|Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Open Debate of the Security Council on "Children and Armed Conflict"|
As this is my first time to attend the formal meeting of the Security Council as the Permanent Representative of China, please allow me to take this opportunity to extend my cordial greetings to you and my colleagues here. I look forward to working with you in close communication and coordination.
China thanks Peru for the work it has done as President of the Council in July, and congratulates Poland on its assumption of the presidency of the Council in August. We welcome Foreign Minister Czaputowicz who chairs this meeting, and thank SRSG Gamba, Executive Director Fall and other briefers for their statements.
Children are the hope of every country. Caring for children is protecting our future. In recent years, the international community has made tremendous efforts to protect children in conflicts and achieved positive progress. But armed conflicts, far from being eliminated, have intensified, resulting in 12,000 children killed or maimed in 2018, a record high number. This is a very sad record, which serves as a reminder that we have heavy and arduous responsibility on our shoulders to protect children from the scourge of war so that they can grow up in safety and security.
China opposes and condemns violations of children's rights and interests in armed conflicts and supports the efforts of the United Nations and the Security Council to protect children in armed conflicts. I would like to emphasize the following points:
First, achieving peace provides the best protection for children. As children bear the brunt of war and conflicts, preventing and resolving conflicts is a top priority. Being the primary organ for the maintenance of international peace and security, the Security Council should fulfill its duties by using all political means such as mediation, good offices, dialogue and negotiation as stipulated in the UN Charter , promote cooperation with regional and sub-regional organizations and support and urge parties to the conflict to resolve disputes by peaceful means so as to create a safe environment for children to grow up.
Second, we should support the countries concerned in taking up the primary responsibility. The key to implementing the Security Council’s resolution on the protection of children lies in the efforts and cooperation of the governments of the countries concerned. The international community should fully respect the leadership of the countries concerned, enhance dialogue and communication and provide effective support and assistance in addressing difficulties, including financial and technological ones. In the final analysis, sustainable development is the foundation underpinning lasting peace. The international community should respect and guarantee the rights of the countries concerned and their status as developing countries.
Third, we should forge synergy in international efforts to tackle both the symptoms and the root causes of problems. In the collective endeavor of the international community to resolve conflicts, protection of children should be treated as an integral part and given full attention in political negotiations and peace agreements. In advancing the post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building strategy, we should give priority to children’s return to school and society, and enhancing the mechanisms for child protection. Adequate financial resources should be provided and development assistance should be scaled up. Countries concerned should be actively supported in their efforts to eradicate poverty, promote education and protect children’s rights.
China is ready to work with all parties in this respect, so that children in conflict areas can give up weapons, stay away from war, live a happy life in dignity, and create a bright future for themselves, their countries and the world.
Thank you, Mr. President.