|Statement by Ambassador Li Baodong at the Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict|
I welcome Germany’s initiative in convening today’s meeting. I thank Special Representative of the Secretary- General Zerrougui, Under-Secretary-General Ladsous and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake for their respective briefings. I also listened carefully to the statement made by Mr. Tolbert.
China attaches great importance to the issue of the protection of children in armed conflict. China condemns violations against children in situations of armed conflict and rejects the recruitment and use of child soldiers. China supports the continued efforts of various United Nations agencies to promote the protection children in armed conflict, in accordance with their mandates and bringing into full play their respective expertise and strengths. In that connection I would like to emphasize the following four points.
First, in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, the Council should address the issue of the protection children in armed conflict as a priority. The protection of children is an integral part of its overall efforts to prevent and settle conflicts. The problems and the root causes of the abuse of children in conflict must be addressed, by tackling the root
causes of conflict and increasing preventive diplomacy. The Security Council should encourage and support the peaceful settlement of disputes by such means as good offices, mediation and negotiation. Only actions to prevent and reduce armed conflicts and to promote post-conflict reconstruction, including comprehensive measures to ensure the reintegration of children into society, will help create a favourable social and security environment.
Secondly, Security Council resolutions on the protection children in armed conflict must be strictly implemented. All parties to a conflict have the obligation to respect and protect the rights of children. An objective and just approach should be adopted on the question of the protection of children, so as to prevent the politicization of the issue and the application of different standards for different conflict situations. Arbitrary interpretation of Security Council mandates and actions, beyond the authorization of the Council, will be nothing but detrimental to the common efforts of the international community to protect children.
Thirdly, countries in armed conflict bear the primary responsibility to protect their children. The sovereignty of countries in conflict should be respected. The key to the implementation of relevant resolutions and the effective implementation of various initiatives to protect children lies in support, cooperation and action on the part of the countries concerned. Strengthening capacities of countries in armed conflict should receive sufficient attention. Sanctions should remain as the last resort available to the Council to address situations that pose a threat to international peace and security. China has always advocated caution in adopting sanction measures.
Fourthly, the Secretary-General’s report on the question of children and armed conflict sets out important principles for actions by the Council. Safeguarding the authority of the report will facilitate the implementation of Council resolutions and strengthen cooperation among Member States on the issue. In drafting such reports attention should be paid to communication with the Governments concerned and the information provided by the countries concerned. In considering the Secretary-General’s reports, the Security Council should listen fully to the opinions of all parties and in particular those of the parties concerned.
Thank you, Mr. President.