prolonging armed conflicts;

"(d) Consider measures against corporate actors, individuals and entities under their jurisdiction that engage in illicit trade in natural resources and small arms, in violation of relevant Security Council resolutions and the Charter of the United Nations;

"(e) Consider ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and the International Labour Organization Convention No. 182 on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour;

"(f) Consider further steps for the protection of children, especially in the context of the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010);

"10. Requests the Secretary-General to:

"(a) Take the protection of children into account in peacekeeping plans submitted to the Security Council, inter alia, by including, on a case by case basis, child protection staff in peacekeeping and, as appropriate, peace-building operations and strengthening expertise and capacity in the area of human rights, where necessary;

"(b) Ensure that all peacekeeping personnel receive and follow appropriate guidance on HIV/AIDS and training in international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law relevant to children;

"(c) Continue and intensify, on a case by case basis, monitoring and reporting activities by peacekeeping and peace-building support operations on the situation of children in armed conflict;

"11. Requests the agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations to:

"(a) Coordinate their support and assistance to parties to armed conflict in fulfilling their obligations and commitments to children;

"(b) Take account of ways of reducing child recruitment that is contrary to accepted international standards when formulating development assistance programmes;

"(c) Devote particular attention and adequate resources to the rehabilitation of children affected by armed conflict, particularly their counselling, education and appropriate vocational opportunities, as a preventive measure and as a means of reintegrating them into society;

"(d) Ensure that the special needs and particular vulnerabilities of girls affected by armed conflict, including those heading households, orphaned, sexually exploited and used as combatants, are duly taken into account in the design of development assistance programmes, and that adequate resources are allocated to such programmes;

"(e) Integrate HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, care and support into emergency, humanitarian, and post-conflict programmes;

"(f) Support the development of local capacity to address post-conflict child rehabilitation and reintegration concerns;

"(g) Promote a culture of peace, including through support for peace education programmes and other non-violent approaches to conflict prevention and resolution, in peace-building activities;

"12. Encourages the international financial institutions and regional financial and development institutions to:

"(a) Devote part of their assistance to rehabilitation and reintegration programmes conducted jointly by agencies, funds, programmes and State parties to conflicts that have taken effective measures to comply with their obligations to protect children in situations of armed conflict, including the demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers, in particular those who have been used in armed conflicts contrary to international law;

"(b) Contribute resources for quick-impact projects in conflict zones where peacekeeping operations are deployed or are in the process of deployment;

"(c) Support the efforts of the regional organizations engaged in activities for the benefit of children affected by armed conflict, by providing them with financial and technical assistance, as appropriate;

"13. Urges regional and subregional organizations and arrangements to:

"(a) Consider establishing, within their secretariats, child protection mechanisms for the development and implementation of policies, activities and advocacy for the benefit of children affected by armed conflict, and consider the views of children in the design and implementation of such policies and programmes where possible;

"(b) Consider including child protection staff in their peacekeeping and field operations and provide training to members of such operations on the rights and protection of children;

"(c) Take steps leading to the elimination of cross-border activities deleterious to children in times of armed conflict, such as the cross-border recruitment and abduction of children, the sale of or traffic in children, attacks on camps and settlements of refugees and internally displaced persons, the illicit trade in precious minerals, the illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons, and other criminal activities;

"(d) Develop and expand regional initiatives to prevent the use of child soldiers in violation of international law and to take appropriate measures to ensure the compliance by parties to armed conflict with obligations to protect children in armed conflict situations;

"14. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to include in his written reports to the Council on conflict situations his observations concerning the protection of children and recommendations in this regard;

"15. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report to the Council by 31 October 2002 on the implementation of this resolution and of resolutions 1261 (1999) and 1314 (2000);

"16. Requests the Secretary-General to attach to his report a list of parties to armed conflict that recruit or use children in violation of the international obligations applicable to them, in situations that are on the Security Council's agenda or that may be brought to the attention of the Security Council by the Secretary-General, in accordance with article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations, which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security;

"17. Decides to remain actively seized of this matter."

