YK:n turvallisuusneuvoston avoin keskustelu: Lapset aseellisissa konflikteissa: pysyvän edustajan, suurlähettiläs Jarmo Viinasen pitämä yhteispohjoismainen puhe New Yorkissa 16.6.2010
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
The Nordic countries are heartened that during the past few years the number of conflicts in which child soldiers have been used has decreased. International attention and efforts to eliminate the use of child soldiers and alleviate the suffering of children in situations of armed conflict have intensified. This is largely due to the excellent work by the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy. We would like to reiterate our deep appreciation for her tireless efforts to call perpetrators to account and further develop the international mechanisms to bring an end to this scourge. We would also like to take this opportunity to commend UNICEF for its world-wide efforts to ensure the protection of all children including through its leadership of the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanisms.
At the same time, we have to note that the positive developments have less to do with the efforts of the international community than with the fact that certain armed conflicts in which for example the use of child soldiers has persisted have come to an end. What is particularly disheartening is the fact that the violations of human rights suffered by children seem to be repeated when new crises and armed conflicts flare up. This calls attention to the need to address the root causes of such violations as well as the need for sustained effort to put an end to human rights abuses.
I wish to focus my remarks today on three issues that the Secretary General has also emphasized in his recommendations to the Council today:
1. Strengthening the capacity of the UN system to gather information to ensure that the Council gets timely, accurate and verified information from complex situations on the ground;
2. Allowing the UN to work with Non-State Actors in addressing grave violations against children to ensure action is taken when violations have been reported; and
3. How to take decisive action against cases where violations persist despite repeated condemnations?
The Nordic countries appreciate that for the first time the report of the Secretary General lists parties who have committed either sexual violence or killing or maiming against children. The capacity needed for gathering, verifying and analyzing the information on these crimes is recognized in the report. The Nordic countries support what the Secretary General in his report calls a “conservative approach” taken this year in determining the parties to be listed for these violations, and the self-critical approach in acknowledging the difficulties in information collection. For us, they demonstrate that the Office of the SRSG, the country task forces and all relevant UN and non-UN partners are guided by very high standards of accuracy and verification, despite the often complex situations on the ground.
Nordic countries – both Governments and the civil society – have been committed supporters of UNICEF since its establishment. UNICEF leads the work of the existing 14 Monitoring and Reporting Mechanisms on the ground. We are encouraged by the good cooperation between UNICEF and the Office of the SRSG. We would like to see a similar close relationship develop with actors working on Women, Peace and Security, in particular the new SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict. We also support the involvement of child protection specialists in the preparation and planning of peace-building and peace-keeping missions, as well as a systematic inclusion of child protection advisers to all peacekeeping operations and political and peacebuilding missions.
Information on grave violations is not collected and verified for the sake of having the information but for action to be taken in response in order to make a real difference to children’s lives. We were heartened to learn that in the course of last year the development and agreement to action plans by three non-state armed groups has led to the demobilisation of several thousand child soldiers.
These action plans are a forceful example of why allowing contact between the UN and Non-State actors for the purposes of addressing grave violations of children’s rights is so crucial. We join the call of the Secretary General on all concerned governments to allow the United Nations to work with Non-State actors for effective protection of children.
The presence of the Afghan National Police on the list in annex of the report of the Secretary General represents a special case to the Nordic countries. Several Nordic countries actively support the Afghan National Police in their efforts to enhance the human rights and security situation in the country. We are encouraged by the steps taken so far by the Afghan government to address the issue of recruitment of children, and we stand ready to support the Afghan National Police to this end.
Unfortunately there are also cases where the Security Council does not lack information, it has called for action and maybe even the contact with the armed groups in question has been established, but the violations continue nonetheless. The Nordic Countries express great concern that parties continue to commit grave violations and we appreciate that for the first time the Secretary General’s report has a separate list of “persistent violators” – those parties to a conflict who have been listed for grave violations against children for five or more consecutive years.
The Nordic countries believe it is time for the Security Council to step up its response against these persistent violators. It should also consider more effective measures in response to grave violations in general. We are supportive of the proposals of the Secretary General to include child recruitment and its use in the mandate of all sanctions committees, to improve the flow of information between the working group on children and armed conflict and the sanctions committees, and to invite the SRSG on Children and Armed Conflict to regularly brief the sanctions committees. In this regard we have been encouraged to hear that the SRSG was recently invited to brief the DRC sanctions committeeand hope that the Security Council would decide to make this a regular practice.
Lastly, fight against impunity, including through our continuing support to the International Criminal Court, is of course a both preventive and responsive measure to combat grave violations against children.
Thank you, Mr. President.