Statement by Ambassadors Wittig in his capacity as Chairman of the SC Working Group on "Children in Armed Conflict" at Columbia University
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I take the floor, because I think I might have something useful to add to the debate - in my capacity as Chairman of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed conflict,. In particular, I wanted to point out what the UN-Security Council is already doing to protect children in conflict and to fight impunity, and why this has been quite successful so far.
Very briefly, the UN-mechanism dealing with children and armed conflict consists of three elements: the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed conflict, the country-based Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on children and armed conflict, currently active in 13 conflict areas and a Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflicts
The UN Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism collects data about violations in country situations. If perpetrators refuse to cooperate and continue to violate children’s rights, they are named and shamed on the so-called ‘list of shame” Persistent perpetrators may also face targeted sanctions by the Security Council. This has already happened in the case of Cote d’Ivoire and the DR Congo.
In many cases the threat to be put on the list of shame and to face targeted sanctions has been sufficient to convince state and non-state parties to conflict to enter into negotiations with the UN. In this way, thousands of child soldier in conflict zones have been demobilized in the last years alone.
The mechanism started with a focus on recruitment and use of children as soldiers. This was expanded for perpetrators to be put on the list of shame also for cases of rape and sexual violence against children as well as killing and maiming of children in armed conflict.
So far attacks on schools and hospitals in armed conflict does not trigger an inclusion in the list of shame. As the number of attacks against schools and hospitals in many armed conflicts is increasing, the Security Council could consider to expand the mechanism to put more emphasize on the educational needs of children in armed conflict and to help deter future attacks against schools and hospitals. My country will take an initiative to that efect.
We intend to make the issue of attacks against schools and hospitals in armed conflicts one of the priorities of the German Presidency of the Security Council in July this year. I am sure that the UNESCO Global Monitoring Report will provide us with useful informations for this task.