Istanbul, Turkey – Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, participated in the first World Humanitarian Summit as part of the delegation of the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.
Earlier today, the Special Representative took part in the high-level Leader’s Roundtable “Uphold the norms that safeguard humanity”, where she represented the United Nations and expressed commitments on behalf of the organization to improve the delivery of humanitarian assistance and to intensify the monitoring, investigation and reporting of human rights violations and abuses, with particular attention to the plight of women and children.
“This Summit offers a critical opportunity for the global community to reaffirm principles that serve as the foundations of humanitarian action, and, ultimately, safeguard humanity,” Zerrougui said.
On Monday, she was the main speaker at an event titled “Strategies for ending attacks on health workers, facilities and patients”, organized by the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition and RedR UK.
The Special Representative recalled the lasting impact of attacks on healthcare infrastructure and personnel, and highlighted situations of conflict which present the most pressing challenges, such as Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan.
“Governments bear the primary responsibility for protecting civilians. They must adopt clear legislation and issue command orders to their security forces to protect hospitals, doctors and patients,” said Leila Zerrougui. She added that the challenges we are faced with “require that we use this Summit to engender a greater respect for international law.”
The Special Representative reminded the audience of the tools available – including those specifically related the mandate she represents such as the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism and UN Security Council Resolution 1998- to assist our efforts to end violations against children and to inform the response.
Following the World Humanitarian Summit, the Special Representative will travel to The Hague, the Netherlands, to be the keynote speaker of “Watch Our Schools”, an event on the protection of schools scheduled on 26 May, organized by Human Rights Watch, and co-hosted by Leiden University’s Faculty of Governance & Global Affairs.