Children and Armed Conflict: Statement by Ambassador Wittig
The Secretary-General just published his annual report on Children and Armed Conflict. On this occasion Ambassador Wittig, who currently chairs the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflicts, issues the following statement:
"Germany commends Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms Radikha Coomaraswmay and their respective teams for compiling, assessing and verifying a multitude of reports about the situation of children in armed conflict.
This report provides a thorough and credible basis for all our efforts to advance the protection and well-being of children in armed conflict.
We are particularly appalled at reports that the Syrian government forces turned children as young as nine years of age into victims of killing and maiming, arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and sexual violence.
The use of children as human shields and the deliberate targeting of schools and hospitals are especially despicable: these acts demonstrate once again the cruel nature of President Assad's struggle for power.
Germany continues to advocate strongly for an immediate cessation of violence in Syria and for an end to impunity. Crimes against children are unjustifiable under any circumstances and all perpetrators of such crimes have to be held accountable. In the light of the reported grave violations of children's rights we reiterate our call for a Security
Council mandated Commission of Inquiry. At the same time we urge members of the Security Council to swiftly consider measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter in order to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law and all relevant Security Council resolutions.
We welcome that the Secretary-General included reporting on attacks against schools or hospitals as stipulated in resolution 1998(2011). The findings clearly show a need for the international community to act. We strongly encourage those who are newly listed to immediately end their violation of children's rights and to engage with the UN on verifiable steps to do so.
Germany fully supports the Secretary-General's call to increase pressure on persistent perpetrators, including by targeted sanctions. We will work with our partners inside and outside the Security Council to consider further and concrete steps to make sure that those who perpetrate grave violations of children's rights - and especially those who do so persistently - cannot count on impunity."
The 2011 report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict contains detailed information on 32 situations of conflict in which children are recruited as child-soldiers, killed, maimed or sexually abused.
This year one party is newly listed for the killing and maiming of children: the Syrian government forces.
Three parties to conflict are newly listed for the recruitment and use of children: Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North, the Yemeni armed forces and the breakaway First Armored Division.
Following resolution 1998(2011), the report for the first time also
includes parties to conflict that are responsible for attacks on schools or hospitals. The five that are named are: the Taliban, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), Al-Qaida in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Syrian Government