Security Council: Statement by Ambassador Thoms on Children and Armed Conflict

Mar 7, 2014

Mr President,

Please allow me to express my appreciation to you not only for organizing today’s open debate, but also for Luxemburg’s active chairmanship of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. I would also like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and her office for the work in keeping this significant issue at the top of our agenda and very present in the public discourse. Germany aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union.

Mr President,

The Council’s instruments on Children and Armed Conflict are among the most developed and innovative mechanisms at our disposal at the United Nations. They demonstrate the potential of multilateral cooperation and renew our faith in the effectiveness of the Security Council on thematic issues.

In this regard we very much welcome resolution 2143 which has been adopted today. It is another important building block in forming a solid framework for the protection of children in armed conflict. We especially welcome the focus on the importance of protecting schools and hospitals in armed conflict which builds on resolution 1998 adopted during the German Presidency of the Security Council 2011.

Groups which recruit and use children in armed conflict violate the most basic principles of international law, irrespective of whether they are State or non-State actors. They violate the promise that each generation makes to the next: That the world should be left as a more secure and more prosperous place for those who succeed us. That promise is broken every time a child is raped, maimed or killed in an armed conflict.

We are horrified about reports of recruitment and use of children, targeted attacks on schools and hospitals and other grave violations against children in Syria and the Central African Republic. All children in these conflicts need to be protected and perpetrators need to be held accountable.

Mr President,

Iwould like to highlight the following three points: 

First, we must resolutely support the “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign of the Special Representative and UNICEF, which was launched just yesterday: Ending the recruitment and use of children by Government armed forces in conflict by 2016 is a realistic goal. We need to seize upon the existing political will of the concerned governments to realize this objective. Furthermore, the Working Group should continue to request specific briefings from the Special Representative in order to lend nuance to the progress made by Governments in implementing their action plans. Germany stands ready to support those Governments that have committed themselves to ending such recruitment and use of children in conflict by 2016. 

Second, Germany strongly advocates for the continued and comprehensive inclusion of child protection advisors in peacekeeping operations, peacebuilding missions and special political missions. We wholeheartedly support the commitment that the Council made in the resolution adopted today. In this regard, the Council should remain in close contact with child protection advisors in order to provide greater clarity on the training and resource needs for the protection of children in each situation.

And third, the international community must finally seek innovative solutions on how armed non-State actors can be compelled to cease the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. It is important that the Special Representative is also allowed to reach out to non-state actors in order to set up action plans to end violence against children in armed conflict. Such action plans have proven a very effective tool to ensure protection of and a better life for children in conflict situations.  

Mr President,

We have established a system which is good and effective. We should gather all our efforts to ensure that all provisions for the protection of children in armed conflict are implemented fully.

I thank you.

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