HR/4466 HR/CN/981 SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT CALLS FOR WORLDWIDE ?WEEK OF TRANQUILLITY? DEVOTED TO CHILD PROTECTION
(Reissued as received from the Office of the Special Representative. )
NEW YORK, 12 June — The Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara A. Otunnu, expressed shock and outrage at the reports of the killing of 80 students this week at Kichwamba Technical College in western Uganda. “I strongly condemn this horrific act”, said Mr. Otunnu. “This is part of an abomination we are witnessing in too many theatres of conflict today, where civilian populations, especially children and women, are being deliberately targeted by belligerents. “
Expressing deep concern about the plight of children affected by the ongoing conflict situations in northern and western parts of Uganda, he said “The continuing abuse and brutalization of children, including abduction, maiming, displacement and deprivation of education and medical care, is unacceptable. “”These practices contravene all international humanitarian and human rights standards. They also represent a radical departure from local values and traditions of respect for children, women and the elderly, even in times of war. “
The Special Representative appealed for respect for the principles and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and for the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. He also urged that locations in which children and other vulnerable sectors of the population predominate — such as schools, playgrounds and hospitals — be treated as conflict-free zones.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict serves as a public advocate for children affected by armed conflict, promoting their rights, protection and welfare worldwide.