Children have “no role in conflict”, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Channel 1 Los Angeles

13 February 2020 New York NY

“Attacks on hospitals and schools deny children education, healthcare and lifesaving emergency assistance and force families from their homes”, Mr. Guterres detailed.

And children in war zones are threatened by “horrific abuses”, he continued, citing examples of sexual violation, abduction, being enlisted as child soldiers or exploited as messengers.

“These violations cause lasting damage to the children themselves, and to their communities and societies to which they belong”, continued the UN chief, pointing out that this can “feed the grievances and frustrations that lead to extremism, creating a vicious circle of tension and violence”.

Mechanisms in place

Mr. Guterres also spoke of progress in raising awareness of violations, crediting, in part, the UN’s Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism established in 2005, which over time, has “the power to change behaviours, prevent grave violations and protect children”.

He spoke about the work of Virginia Gamba, his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, along with campaigns that have “helped to bring about a global consensus that children should never be used in conflict”, while also acknowledging that despite these efforts, “the figures for grave violations against children in conflict continue to rise”.

“We must all do more”, he spelled out.

New guidelines for child protection

As “the next step”, putting children at the heart of protection, peacebuilding and prevention efforts, the UN chief announced the launch of new Practical Guidance for mediators that considers children’s needs and rights during all phases of conflict, “from prevention efforts to mediation and recovery, through sustainable, inclusive development”.

The Guidance provides the means to conduct a child rights-based analysis of conflict for mediators and negotiators.

“By integrating specific measures to protect children into peace processes, we can achieve concrete results for children, and for peace”, maintained Mr. Guterres.

While “strongly” encouraging all Member States, regional and sub-regional organizations, mediators and others involved in peace processes to make full use of the guidance, he recognized that “it is not enough”.

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