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I would like to thank Sweden for convening this annual open debate, Today’s briefers, and SRSG Virginia Gamba for her tireless work on this essential mandate for the protection of children and for her various initiatives
Congratulations to Sweden for the consensual adoption of a strong resolution which Germany was proud to co-sponsor.
Germany aligns itself with the statement by the EU and would like to make the following additional remarks:
First, the SG´s annual report with its listings remains a key tool for implementing the Children and Armed Conflict Agenda. This year’s report reminds us of the many challenges faced by children in armed conflict. The increase in the number of grave violations is a challenge for all of us: the Security Council, the UN system and Member States.
The report also notes that the vast majority of violations are committed by non-state parties. We therefore call on all parties—non-state and government—to provide unhindered access to the SRSG and the UN system and to sincerely engage with the UN. The conclusion and implementation of action plans remains a central instrument for engaging the parties listed and for achieving real progress in the protection of children.
Since several conflicts involving non-state parties are of a cross-border nature, we share the SRSG´s assessment of the importance of working with regional organisations. By involving regional actors, joint responses can be developed to address cross-border challenges, for example through joint prevention strategies, standards for training and responses to reintegration needs.
At the same time, we gladly note the successes in the report, for example the release of 10,000 children last year.
Second, we support our Swedish colleagues´ focus on prevention. Releases will be effective in the long-run only if we can reintegrate these former child soldiers into society and their local communities and provide them with prospects for the future. To prevent the re-recruitment of children, children need to have immediate access to longer-term reintegration programs. Reintegration programs need to include gender aspects to be effective for both boys and girls. We share the view that predictable, sustained and flexible funding for reintegration is essential. Germany has supported long-term projects focusing on vulnerable groups in society, including former child soldiers in DRC, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In the DRC, we are supporting a project which raises awareness and helps local youth organizations to prevent the recruitment of children and adolescents.
Effective prevention, however, goes beyond reintegration programs. Children have a need and a right to education. And they need to have a voice in mediation and peace processes. Only then will we be able to ensure that their concerns are heard and their rights respected. I was particularly moved by Ms. Londoño´s presentation on the developments and challenges in Colombia. Germany has been supporting the Colombian peace process for many years now. One of our project partners is Benposta, a charity which houses former child soldiers and adults affected by violence.. Furthermore, through contributions to the UN Post-Conflict Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Colombia, Germany is supporting two projects which seek to reintegrate young former FARC combatants and prevent new recruitment.
Third, during our upcoming Security Council membership, we will be committed to further strengthening the link between child protection and prevention. We see prevention as a cross-cutting issue in the Council’s work. We will continue the discussion that our Swedish friends have started and use the momentum from this year’s High-level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace which looked at the implementation of the twin resolutions of the GA and the Security Council on sustaining peace.
Germany and Switzerland co-founded the Human Rights/Conflict Prevention Caucus, an informal group of friends working to use the preventive potential of human rights instruments.
The protection of children in armed conflict was a top priority during our last Security Council membership in 2011 and 2012 and will be again during our upcoming membership from January onwards.