Vienna, 19 November 2010 Press release

Spindelegger: „Offenders need to be ostracised internationally”

Foreign Minister on International Children’s Rights Day

Vienna, 19 November 2010 – “Children are among those most affected by wars. Many of them are deprived of their future. Children frequently end up between the battle lines, are exploited as child soldiers, and are victims of murder, rape and mutilation. We should not turn away from this essential issue. The offenders must be ostracised internationally”, Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger stated on the occasion the International Children’s Rights Day on November 20, 2010.

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the last two years Austria has put a strong emphasis on the protection of civilians in armed conflict – in particular, of women and children: in November 2009, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1894 under Austria’s chairmanship. Resolution 1894 demands adherence to international standards for the protection of civilians by parties to a conflict and lays the foundation for the effective implementation of peacekeeping operations. Moreover, Austria provided active support for the adoption of UN Resolution 1882, which extends the protection of children in armed conflicts. This resolution asks the UN Secretary-General to annually present a black list of armed groups which deploy child soldiers, abuse children sexually, and kill or mutilate them.

Despite great progress, the battle against violations of children’s rights must be consistently continued. “We must stride forward, particularly with regard to the battle against ‘repeat offenders’, conflict parties which keep recruiting child soldiers”, continued the Foreign Minister. Austria financially supports a UNICEF project aimed at combating children’s recruitment and violence against children in armed conflict as well as promoting children’s re-integration into society.

Austria is currently a candidate for a seat in the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council for the period of 2011 to 2014. Since June 2009, Austria has been a member of an open working group which deals with the protection of children in armed conflict within the Human Rights Council: “Children need to be protected and should be given the opportunity to assert their rights. In this plenum we have set the goal of establishing a system of complaints which will render the assertion of child rights more accessible.”, concluded Spindelegger.

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