Top officials from the United Nations and the international community today applauded two decades of efforts to protect children from the scourge of war by marking the 20th anniversary of General Assembly resolution 51/77 (1997) on promotion and protection of the rights of children.

Click here to read the participating Member States’ and organisations’ statements.

In an informal meeting of the 193-member Assembly in New York, the UN body’s President, Peter Thomson, called the resolution “a landmark development in our global efforts to improve the protection of children in conflict situations.”

“Among the incomprehensible horrors that take place in the chaos of warzones, unconscionable crimes, violations, exploitation and abuse are perpetrated against the most vulnerable members of our societies – namely our children,” Mr. Thomson said.

He called for a concerted effort to protect children in armed conflict as part of the international community’s commitments to peace and security, sustainable development and human rights.

Mr. Thomson spoke alongside Leila Zerrougui, the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. As an outcome of the historic resolution, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to name a Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. In addition to Ms. Zerrougui, today’s event recognized past mandate-holders – Graça Machel, Olara Otunnu and Radhika Coomaraswamy.