UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon told the Security Council here Tuesday that the UN system remains "fully committed" to the protection of children in armed conflict.
"Let us keep working together to ensure that children everywhere can grow up safe, healthy and educated so they can help to build a secure and sustainable future for themselves, their families and their societies," he said.
Ban's statement came at a council open debate on children and armed conflict, where the 15-member body unanimously adopted resolution 1998, the latest in a series of resolutions on this topic in recent years.
"Today's resolution takes us one step further," said Ban. "It not only emphasizes that schools and hospitals should be zones of peace respected by all parties to conflict, it adds attacks on schools and hospitals as listing criteria in my annual reports on children in armed conflict. I welcome this advance."
Ban praised the Security Council's work on children and armed conflict, particularly through its working group on the matter. "With the innovative and steadfast engagement of many partners, the council has demonstrated that protecting children in armed conflict is both a moral and a security imperative," said Ban. The secretary-general pointed out that the council has explored many facets of children in conflict in the past by requesting reports from his office.
"It has asked me to report on the recruitment and use of child soldiers, the killing and maiming of children, rape and other sexual violence, abductions, attacks on schools and hospitals, and the denial of humanitarian access to children by parties to conflict," Ban said.
He said that a collaborative effort by the council along with other elements of the UN system and those outside the system has helped the international community take important steps to help children involved with armed conflict. "Our proactive efforts on previous listed violations, such as the recruitment and use of child soldiers, have yielded positive results," he said. Expressing appreciation for the work of governments, civil society and NGOs, Ban said these efforts - and the action plan concept laid out in Security Council resolution 1539 and later resolutions - have led to the signing of 15 action plans covering nine conflict arenas." (Xinhua)