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Statement by Ambassador Wang Min at the Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict



Mr. President,

The Chinese delegation welcomes the United Kingdom’s initiative to convene this debate on children and armed conflict. I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Zerrougui; the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, Ms. Brandt; and the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Ladsous, for their briefings. I have also listened to the statement by Mr. Ramm, the representative of Save the Children.

Children carry the hope for human progress. The ability of children to grow up in a secure and safe environment depends on the caring and joint efforts of all Governments and the international community as a whole. However, in many parts of the world, children are the most vulnerable group and are subject to the suffering caused by armed conflict. The protection of children in armed conflict is the abiding obligation of all parties to a conflict.

China is greatly concerned by violations of the rights and interests of children and supports the tireless efforts of the United Nations — and the Security Council in particular — to use their respective advantages to protect children in armed conflict on the basis of their respective mandates. I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the following.

First, to protect children from harm in armed conflict, it is crucial to prevent and resolve armed conflicts. The Security Council should focus on the maintenance of international peace and security as its primary responsibility and give priority to preventive diplomacy through mediation and good offices. Efforts should be made to prevent, mitigate and resolve conflicts by addressing their root causes. That is the best way to protect children and is much more significant than providing remedies in the aftermath of conflicts. All conflicts are not the same, and the Security Council, when addressing issues concerning children and armed conflict, should not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. Although sanctions are one way to address threats to international peace and security, they alone cannot remove the root causes of those problems.

Secondly, Governments bear the primary responsibility for protecting children in armed conflicts. To ensure the effectiveness of mechanisms for the protection of children in armed conflicts, the Government concerned should play a leading role. Communication and coordination with Governments should be strengthened. The mechanism for the protection of children in armed conflict should heed and respect the views of the Government concerned through dialogue, coordination and consultation. Priority should be given to supporting and helping the Government concerned in its efforts to protect children and their rights and interests. China urges the parties to armed conflict to carry out their relevant obligations, abide by international humanitarian law and respect and safeguard the rights and interests of children.

Thirdly, the protection of children in armed conflict requires that the international community, in its efforts at post-conflict reconstruction, adopt a comprehensive strategy aimed at creating a conducive security and social environment for the healthful development of children. The international community should give priority to the reintegration of children into their families and societies and to their continued schooling, so that they can resume normal lives.

We encourage UNICEF, the World Bank and other international organizations to strengthen their coordination and cooperation and use their respective advantages in the joint effort to help countries in conflict to build their capacity to protect children and to aid them in their efforts to eliminate poverty, to provide universal education and to work towards sustainable development.

China will continue to work with all parties in an effort to improve the situation of children in armed conflict and will do its utmost to maintain international peace and security so as to save children from the suffering of war.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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