Background

The Security Council met this morning to begin a day-long review of "Children and Armed Conflict". It had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document A/56/342-S/2001/852), which was issued on 7 September 2001. The report is submitted in accordance with the terms of resolution 1314 adopted by the Council on 11 August 2000.

In that resolution, the Council expressed grave concern at the impact of armed conflict on children and underlined the importance of giving consideration to the special needs and vulnerabilities of girls affected by such conflict. The resolution urged that children's human rights, their protection and welfare be incorporated in the development of policies and programmes, including those for prevention, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.

The resolution also reaffirmed the Council's readiness to continue to include child protection advisers in future peacekeeping operations. The Council further urged all parties to armed conflict to respect international law regarding the rights and protection of children in armed conflict and urged Member States to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

Member States and relevant parts of the United Nations system were also urged to strengthen the capacities of national institutions and local civil society for ensuring the sustainability of local initiatives for the protection of children. Parties to conflicts were also asked to include provisions for the protection of children -- including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of child combatants -- in peace negotiations and agreements, and the involvement of children in those processes. Parties were also urged to abide by concrete commitments made by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General is Olara Otunnu. Appointed in September 1997, his mandate is to promote the protection, rights and welfare of children at every phase of a conflict. As a public advocate on behalf of children who have been brutalized and abused, he has been working to build greater awareness of their problems and to turn global outrage at those continuing abominations into a worldwide movement of repudiation.

Since the 1990 World Summit for Children, the United Nations has increasingly sought to draw international attention to the horrendous plight of children affected by armed conflict. In 1993, following a recommendation by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the General Assembly adopted resolution 48/157 (7 March 1994), recommending that the Secretary-General appoint an independent expert to study the impact of armed conflict on children. Graça Machel, former Minister of Education of Mozambique, was appointed and charged with undertaking the study, with the special support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the United Nations Centre for Human Rights.

In 1996, Ms. Machel submitted her report, entitled "Impact of Armed Conflict on Children" (documents A/51/306 and Add.1), to the Assembly at its fifty-first session. In response, the Assembly adopted resolution 51/77, in which it recommended that the Secretary-General appoint for a period of three years a Special Representative on the impact of armed conflict on children. The Assembly also called upon States and institutions concerned to provide voluntary contributions in support of the work of the Special Representative.

The present progress report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 1314 (2000) stipulates several important measures intended to protect children during and after conflict. It also informs the Council of actions under way to ensure implementation of earlier recommendations of the Secretary-General and other relevant Council resolutions, while highlighting key actions for the future.

The Secretary-General's report states that in recent armed conflicts children have featured centrally as both targets and perpetrators of violence. A large number of them have been directly affected by armed conflict. The Secretary-General adds, however, that the growing awareness of the plight of war-affected children and increasing focus on their protection and rehabilitation have not yet, regrettably, ended children's suffering during and after armed conflict. While there is commendable progress on many fronts, to the children tormented by the effects of armed conflict, efforts to bring about an "era of application" of protective norms and standards fall short both of their expectations and of universally agreed standards.

In addressing the consolidation of the normative framework, the Secretary-General stresses that the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict is one of the core treaties that States are expected to ratify during the forthcoming special session of the General Assembly on children. States are urged to take the necessary steps without further delay to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol. (The special session, which was scheduled to take place in New York from 19 to 21 September, was formally postponed by the General Assembly until 8-10 May 2002, in recognition of the tragedy that struck the United States on Tuesday, 11 September.)

Still addressing the consolidation of the normative framework, the Secretary-General's report also underscores that States, in particular those considering the ratification of the Rome Statute for the Interactive Criminal Court, should review their national legislation with a view to defining the crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court as national crimes, and to ensure that national courts have jurisdiction over them and can prosecute egregious violations of children's rights in the context of armed conflict, wherever they occur.

