General Assembly Security Council

UN Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict:

How to Advance Our Collective Norms Towards

Protecting Children and Ending All Grave Violations

[Wednesday, 26 June 2024]

 

Statement by Ambassador R. Ravindra, Charge d'Affaires & Deputy Permanent Representative

 

Thank you Mr. President,

 

At the outset, I thank the delegation of the Republic of Korea for organizing this open debate on Children and Armed Conflict. I also note with appreciation the insights of all briefers.

 

Mr. President,

 

2. This year marks 25 years since the adoption of UNSC resolution 1261 on ‘Children and Armed Conflict’. Over the years, the annual debate has brought to fore the challenges faced by children in situations of armed conflict and helped the international community to recognize the importance of preventing and ending violations against children. Towards this end, we greatly appreciate the work of office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General.

 

3. However, there remains much progress to be made with the changing landscape of armed conflicts and the varied nature of vulnerabilities that children face. The magnitude and severity of grave violations against children in armed conflict situations is a matter of deep concern. This year’s SG report presents a sobering account of the escalating threats faced by children in the conflict zones. Terrorists and armed groups continue to commit majority of the violations.

 

4. In this context, let me make following five points:

 

i) National governments have the primary responsibility for protecting the rights of the child as mandated by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We continue to encourage Member States to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and to adopt robust legal frameworks for protection and promotion of child rights.

 

ii) The abuse, exploitation, sexual violence and other grave violations against children committed by terrorists need greater focus and determined action. Children remain particularly vulnerable to indoctrination through violent extremist ideologies designed to foment terrorism. This challenge can only be overcome by resolute action by governments on whose territory such entities operate.

 

iii) The importance of quality education and skill development to mitigate negative consequences cannot be overemphasized. Use of digital tools to provide education, vocational training and psycho-social support open up new opportunities for children in conflict situations. Protecting schools, especially girls’ schools, and health care facilities and its personnel, must be accorded priority.

 

iv) There is need for a more inclusive approach to provide protection to child victims of armed conflicts. Those children who face relocation and reintegration require special attention. Children who grow up in conflict and post-conflict situations often need a fresh start.

 

v) Based on our experience in UN peacekeeping over the decades, we recognize the importance of having sufficient resources and requisite number of child protection advisers in peacekeeping missions for effective child protection programmes.

 

5. The right to a joyful childhood, leading to a life full of opportunities, is the fundamental right of every child. The health, education and creative abilities of our children and young people will determine the well-being and strength of humanity. Children are the future of the world. Let me conclude by reiterating India’s firm commitment to supporting the UN in its endeavors to protect children in situations of armed conflict. Thank you.

 

6. Before I conclude, let me respond briefly-in the interest of time, to remarks which were obviously politically motivated and unfounded, made by one representative, earlier against my country. I categorically dismiss and condemn these baseless remarks with the contempt they deserve. This is nothing but another habitual attempt to divert attention from the grave violations against children that continue unabated in his own country, as highlighted in this year’s Secretary-General’s report on Children and Armed Conflict.

 

7. As for as Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh concerned, they were, are, and always, will be an integral and inalienable part of India, irrespective of what this particular representative or his country believes or wishes.

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