At the Security Council meeting on Children and Armed Conflict, United Nations Member States reaffirmed their commitment to the universal protection of the safety and security of children in zones of conflict. The opening session began with introductory remarks by newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Leila Zerrougui. Security Council members then expressed concerns over the protection of the rights of children, particularly in conflict areas where they continue to face the threats of violence, abuse and death.
Participants reiterated the need for innovative and practical approaches in future policy making. Many speakers emphasized the implementation of unique and robust targeting measures against perpetrators committing grave violations with impunity. Members States outlined their specific national capacity frameworks for the protection of children and armed conflict. Many states stressed the need to address accountability gaps, as it is part of the Council’s role in upholding international peace and security.
H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, delivered a statement on the situation in Afghanistan and the impact of conflict on the children of the country. Afghanistan has witnessed violations of children’s rights in the last decade, as a direct result of terrorism and violence in the country. Ambassador Tanin reiterated the Afghan Government’s commitment to protecting children and fostering their development. Ambassador Tanin listed a few achievements of the Afghan Government such as the establishment of the General Directorate of Human Rights Protection by the Ministry of Justice, as well as commencement of the draft of a comprehensive legal code to protect the Afghan children.
Ambassador Tanin noted that Afghanistan remains committed to the investigation and perpetration of groups and individuals involved in underage recruitment. Quoting Afghanistan’s Ministry of the Interior, he said, “in no circumstances shall individuals under 18 or over 35 be recruited or deployed to military services.”
Afghanistan, like many states who have experienced armed conflict, stressed the need for collective international action to push forward the protection of children both regionally and globally. The lively debate among Member States generated a needed focus on the issue of children and armed conflict worldwide.