Regarding the monitoring of obligations and commitments, the report calls upon the Council and Member States to continue to take steps to ensure compliance by all parties to armed conflicts with their child protection obligations and the commitments they have made to his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, as well as relevant United Nations bodies.

The report also suggests that the Council may wish to ensure that the mandates of peace operations explicitly include provisions for the monitoring of the rights of children.

According to the Secretary-General, accurate and current information from a wide variety of sources about the protection of children's rights in conflict situations should be made available to the Council and Member States. In addition, regional organizations are called upon to institute mechanisms for monitoring, and taking steps to curb, the cross-border movement of individuals and groups credibly accused of having violated their child protection commitments and obligations.

Addressing the issue of child protection on the United Nations agenda, the report states that the work of the informal inter-agency working group on the integration of child protection issues into peace negotiation and agreements should receive due attention and follow-up. It is also recommended that the training package developed by the informal working group on child-protection training for peacekeeping personnel should form a core component of training provided to such personnel. Member States are called upon to take similar steps.

The report further suggests that the Council should continue to include child protection elements in the mandates of relevant peacekeeping operations, and to provide for child protection advisers and child-focused human rights officers, where appropriate. The launch of the international research network on children and armed conflict should be supported, as well, notes the report.

Regarding the impact on children of the illicit exploitation of natural resources in zones of conflict, the Secretary-General recommends that the Council continue to consider targeted measures against parties to armed conflict, including complicit neighbours, whose actions contribute to the illegal exploitation of natural resources and the consequent fuelling of conflict. The Council should also continue its development of "strategic maps" of resource flows in zones of conflict characterized by egregious harm to children and civilians. There should be a particular focus on the beneficiaries of those flows, and the supply chains through which illegally procured resources are inserted into legal international markets.

The Secretary-General calls on the Council to consider the inclusion, where feasible, of specific provisions in the mandates of peacekeeping operations to monitor such activity. In addition, it could convene informal consultations with relevant actors, in particular with business leaders, on establishing mechanisms to curb those supply chains.

The report also suggests that multilateral development banks and the international corporate sector conduct "child impact assessments", where feasible, with regard to particular investments and projects that they may be funding in or near zones of conflict. Such assessments will repay their own costs by leading to better relations with local communities and, hence, more viable investments, adds the Secretary-General.

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Statements

Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN told the Council the situation in Afghanistan only reaffirmed the organization's concern for the plight of war-affected children. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Olaru Otunnu, were, therefore, working with his Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, to ensure that the protection of children and civilians was a key part of efforts to restore and rebuild Afghanistan. "This generation of Afghan children must become the harbingers of peace", he said.

He said the resolution that would be before the Council today indicated what everyone had to do to protect children in armed conflict. It called on States to punish conduct that fuelled and exacerbated war. It drew attention to issues such as the recruitment of children and trafficking in arms and natural resources. It also urged donors, lenders and others to use their financial leverage. Further, it insisted that the Council, the United Nations system and the international financial institutions and others use their influence, as well.

The Secretary-General said that field monitoring was essential and he would continue to ensure the deployment of child protection advisers. The Council also needed timely, accurate information about the implementation of its resolutions, and he said he was committed to providing that, adding, "I also stand ready to bring to your attention the identities of parties that are in violation of any part of this resolution."

In conclusion, the Secretary-General said that wars, violence and political instability continued to inflict appalling damage to the children of the world. "I look forward to working with you in the struggle to keep their needs uppermost in our minds, and to ensure that the rights of children and child protection maintain a central role in the Organization's agenda", he said.

Under-Secretary-General OLARA OTUNNU, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, said that since the Council’s first open debate devoted to the protections, rights and rehabilitation of children affected by armed conflict, there had been a progressive integration of those concerns into the peace and security agenda of the United Nations. Despite that progress, however, the overall situation of children exposed to war remained grave and unacceptable.

