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Statement by Ambassador WU Haitao at the Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict


China would like to welcome you to the Security Council, Mr. President, and to thank you for presiding over today’s open debate. We also thank Secretary-General Guterres and Special Representative Gamba for their briefings. We listened attentively to the representative of civil society.

Children are the future and hope of the world, and also its most vulnerable group. With the increasing escalation and spread of armed conflicts and terrorist activities, problems of the abduction of children and their exploitation in terrorist attacks are worsening. The displacement of children in areas in turmoil is also an increasingly serious problem, while their circumstances in relation to security, health care, education and other humanitarian problems are a continuing source of concern. The international community must take such new realities and trends into consideration and take concrete measures to protect children in armed conflicts.

We should first continue to fight terrorism in all its forms in order to keep children from harm. The international community should have zero tolerance towards terrorism, whatever the situation, and should resolutely combat crimes in which terrorist groups kill, abuse or kidnap children. The international community should take effective measures and work together to combat terrorist groups’ abuse of the Internet and social media to spread violent or terrorism-related audiovisual content with the aim of finding recruits and inciting violent or extreme activities. Efforts should be made to ensure that children’s minds are not poisoned through the dissemination of terrorist and extremist ideologies. We should pay great attention to the role of families, schools and communities in helping children fight the influence of extremist or terrorist thinking.

Secondly, we should respect the leadership of the countries concerned and create a solid basis for child protection. It is the Governments of countries in conflict that have the primary responsibility to protect their children, and therefore the key to implementing resolutions, programs and plans aimed at protecting children lies in promoting the efforts and coordination of the countries involved. The international community should encourage those countries to take on their full leadership role and provide them with support and assistance in building their capacity for child protection on the basis of respecting their sovereignty. Through its monitoring and reporting mechanism for children in armed conflict, the Security Council should strengthen its dialogue and communication with Governments, listen to their voices and coordinate actively with them.

Thirdly, we should increase our international humanitarian assistance and provide concrete help to children affected by armed conflict. While taking an approach that respects the sovereignty of countries in conflict, the international community should uphold the principles of humaneness, impartiality and justice in ensuring that children affected by armed conflicts have access to food, health care, education and other humanitarian assistance. The United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization and the World Food Programme should strengthen their mutual coordination, while the United Nations as a whole should also improve its coordination with regional and subregional organizations.

Fourthly, we should have an integrated strategy and work to establish international synergy in the area of child protection. In post-conflict construction, attention should be given to help children suffering from the effects of armed conflicts to reintegrate successfully and to create a security and social environment conducive to their healthy development. UNICEF, UNESCO and the World Bank should take advantage of their positions to enhance coordination and cooperation and to support countries in conflict in their efforts to eradicate poverty and promote universal education and sustainable development.

China stands ready to work with the rest of the international community, and will continue to support the active efforts of the Security Council, the Secretary-General and his Special Representative, as well as to make every effort to maintain international peace and security, improve the situation of children in armed conflicts, protect children from the scourge of war and create a harmonious and stable environment for their healthy development.

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