Statement by Minister Counsellor Norberto Moretti
Permanent Mission of
Brazil to the United Nations
Children and Armed Conflict
New York, 16 June 2010
It is an honor to have you preside over the Security Council this morning. I thank the delegation of Mexico for convening this important meeting. I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy for her outstanding work and her remarks today. We also thank the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, Ms. Hilde Frafjord; and the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Atul Khare for their statements. I would like to give particular thanks to Manju for the vivid testimony about her experience as a child soldier in Nepal. I commend her for her courage and determination. It is disturbing that such experiences are repeated, day after day, for thousands of children around the world.
The case for the protection of children in armed conflict is morally compelling. In cases where it involves a threat to international peace and security, the Security Council must take action to prevent and halt violence against children.
The Secretary-General's report demonstrates the success of the work that Ms. Coomaraswamy's office has been carrying out in conjunction with other actors, such as UNICEF. The release of children associated with armed groups in several countries, as described in the report, is cause for genuine celebration. The signing of action plans with groups in the Philippines, the Sudan, and Nepal is also worthy of recognition.
At the same time, the numerous instances in which violations continue unabated are a sobering reminder that much remains to be done.
The Security Council has established a sophisticated system for combating violations against children which is centered on the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism and the Working Group. At the center of this system are action plans with verifiable commitments. We fully concur with the SG in his emphasis on the of contacts between the United Nations and non-State actors in order to prepare and implement these action plans. Such contacts must occur consistently with the respect for the sovereignty of the States involved.
Monitoring violations and gathering accurate information remains a challenge. Close coordination with local authorities and other relevant actors is key. It is also important to identify and compile best practices in this field and consolidate the methodology for collecting data, particularly with regard to sexual violence, where the greatest challenges lie.
Another source of concern is the issue of accountability relating to crimes against children. Improvements in this area require strong support by means of technical assistance and capacity building. It may be worth considering ways for multilateral organizations and governments to cooperate with interested States in that regard. This would be particularly relevant in those cases where shortcomings are mostly due to lack of funding, expertise or judicial structures.
The Council and the Working Group should bear in mind social and economic conditions affecting children in armed conflict. In many situations, poverty and social injustice, although never a justification for violations and abuses against children, make them more likely. The Working Group could make recommendations regarding specific socioeconomic conditions affecting child protection in the context of armed conflict.
Where there is a peacekeeping operation on the ground, child protection should be integrated into the mission-wide protection strategies called for in resolution 1894 (2009). These strategies can include plans to effectively protect educational facilities and to build capacity so that community leaders can help identify - as early as possible - attempts by armed groups to recruit or harass children.
I would like to make two brief points on the functioning of the Working Group. First and foremost, it is imperative that it be provided with sufficient administrative support by the Secretariat, as repeatedly requested in the past. We are especially concerned with the preservation of the group's institutional memory, which is necessary, in particular, for the elected members to adequately participate in its work.
Secondly, we would support efforts to ensure that the working group is able to deal in a timely fashion with the numerous situations on the Group's agenda.
In closing, Mr. President, I wish to reiterate my Government's firm commitment to the protection of children in all situations, not only through the action of the Security Council where violations may affect peace and security, but also in collaboration with the UN's agencies, funds, and programs and through bilateral cooperation.