Reviewing the report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, he referred to measures which were particularly important, in order to change the situation of children on the ground. There was an urgent need, he said, for the international community to organize a more systematic and effective way of monitoring and reporting on the conduct of parties to conflict in relation to their treatment of children. Unless critical knowledge gaps were filled, interventions on behalf of children were unlikely to be effective. He had proposed a Research Agenda on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children to focus on filling knowledge gaps in the specific areas. The idea was to generate research outcomes and products that were responsive to practical needs, and help to inform and strengthen policy–making and action.

He said the coming into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict would constitute a milestone in the collective endeavours to end child soldiering. The international community must undertake tangible action to ensure the application of the Optional Protocol in theatres of conflict through effective monitoring of conduct and the mobilization of concerted pressure. He said a particular scandal was the pillage of natural resources by parties to armed conflict. Resources that should provide for rehabilitation, education, health care and nutrition for children were, instead, being plundered by networks of local, regional and international actors. He suggested that targeted measures be taken against parties to the conflict and others who were complicit, and that peacekeeping mandates should provide for the monitoring of compliance with such measures.

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SHEN GUOFANG (China) said the Security Council had made active efforts to find a solution to the problem of children affected by armed conflict. The proposals and recommendations now before the Council deserved the attention of the entire United Nations system.

He said the most important task was for relevant parties to abide by given legal norms, as well as to implement relevant Council resolutions. Priority should be given to measures aimed at preventing and ending armed conflicts. Only then could the protection of children be fully addressed. He pointed out that efforts to protect the rights of children in Afghanistan and Palestine had not been successful. Hundreds of thousands of Afghan children, for example, would die in the coming winter.

He said the protection of children in armed conflict required joint efforts. The protection of the rights of the child was a basic principle followed by China, which had also signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. He hoped that the various agencies of the United Nations would strengthen coordination and cooperation amongst themselves, vis-à-vis children affected by armed conflict so that they could bring into to play their combined advantages.

His Government would continue to support Mr. Otunnu and the work of his Office and also strengthen the levels of its cooperation.

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AHMED ABOUL GHEIT (Egypt) said recent radical changes in the nature of conflict ignored the rules of international law, in particular humanitarian law, and in permitting all forms of abuse against civilians. Problems affecting children had been aggravated, regardless of international efforts to release child soldiers, reunify them with their families, protect them from organized violence, and promote their rehabilitation into society.

Armed conflict had victimized children in more than 50 countries. Besides the great number of them who had been killed, kidnapped, or besieged, an even greater number had been deprived of their basic emotional, mental and physical needs in societies ravaged by war and conflicts. The main responsibility in bridging the gap and implementing international rules aimed at protecting children lay with the national governments, but the international community had an important role in offering technical and financial support to protect children and foster their rehabilitation. The international community must guarantee the commitment by all parties at war to protect children against exploitation, abuse, violence, rape, displacement, and murder. The world must also bring to justice all those who targeted children.

He said it was high time to put an end to the pain, suffering and cries of the innocent Palestinian children who were still being brutally killed by Israeli forces, thus ignoring all political, international, or even moral commitments. It was the duty of the civilized world, and the role of the Council, to focus on practical measures to protect the lives of those children and promote their rights.

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MOHAMMED A. ALDOURI (Iraq) said he would have preferred the Secretary-General’s report to have made some reference to the situation of children in Iraq and Palestine, particularly since it referred to children in other parts of the world and particularly those in Africa. The issue of children and armed conflict demanded the implementation of an important dictate of the Charter –- to save future generations from the scourge of war. Since children were the most vulnerable in any society, it should be well known that they would be the first affected by armed conflict. Yet, despite the numerous instruments to protect the most vulnerable, there was evidence that some States had no interest in the fate of children and, in some cases, deliberately turned them into targets. That was a deliberate violation of international instruments and an undeniable international crime.

