Thank you for convening this Arria meeting on such a relevant and pressing issue. The latest SG report on Children and Armed Conflicts—in which 11 parties to conflict are listed for attacks on schools and hospitals—serves as a stark reminder that the CAAC agenda remains highly relevant.
Germany aligns itself with the intervention delivered by the European Union. I would like to make three additional points:
First, over the last two decades, we have come a long way in putting in place and improving the international framework for protecting children in conflicts. We have created mechanisms and tools to prevent violations against children in conflicts. One of these tools, UNSCR 1998, sets standards on the protection of schools and hospitals—the topic we are debating today. It was adopted under our Security Council Presidency in 2011. We therefore have a particular interest in helping to ensure that schools become safe spaces for children to develop where they feel protected and sheltered. How can we imagine building “sustainable peace” anywhere if children are denied the possibility to learn and grow? The CAAC agenda has been a priority for Germany from its inception and it will be a priority again in our work on the UNSC if we are elected as a non-permanent member for the 2019/20 term.
Second, we need to continue thinking of practical ways to further strengthen our efforts and the instruments available to protect children. The inclusion of child protection provisions in the mandates of peace operations and mandatory pre-deployment training on child protection for all UN troop and police contingents are important measures. Child Protection Advisors also play a crucial role in the system for the effective protection of children on the ground.
Germany will continue to facilitate and participate in the discussion on how to best promote the CAAC agenda. For this reason, we will continue the tradition of hosting a workshop on CAAC/and UNSC resolution 1325 to promote the exchange between different stakeholders. The next workshop is scheduled to take place in Berlin in February 2018.
Third, the UN system and all of the UN’s member states must continue to treat the CAAC agenda as a high priority and cross-cutting task for the entire UN system, not just the Security Council. We must admit that the situation on the ground has not improved in many cases, and the number of attacks on schools, schoolchildren and teachers has not decreased. Yet again, real progress needs to be measured on the ground. We therefore urge all parties to stop attacks on schools and hospitals and stop the military use of schools in accordance with international law.
In concluding, allow me to express our full support for the work of the SRSG whose invaluable efforts play a central role in advancing this essential agenda.
Thank you for your attention.