UN Security Council open debate on the Children and Armed Conflict
“Providing children protection and prevention of grave violations of their rights shall remain a fundamental priority within the UN,” – stressed Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz in his speech during the open debate on the children and armed conflict. The event inaugurated Polish presidency of the UN Security Council throughout August.
The debate participants discussed the means of strengthening of the international system of protection for children suffering from violence and abuse in conflicts. The discussion was based on the Secretary-General’s report on children in armed conflicts for 2018. The international community showed great interest in the discussion – 84 UN member states took the floor.
“Conflicts deprive children of one of their basic needs and rights – safety,” noted Minister Czaputowicz. The SG report shows that in conflicts around the world, children are being maimed, abducted and attacked, recruited to fight, sexually abused, and denied humanitarian aid. “Such traumas deprive them of childhood, dignity and leave permanent marks on their adult lives,” said the minister and pointed out that protecting children affected by armed conflict is a joint responsibility that requires a collective response.
In his speech, Minister Czaputowicz focused on the protection of vulnerable groups, particularly girls in the context of sexual abuse and the disabled people. He underscored that during an armed conflict, children with disabilities are more likely than others to experience violence. He also added that although the fundamental legal framework is in place, girls and boys with disabilities continue to remain among the most marginalized and excluded. “We are proud that on Poland’s initiative the Security Council adopted resolution 2475 on persons with disabilities in June 2019,” he added.
Minister Jacek Czaputowicz also noted that protection of vulnerable and fragile groups of children namely: refugees, internally displaced persons, and children with war trauma, remains one of the priorities of Polish development cooperation. “Poland has been assisting the youngest victims of conflict in eastern Ukraine with psychological support, and providing the most basic needs – shelter, rehabilitation and education in the Middle East,” underlined the minister.
On the sidelines of the debate, Minister Czaputowicz met with Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba. They talked about Poland’s continued involvement in the issue of children in conflicts and further cooperation with the office of Special Representative.
Promoting the issue of children in armed conflicts is one of the priorities of our country’s membership of the UN Security Council. Poland enjoys an established position as a country shaping the concept of children’s rights. Warsaw initiated the creation and participated in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In 2019, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of its adoption.
This is the second Polish presidency of the UN Security Council since Poland became a non-permanent Council member. The presidency agenda covers many events besides the open debate on children and armed conflict. On 13 August a high level briefing will be held devoted to international humanitarian law, while on 20 August the UN SC will discuss security issues in the Middle East. An informal Council meeting on the security of members of religious minorities is scheduled for 22 August.
MFA Press Office
Photo: Tymon Markowski / MFA