He said that, while the discussion in the Council today about children affected by armed conflict was a positive sign, it should not preclude consideration of the issue in a broader arena such as the General Assembly in which all States had equal footing. The Council had become incapable, through its composition, of dealing with certain conflicts and was even responsible for some where children were deprived of basic rights, including their right to life. Iraqi children, for example, were the first victims of the military aggression by the United States and its allies in 1991. More than 80,000 tons of bombs were launched that hit civilian targets and infrastructure. All of that had a direct and indirect negative impact on children, not to mention the effects of depleted uranium on them.

He went on to say that after that aggression, the United States had imposed, in the name of the United Nations, the most global and unprecedented sanctions regime on an entire people. Those sanctions had killed half a million children under the age of five between 1991 and 1998. The total number of victims to date numbered some 1.6 million, with 5,000 children being killed each month. This was a crime of genocide that was taking place with the full knowledge of the Security Council, which did not even offer the slightest explanation as to why the sanctions against his country were taking place. As if that was not enough, the United States and the United Kingdom continued to wreak vengeance on Iraq.

He said the daily bombing of civilian targets still continued, killing children, causing terror in villages and towns, setting fire to agricultural land and destroying schools. And that all continued despite condemnation by the entire international community and despite the statement by the United Nations that the imposed no-fly zone was the application of unilateral force on the use of air space. He said Palestinians were also subject to occupation, oppression, siege and blockade. Their land had been usurped without the United Nations making an attempt to address the Zionist terrorism that mowed down Palestinian children daily. He hoped the two examples he chose today would show the United Nations and the international community that they were still far from having achieved their objective with respect to commitments made on the issue of children in armed conflict. His delegation would also like to have seen a draft resolution that contained provisions addressing children who were suffering from foreign occupation and embargoes. He hoped that, in the future, the Council would not be so selective on its response to certain issues.

YEHUDA LANCRY (Israel) said children in his region had suffered terribly from decades of conflict and from terrorism. The Middle East had endured more than its share of wars that had left scars on all the people and particularly on the region. For that reason, Israel had supported international initiatives aimed at protecting children from the devastation of conflict, including the landmark Convention on the Rights of the Child. His country’s accession to that instrument was followed by the adoption of Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty – legislation that ensured that the rights of the child were guaranteed constitutional protection. The adoption of that law also sparked a flurry of judicial and legislative activity that broadened and extended Israel’s commitment to the principles of the Convention.

Last week in New York, during the recently concluded general debate, Israel’s Foreign Minister Shimon Peres had signed the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed Conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. That signified his country’s enduring commitment to preserving the innocence of youth, as a fundamental right to be enjoyed by all children. Becoming a signatory to the Optional Protocols was sure to inspire even more revisions to Israel’s legislation. He said children who were taught to hate and to embrace death and violent struggle would not grow up to be responsible adults prepared to live in peace and resolve differences peacefully. They would, instead, believe in power and the virtue of force and violence.

“When it comes to the education of our children, we must take a long view of the situation and consider the well-being of children and the nature of the society they will inherit”, he said. The scars that war and terror inflicted on children were immeasurable, and could result in psychological problems and anti-social behaviour long after the conflict had ended. Children would only be truly sheltered from the horrors of war once terrorism had ended and they were no longer viewed as pawns in a larger struggle.

It was regrettable that Egypt’s representative this morning had failed to mention the dozens of Israeli children decimated recently by Palestinians and also over the years. Egypt had permanently ignored such atrocities as if they had never occurred. His country regretted any harm caused to civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian, and especially to children who should be in school. Those who incited violence and tolerated anti-Semitic rhetoric were also responsible for the abuse of Palestinian children and the suffering that ensued. In conclusion, he reaffirmed that the protection of children in armed conflict was best achieved by ending such conflict. “Our attempts to protect the lives and well-being of our children cannot be separated from our broader efforts to ensure that peace, security and prosperity extend to every region of the world.”

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* The 4420th & and 4421st Meetings were closed.

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