by His Excellency Mr. Pham Gia Khiem
Deputy Prime Minister
and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam
the United Nations Security Council Open Debate
on “Children and Armed Conflict”
(New York, July 17, 2008)
I am most honoured to represent Viet Nam in its position as a
member of the Security Council to address the Council today. Viet Nam recognizes
the crucial role played by this Council in the maintenance of international
peace and security, and for that reason attaches great importance to the work
of the Council. With a foreign policy of independence, cooperation and
development and aspiring to contribute further to addressing international peace
and security, Viet Nam is committed to working in an active, constructive,
cooperative and responsible manner in the Security Council.
Allow me now to thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his
participation in this important open debate of the Security Council. I look forward
to listening to the Secretary-General sharing his insight into the important
issue of children and armed conflict. I
would also like to thank the Special Representative for Children and Armed
Conflict, the Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, the
Executive Director of UNICEF, and the representative of the Watchlist on
Children and Armed Conflict for their presence and for the briefings they are
going to present to the Council.
Being one of the first countries to ratify the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child, a country where generations of children
had suffered immensely from the scourge of war, Viet Nam is committed to defending
and promoting the best interests of children in every circumstance and our
concerns for children affected by armed conflict are beyond conventional reasoning. Viet Nam,
as President of the Security Council for this month, has taken the initiative
to organize this open debate with a view to strengthening the commitment and efforts of the Security
Council, the United Nations and the international community at large towards
achieving a long-term and sustained solution to the issue of children affected by armed
conflict. I thank all members of the
Council for sharing the interest.
Since the adoption of its first resolution on children and
armed conflict – Resolution 1261 in 1999, actions taken by the Security Council
have produced tangible progress. Formal and informal action plans have been
concluded between parties to conflict with a view to halting and preventing the
recruitment of children. Thousands of children associated with armed groups have
thus been released. Specific provisions have been included in peace processes
and agreements. Child protection provisions have been incorporated in the
mandates of a number of United Nations peacekeeping and political missions. The
work of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, the country visits by
the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and the work done by
UNICEF have contributed to those achievements.
However, we have to admit that what has been achieved is too
modest. The overall situation of children affected by armed conflict continues
to be of serious concern. The international community continues to witness the
recruitment and use of children in armed conflict in violation of applicable international
law, killing and maiming of children, rape and other sexual violence,
abduction, attacks against schools and
hospitals by parties to armed conflict. We condemn these acts and urge all parties concerned to
put an end to them.
The Security Council, in its Presidential Statement made last
February, outlined a number of important measures to move its agenda on
children and armed conflict forward. Viet Nam attaches great importance to a
preventive strategy, one that has a dual objective of preventing armed conflict
in the first place by addressing its root cause and preventing children from being affected by
armed conflict. Such a comprehensive
prevention approach must include promoting sustainable development, poverty
eradication, national reconciliation, good governance, democracy, the rule of
law and respect for and protection of human rights and reintegration and
rehabilitation of children associated with armed forces and armed groups.
Successful implementation of such a comprehensive strategy requires not
only participation, but also cooperation and coordination between parties
concerned and other stakeholders, including Member States, regional
organizations, the UN Secretariat, UN funds and programmes and specialized
agencies and NGOs. To ensure effective participation by and cooperation and
coordination among them, besides adequate resources and funding that we call
upon development agencies and donor countries to provide, it is important to
promote mutual confidence and trust in a spirit of partnership as has been
emphasized by the Council in the above-mentioned Presidential Statement. Consideration
of country reports have very often been a difficult process leading to the erosion of such mutual
trust and spirit of partnership. In order to avoid such situations and ensure the
quality, reliability, objectivity, and hence, the usefulness of those reports,
national Governments, which bear the primary and ultimate responsibility to
protect and care for the children of their own countries should be fully consulted.
Resolution 1612 should continue to serve as the basis for improving the
reporting and monitoring mechanisms as well as the activities of the Working Group. We look forward to
contributing to the continued improvement of its methods of work.
As a party to the Additional Protocol to the Convention on
the Rights of the Child, we join others in calling upon those countries which have
not done so to accede to the Protocol.
Finally, I am deeply convinced that with genuine concern and
spirit of partnership of its members, the Security Council, having the support
of and in close coordination with other UN agencies, NGOs and countries
concerned, can fulfil its commitment to address the widespread impact of armed
conflict on children.
I thank you for your attention!