Mrs. Angella Hamilton-brown
Deputy permanent representative
Of jamaica to the united nations
At the 2nd Ministerial forum on the paris commitments
And principles relating to children associated
With armed forces and armed groups
During the 64TH SESSION OF THE
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Tuesday, 29TH SEPTEMBER 2009
I take this opportunity to congratulate the Government of France not only for its initiative in organizing this Ministerial Forum; but also for its efforts in the ongoing follow-up process to ensure broad support for the Paris Commitments and Principles relating to children associated with armed forces and armed groups. Let me also express, on behalf of the Government of Jamaica, appreciation to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms Radhika Coomaraswamy and to UNICEF for their efforts and invaluable contribution to initiatives for the protection of children, and in particular, those affected by armed conflict.
The welfare and protection of children is a cornerstone of Jamaica’s national policy which also translates into action at the regional and international levels.
As we recently contemplated endorsement of the Paris Commitments and Principles, Jamaica noted with concern the statement made by the Special Representative, that “it has been a terrible year for children living in situations of armed conflict around the world,” citing ferocious conflicts in various countries and regions and the negative impact on children.
We concur with the view held by the Special Representative “that in order to halt grave violations against children, addressing impunity and holding perpetrators accountable must remain a priority of the international community.” We lend our voice in support and endorsement of Resolution 1882 adopted by the Security Council last month, which seeks to further advance the child protection agenda not only on recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts, but also on killing and maiming, as well as rape and other grave sexual violence against children.
While it is acknowledged that the situation addressed in the Instruments at the centre of today’s deliberations is not of direct relevance to Jamaica, the goals outlined are supported by my Government in view of our commitment to children’s welfare at all levels and our role in the Peacebuilding Commission which calls for comprehensive action for the reintegration of child victims of armed violence.
As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Jamaica remains steadfast in our mission to vastly improve the situation of children. Ratification of the Convention by Jamaica in 1991 was a first major step that signalled this resolve.
The Government of Jamaica stands firm by our commitment to improve the lives of the nation’s children, who account for over thirty-seven percent (37.1%) of the population. In this regard, Jamaica has implemented a comprehensive policy to counter violence against children, with the involvement of non-governmental organizations and civil society.
The problem of child soldiers and the involvement of children in situations of armed conflict do not exist in Jamaica. Nevertheless, Jamaica strongly deplores the exploitation of children in this manner and wherever it occurs. We are therefore heartened by reports by the Special Representative on progress made in seeking to address the problem, and success with reintegration of former child soldiers.
Jamaica therefore has no difficulty supporting the Paris Commitments and Principles relating to children associated with armed forces and armed groups and we formally communicated our endorsement to the Government of France.
In concluding, Mr. Chairman, I reiterate Jamaica’s commitment to advancing the welfare of the children by continuing on the path to creating a protective environment for them. Our children are our future. We must strengthen our resolve to secure that future if we truly want to secure A World Fit for Children, as envisioned by the General Assembly in 2002.
I thank you for your attention.