Statement by Ambassador Günter Sautter at the UN Security Council VTC Arria meeting on Children and Armed Conflict, May 7

10.05.2021 - Speech

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It is a great sign that we have a record number of co-sponsors for this Arria meeting today. There are so many issues on which countries in the Security Council are not on the same page. I think there is a high degree of consensus here, and this is extremely valuable.

Thank you so much, SRSG Gamba, for your report. This is an important document. I encourage you to keep up this work and to continue with another report next year. Thanks also to the excellent briefers who have highlighted the severity of the situation that we are dealing with.

COVID-19 has had profound consequences for the health and the well-being of children. It has increased their vulnerability to grave violations. We have seen the widespread closure of schools and of health centers. We have received reports of child recruitment, sexual and gender based violence, particularly against girls, and the continued detention of children associated with armed groups. The problem continues to be very serious. I thank the UN country teams, the UN missions, UNICEF and civil society representatives for your hard work.

One area of great importance is documentation. We must set this as a priority. We must continue to speed up our efforts to document violations. We must also work on the reporting backlog of violations that have occurred over the past year. We also need to put an emphasis on child protection. This has a financial dimension and a political dimension. We need to make sure that we strengthen monitoring in the field reporting, response, prevention of grave violations in the post-pandemic recovery.

We also need to bolster and support child protection staff on the ground. Germany will actively contribute to all these aspects. Lastly, as the SRSG's study has pointed out, there is a need for more personnel, more training, more financing for child protection. We must ensure that peace operations are adequately equipped with stand-alone child protection advisors. We also need protection of civilian personnel, youth focal points and gender advisors.

In this context, I would like to remind you that last July, Germany organized the first-ever Security Council meeting on peace operations and human rights. One dimension of this is better training for peacekeepers' work on child protection. We want to continue to work on this. We are currently preparing an important event on this issue, which we will organize this summer under the framework of the United Nations.

One last important point: during our Security Council term in 2011-2012, as chair of the CAAC Working Group, we worked on the issue of listing. The listing of parties to the conflict that commit grave violations against children is one of the most important instruments at our disposal. I believe this continues to hold true. In our view, it is imperative that the findings of the SG Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict are consistently reflected in the listing proposals included in the annexes of that report. Let's all keep in mind that this is an important element of our work on this subject.

Thank you very much. 


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