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Les enfants et les conflits armés - Réunion du Conseil de sécurité - Communiqué de presse (extraits) Français
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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
Security Council
29 April 2009



Security Council
SC/9646

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

Security Council
6114th Meeting (AM & PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO ADDRESS WIDESPREAD IMPACT OF ARMED

CONFLICT ON CHILDREN, AFTER HEARING OVER 60 SPEAKERS IN DAY-LONG DEBATE

Former Child Soldier from Uganda Offers Testimony;
Secretary-General Urges Council to ‘Strike a Blow against Impunity’


The Security Council today reaffirmed its commitment to address the widespread impact of armed conflict on children and expressed its intention to consider bolstering its measures to protect war-affected children by targeting parties who not only recruited them as combatants, but those who killed, maimed, raped or committed other grave sexual violence against them, with the expectation of taking action on the matter by the end of July.

Capping a day-long meeting during which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the 15-nation body to “strike a blow against […] impunity”, by, at a minimum, expanding its criteria to include on the so-called “list of shame”, parties committing rape and other serious sexual violence against children in armed conflict, the Council adopted a presidential statement(S/PRST/2009/9) reiterating its strong condemnation of all such acts and violations of international law regarding the protection of children.

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Briefings

RADHIKA COOMARASWAMY, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, ...

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She said her most recent field trips had been to Gaza and southern Israel and to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. ...

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Turning to Gaza and southern Israel, which she visited days after the fighting had ended, she said children, teachers and parents in Gaza were in a state of shock.  The children had demanded accountability and the international community must respond.  The crossings must be opened and reconstruction must begin in haste.  In southern Israel, where children also lived in fear, girls and boys had spoken freely of reaching out to their Palestinian brothers and sisters.

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ANN M. VENEMAN, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said the collective engagement at the highest possible levels was making a real difference in the lives of children by serving as a strong platform for advocacy.  Millions of children continued to be impacted by armed conflict.  Conflict was all they knew.  It was no surprise that under-5 mortality rates were among the highest in conflict-affected countries.  Children were not only the unintended victims of war, they were in some cases directly targeted.

She said she had met with girls who had been brutally raped by soldiers and scarred for life.  Some had contracted HIV.  In places such as Afghanistan, schools had been attacked.  In Gaza, schools had been damaged or destroyed.  Sadly, the report illustrated disrespect for the sanctity of schools.  “Children remain the victims of the wars of adults,” she said.

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Statements

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VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said he supported the Secretary-General’s appeal to pay attention to all grave violations of children, as well as his recommendation for including killing and maiming and sexual violence in the annexes.  He condemned the use of force against civilians and disproportionate use of force such as had been used by Georgia in 2008.  Also, one could not pass over violations of international humanitarian law by Israel in Gaza.  He called upon the parties to conflict to abide by international humanitarian law and to refrain from using force against civilians.

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MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) ...

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Reviewing the document before the Council, she was particularly struck by instances where a variety of State actors were engaged in violence against children or in behaviour that endangered children; States bore a special responsibility in that regard.  From the mountains of Afghanistan to the towns in Gaza and the villages in Africa, children in armed conflicts must find in States an active protector and never an agent of violence, even if unintended.

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GABRIELA SHALEV ( Israel) ...

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She said terrorism deliberately targeting civilians, including children, continued to plague many regions in the world.  The recent armed conflict between Israel and the Hamas terrorist entity in Gaza had been initiated by Hamas’ year-long barrage of rockets and mortars into southern Israel, often launched in close proximity to schools and hospitals.  During the conflict, Hamas terrorists had hidden among Gaza’s civilian population, using them as human shields.  Although children had been trained, indoctrinated and used by Hamas, the Secretary-General’s report had stated that community members were reluctant to provide information on such cases.  As childhood indoctrination into prejudice, hatred and the ways of terrorism had devastating effects, more attention should be paid to that practice in the reports of the Special Representative.

Although the Special Representative was a tireless advocate for children, certain aspects of her work deserved more careful examination, especially those aspects in reports that relied heavily on unsubstantiated allegations, she said.  That practice was so extensive as to cast a shadow over those reports.  She urged the Office of the Special Representative to carefully document and vet sources of information.  More intensive work should be done to ensure the long-term effectiveness of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes.  The longer children languished in camps, the dimmer the prospects were for their effective reintegration.  A candid assessment of the Working Group’s impact on various situations should be carried out, in order to arrive at best practices.

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MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said young boys and girls in situations of armed conflict were being submitted to atrocities and were deprived of their childhood.  The children of Gaza had been confronted with war, with severe consequences for their psychological well-being.  Children were systematically recruited by armed groups.  The specific resolutions adopted by the Council had culminated in important mechanisms that had yielded important progress, including the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, which had led to the release of children.  Still, progress had been limited.  The United Nations and the Council’s will was necessary to promote national measures aimed at protecting children, establishing disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes and prevention of recruitment. 

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MOHAMED EDREES (Egypt) said that, despite all efforts and field visits, the report had shown that violence against children still prevailed in armed conflict situations and that it also had taken new forms.  The United Nations should study the root causes of the increase of the use of children in armed conflicts.  The mass atrocities committed by the Israeli Defence Forces against children in Lebanon and the Palestinian Occupied Territories had been recorded by the report.  He demanded that the Council guarantee Israel’s cooperation with the United Nations and hand over the necessary information on the cluster bomb sites in Lebanon. 

He said the report had revealed grave violations perpetrated by Israel against Palestinian children in Gaza.  Describing those violations, he said the Council must guarantee that they were effectively addressed, with the aim of further preventing them and bringing the perpetrators to justice.  The Council should give attention to the implementation of the recommendations adopted by the Committee of the Rights of the Child upon reviewing the first report submitted by Israel in 2002, which had been completely ignored by the Government of Israel.  He also demanded that Israel implement the recommendations adopted by the Human Rights Council during its last session.

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ALYA AHMED AL-THANI ( Qatar) ...

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The Israeli aggression against Gaza that began at the end of last year had been a prime example of how the destruction of schools and hospitals could be used to uproot children and sow despair for generations to come.  With that in mind, the First Lady of Qatar had begun a wide-ranging campaign aimed at ensuring that the education of children was not disrupted during times of conflict.   Qatar, meanwhile, would call on the international community to continue to press for an independent investigation into Israeli aggression in Gaza, especially its deliberate targeting of schools and shelters and obstruction of humanitarian access to that area.

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For information media • not an official record

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