Statement by H.E. Ambassador Le Luong Minh,
Permanent Representative of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
at the Open Debate of the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict
New York, 12 February 2008
My Delegation is pleased to see you presiding over this important debate of the Security Council. Your presence testifies to the importance that Panama attaches to the work of this august body charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Your Delegation for our common goals.
I wish to thank Ms. Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflicts and Ms. Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF for their briefings. We thank the Secretary General for his report contained in document S/2007/757.
In children we see our hope of a better world of tomorrow. In children, therefore, we invest our best resources. We have committed to saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war and making this world “A World Fit for Children”. In carrying out our commitments, in some parts of the world we have achieved progress; in others we are continuing to see children killed, maimed and suffering from all sorts of ill treatment in situations of armed conflict. For those who by fortune escape the killings and those who are being told to kill, the negative impacts of such acts are not much different. The current report presents us both progress and challenges. While noting positive developments in some African, Asian and Latin American countries as reflected in the decrease in the number of cases of recruitment and use of children in situations of armed conflict or in the measures the Governments in question have taken to prevent or punish those acts, we share the grave concern over this continued practice. This together with acts such as attacks on school children, sexual abuse of children by those who are mandated and paid to protect them, torture of children or deprivation of their food and education, etc… constitute serious violations of their basic rights recognized in international human rights and humanitarian laws and specific provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Condemning those violations, resolution 1612 (2005) and previous relevant resolutions of the Security Council call upon all parties concerned to undertake measures to protect children affected by armed conflict and ensure their rights and well-being. In implementation of these resolutions, we share the view on the need for a broad strategy of conflict prevention, which addresses the root causes of armed conflict in a comprehensive manner in order to enhance the protection of children on a long-term basis, including by promoting sustainable development, poverty eradication, national reconciliation, good governance, democracy, the rule of law and respect for and protection of human rights. In this connection, we recognize the important role and contributions of UNICEF and other specialized agencies of the UN system.
Council resolution 1612 (2005) requested the Secretary General to implement a monitoring and reporting mechanism on the issue of children in armed conflict. While commending the efforts that the Special Representative of the Secretary General has undertaken in preparing the report at hand, we wish to stress that in order to ensure its quality, reliability and objectivity, besides consultations with the United Nations entities and NGOs, strengthened dialogue and cooperation with the national Governments, who bear the primary and ultimate responsibility to protect and care for the children of their own countries is of vital importance. The fact that some Governments complained they had not been consulted leading to the expression of their views, wrong or right, that the situations in their respective countries were not armed conflicts and that the mentioning of those situations should not be in the report at all, deserves the Council’s attention. Equal treatment of all situations of armed conflict can also be an area for improvement. The Working Group of the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict established pursuant to resolution 1612, whose many efforts in cure are plausible, should improve its performance and working method with a view to putting greater emphasis on prevention.
As one of the first signatories of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Viet Nam has also signed and ratified the Optional Protocol on the Use of Children in Armed Conflict and submitted its periodical implementation reports. All basic legal documents of the country such as the Constitution, the law on military obligations and the civil code provide for measures to ensure children under 18 are not recruited into the armed forces and do not engage in direct combat. We look forward to contributing our part to full and effective implementation of relevant UN resolutions, including those adopted by the Security Council, with a view to creating “A World Fit for Children”.
Finally, we thank the Delegation of France for the draft Presidential Statement on this matter and look forward to working constructively with the other Council members for its early adoption.
I thank you, Mr. President!