H.E. Mr. Rezlan Ishar Jenie
Before open Debate
United Nations Security Council
“Children in Armed Confict”
New York, 28 November 2006
The delegation of Indonesia would like to thank the Secretary-General for his report. We note the work of and information provided by United Nations country-level monitoring and reporting task force teams. Such mechanisms, using all available sources, will enable us arrive at an accurate and balanced picture of what is happening on the ground.
Indonesia is fully committed to facilitating the implementation of the various Security Council resolutions aimed at ending the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict situations. We firmly believe that children should be arming themselves with education and the necessary social skills so that they can become productive members of stable, peaceful, well-governed, developing societies.
While it is true that the Secretary-General’s report inspires some sense of hope for betterment in the future, there are current matters demanding immediate attention. One such matter is the continued availability of small arms and light weapons which enables the recruitment of child soldiers. Access to these arms should be severely curtailed.
Another issue of concern is the plight of children caught up in conflict situations in the Middle East, such as recently occurred in Lebanon where greater number of children were killed than combatants. We believe that the Security Council should react in an urgent manner to prevent the loss of life of children in that region. In particular, action is necessary to protect the lives of children who are victims of the unresolved Palestinian problem which is at the heart of the on-going Middle East crisis.
Apart from these known challenges, the Secretary-General’s report also draws our attention to emerging situations that are giving cause for great concern. We are now faced with the painful reality of combatants crossing borders to recruit and use children in armed conflicts. We are also hearing of new centres of recruitment in different regions by illegal armed groups. More detailed information should be forthcoming about these situations so that appropriate action can be taken early to deal with them.
Because of the many dimensions of the challenge created by children’s involvement in armed conflicts, initiatives must be taken simultaneously on several fronts to ensure that consistent progress is made in solving this problem. In addition to involving the Peacebuilding Commission in the process to prevent recruitment of child soldiers, it is also essential to encourage State adherence to the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a means of eliminating this practice. It would be equally helpful for appropriate national legislation to be enacted prohibiting recruitment and so shielding children at risk.
Indonesia is pleased that the United Nations has developed and is implementing a comprehensive strategy to build strong discipline among all categories of its peacekeeping personnel and that troop-contributing countries are also being mobilized to help deal with the problem of child sexual exploitation and abuse. This will serve to curb the occurrence of this hideous practice. It is imperative that peacekeepers uphold the trust the local population and the international community have placed in them.
My delegation notes with concern the recommendation that the Security Council should consider expanding its focus to include all categories of grave violations against children in armed conflict. It is our strong belief that such consideration should involve the wider participation of Member States. This will increase sensitivity to the issue and strengthen commitment in that regard.
The continued protection of vulnerable children will require adequate, sustained, reliable funding. Without funding, the long-term sustainability and success of current initiatives are put at grave risk. For the sake of the children whose lives are being disrupted by unscrupulous individuals, it is vital that adequate resources and funding be available to all stakeholders involved in combating this practice.
I thank you.
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