Spindelegger: “The battlefield is no place for children”
Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger launches appeal on International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers
Vienna, 12 February 2013 – “In recent weeks, we were unfortunately once again confronted with reports of the alleged use of child soldiers during conflicts in Mali and the Central African Republic. The international community must not tolerate this and make it clear to the responsible parties that the recruitment and use of child soldiers constitute serious crimes that they must be held accountable for”, said Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger today to mark the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers. “At the same time, we must raise awareness among governments for protecting children in armed conflicts and to prevent them from falling into the hands of armed groups”, Spindelegger continued.
“The battlefield is no place for children and adolescents. Governments are responsible for protecting civilians and children in particular from the effects of armed conflicts”, the Foreign Minister added.
Over recent years, Austria has continuously worked to strengthen the international monitoring mechanisms that detect the use of children in armed conflicts and also striven to step up efforts to prosecute those responsible for recruiting child soldiers, for instance through the International Court of Justice. “In particular, I would like to express my appreciation for the work of civilian organisations in Austria, such as the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution in Stadtschlaining, who have been actively engaging with this issue for many years. We will not tire in our efforts to root out the use of child soldiers worldwide, until the idea of children on a battlefield will finally be consigned to the history books”, the Vice-Chancellor concluded.
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