Interview with Jean-Marc de La Sablière, former Permanent Representative of France to the UN, and first Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

“I am glad that [resolution] 1612 could provide the framework for the work being done today. When we negotiated 1612, there was a sense that achievements had to be consolidated. I was also looking for the most efficient architecture, and I am happy to have had the idea of the Working Group [of the Security Council on children and armed conflict].

“To me, there were two issues of great importance. First, the Security Council had to be regularly engaged on the issue of children and armed conflict. And second, I thought it was necessary to ensure a close link between the Special Representative and the Council to provide constant support and guidance.

“In my opinion, it was very important to begin by addressing the problem of child soldiers. By showing tangible results, we thought the issues surrounding the protection of children would become less politicized, and concerns would be addressed with impartiality.

“I think the campaign [‘Children, not Soldiers’] is allowing us to do just that and, I hope, to end the problem of recruitment by Governments. At the same time, the Campaign opens doors for something I had not been able to firmly establish from the beginning, and that is the dialogue with non-State actors. I am glad France contributed to this through the March 2015 Security Council open debate.

“The children and armed conflict mandate has been used as a model for the question of protection of civilians and has influenced the development of other mandates related to the protection of civilians. This mandate must be considered a success story for the United Nations.”