SC Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict
New York, 16 July 2011
At the outset, I would like to welcome the German Presidency not only for convening this debate but for its excellent work and efforts in the Security Council in order to strengthen the protection of children in situations of armed conflict, including the outcome of today’s debate. Furthermore I wish to thank SRSG Coomaraswamy and her Office for their tireless efforts and important work; we appreciate the close cooperation between SRSG Coomaraswamy and the SRSG on sexual violence in conflict, Margot Wallström.
[Austria aligns itself with the statements made by the European Union, the Human Security Network and the Group of Friends.]
Austria welcomes the adoption of today’s resolution which will strengthen the existing child protection framework by expanding the triggers of the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on children and armed conflict. The increase of attacks on schools and hospitals, including the specific targeting of girls, are deeply worrying and need to be clearly condemned and followed-up upon. The further expansion of the trigger requires an increased monitoring and reporting capacity of the UN, and close cooperation between all child protection actors becomes even more important.
We welcome the Council’s resolve – as reaffirmed in today’s resolution – to take action against those parties to conflict that persist in committing violations and abuses against children, including by the adoption of targeted measures. Resolution 19XX provides a clear road-map to ensure respect for the Council’s resolutions on children and armed conflict. We welcome in this respect the Council’s intention to ensure that provisions pertaining to violations of applicable international law committed against children are included as listing criteria for its Sanction regimes. The DRC Sanctions Committee provides a good model in this regard and we highly appreciate the exchange of information between SRSG Coomaraswamy and the 1533-Committee, which entailed concrete action. Second, we would like to encourage the Council to consider using all tools at its disposal, including the imposition of targeted measures, to take action against persistent perpetrators in country situations where no Sanctions Committee is in place.
We agree with the Secretary-General that direct contact between the United Nations country teams and non-State actors is important in order to prepare and implement action plans and thereby ensure the effective protection of children.
Finally, we encourage the Council to continue to include child protection provisions in the mandates of peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions and would like to highlight the importance of training for both military and civilian peacekeeping personnel. In this context, Austria warmly welcomes DPKO’s Training Initiative to promote child protection through comprehensive training on child protection and child rights to all peacekeeping personnel, including by reviewing the existing training materials.
Mr. President, let me close by expressing my appreciation for the work of the Working Group on Children and armed conflict under the German chairmanship. Austria is pleased to hear about the Secretary-General’s efforts to establish a working arrangement for the Secretariat and encourages continued support to the Council’s Working Group on Children and armed conflict.
I thank you.