H.E. Ambassador Yusra Khan
Deputy Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations
Security Council Open Debate
“Children and Armed Conflict”
New York, March 7, 2014
Let me first extend my delegation’s appreciation to you for convening this open debate on children and armed conflict, and for your helpful concept paper.
I also wish to thank the Secretary-General, SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, as well as the Executive Director of UNICEF, for their valuable comments.
Our appreciation also goes to Alhaji Babah Sawaneh for willing to share his heartfelt experience, as a former child combatant.
13 years ago too, in this very chamber, Alhaji Babah Sawaneh had narrated how at the tender age of 14 he was trained to shoot by rebels that burnt down houses and killed innocent people.
Since then there has been notable international progress on the protection and promotion of children rights in conflicts. Yet too many children continue to tragically become fodder in the various war zones and hostilities-affected regions.
The draft resolution adopted by the Security Council today, which Indonesia welcomes, it is hoped, will garner greater concrete support for the efforts to safeguard children in conflicts.
Indonesia appreciates the work by the Special Representative along with other relevant UN entities on protecting children. We also take note of the collaboration between her office and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, particularly regarding mainstreaming of children rights issues into important mechanisms such as the Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review, and the treaty bodies.
Indonesia would like to additionally present some of its observations, as follows:
First, we must all contribute to further strengthening of the global normative framework on protection of children in conflicts within the UN system and outside it. It must always be underscored that neither there will be any tolerance for child soldiers nor any lax measures to safeguard children and their rights in conflicts.
While this should be clear in the UN peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, it is crucial that there also be dialogue and cooperation with the national authorities on these issues.
Effective child protection will be enabled when concerned governments and local authorities are closely engaged with and involved in protection efforts. We, therefore, encourage the SRSG to step up her efforts in working closely with the relevant national governments to enhance mutual trust and confidence.
Second, while the UN is uniquely placed to both normatively and operationally advance child-protection in conflicts, it should seek greater partnerships with the wide array of relevant regional organizations and civil-society groups to enhance outcomes.
Particularly because a number of ongoing conflicts have a regional dimension, we are pleased that the SRSG places a priority on partnering withregional and sub-regional organizations. This would bolster the UN agenda on children and armed conflict.
Third, the various UN child-protection actors, including the blue helmets, must be adequately resourced and supported to carry out protection of children in the field. While the UN personnel should be properly equipped and trained on child-protection, they should work closely with the concerned national actors to increase their sensitization and capacities on this imperative as well.
In this regard, we would also highlight the potential enabling of needed capabilities on child-protection through the ongoing UN civilian capacities initiative.
Standing resolutely, we must all ensure that the international human rights and humanitarian laws for the protection of children are not perceived as a challenge.
At home, Indonesia is grateful that our children have the opportunity to live without fear and to grow and develop physically, mentally and socially. To that end, we have enforced measures to ensure the protection and promotion of rights of children through various national laws, targeted strategies and infrastructure.
Indonesia underlines the need to have greater international support for child victims be it former under-age combatants or affectees of violence or displacement. We emphasize greater measures for meeting children physical, educational, health as well as psychological needs that may persist for a long time. We stress the role of family and community in creating a welcoming and enabling environment for former child soldiers along with other effective long-term measures, which help them to become normal and productive members of society.
Also as a State Party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on involvement of children in armed conflict, Indonesia is committed, including through its national peacekeeping center, to improve the training and capacity of its peacekeepers on this subject.
In closing, I would submit that the most important step in protecting children rights is preventing conflict itself. It is essential to build capacities that can assist governments to resolve challenges non-violently. A culture of peace based on the principles of tolerance, rights, responsibilities, reconciliation and co-existence needs to be promoted intensively.
Indonesia in its contributions at the various regional and multilateral organizations, including the different UN forums, will continue to put high priority on safeguarding of children in conflicts.
Thank you, Madame President,
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
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