New York, 16 June 2010- Today, at the Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, the Council released a statement expressing its readiness to impose targeted measures against persistent violators. These measures included imposing asset freezing, arms embargoes and travel restrictions against individuals who violate international law by recruiting, sexually abusing, or maiming and killing children in war, no matter when or where these crimes are committed.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General Radhika Coomaraswamy, who recently returned from Gulu, Uganda where she met with survivors of the Lord’s Resistant Army, welcomes these deterrents.
“Having seen so many children around the world whose childhood has been stolen, whose villages sometimes reject them because of forced associations, who are left to bear the burden of children produced through rape, and who have difficulty to start a new life due to the disruption to their education while abducted, one can only greet this decision with enthusiasm.“
When she addressed the Security Council today she spoke of her recent experiences in the field.
“I met with a girl named Agnes who had just escaped from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). She fled with a baby born of rape fearing for her life and that of her infant child. She could hardly express herself. Years of abuse had completely broken her spirit. We cannot ignore Agnes or those like her and the Council’s decision to make sexual violence and killing and maiming of children grounds for listing by the Secretary-General is the first step in the right direction.”
The Security Council—deeply concerned with the increasing number of violence against education including attacks on schools and teachers—called for an immediate end to these violations.
Every year, the Security Council hosts an Open Debate on Children and Armed conflict following the Secretary-General’s Annual Report on this issue.
Also speaking at the Open Debate on behalf of children were Patricia Espinosa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Hilde Johnson, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director as well as a representative from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
Bearing witness to the atrocities committed against children was a Nepalese girl, Manju Gurung, formerly associated with the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist. Abducted as a child soldier at the age of thirteen, she told her story.
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For further information, please contact:
Timothy La Rose, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict – +1917-346-3404- firstname.lastname@example.org
Muriel Gschwend, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict – +917 367 35 62 –