Intervention by Sweden at the UN Security Council Arria Formula meeting on Children and Armed Conflict
Intervention by Ambassador Irina Schoulgin Nyoni on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Arria Formula meeting on “Children and Armed Conflict: Protecting Boys and Girls in Shrinking Humanitarian Space”, 12 February 2019, New York.
Thank you to all the co-hosts for organising this important and very timely meeting. Thanks also to all the panellists for interesting briefings and important testimonies.
As most of you know, making progress on the Children and Armed Conflict-agenda was one Sweden’s key political priorities during our term on the Security Council. I am extremely pleased to see that Belgium and others now are continuing the work to press for strong Council engagement and effective implementation on the ground. Thank you for this. We may have left the Council, but we will certainly remain engaged on this issues here in New York and globally.
Today, I would briefly like to make three points:
Firstly, children should always be treated primarily as victims. There has been some progress in the fight against recruitment of child soldiers and more attention is now given to how children’s rights are proctected in peace agreements. However, sadly international humanitarian law and human rights law violations and abuses against children in many conflicts around the world continue. There is much more work to be done here.
Secondly, the Security Council needs to do more and do better. Children and Armed Conflict should not just be on the Council’s agenda during the annual Open Debate. As others have mentioned, it needs to be discussed and integrated across the board in the work of the Council, in geographical contexts and in mandate negotiations, in discussions on budgets and resources and in debates on how to build and sustain peace. The SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict should be invited to brief the Council more often, like we did during our Presidency of the Council in July last year, for the debate on the humanitarian situation in Syria.
And thirdly, the decisions of the Council need to be operationalised. Resolutions, PRSTs and mandates need to be implemented. They need to be politically prioritised here in New York and in the field, in Missions and in RC-offices (as well as in capitals and embassies by the way). And they need to be properly resourced. Child Protection Advisors need to be given the resources they need to carry out their important work in UN Missions. Actors involved in mediation and peace processes need to have the right tools and guidance to integrate child protection in their activities. This last issue was highlighted in Security Council resolution 2427 and a process to develop this capacity was launched by the Secretary General, my Prime Minister and SRSG Gamba in July last year. This work is ongoing, and we look forward to see the results.
Thank you again for organizing this meeting, and for continuing being champions of the rights, safety and dignity of children around the world.