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Viet Nam & UN  »  Viet Nam in the Security Council
Statement by His Excellency Mr. Pham Gia Khiem, Deputy Prime Minister, at the Open Debate on “Children and Armed Conflict”
07-17-2008, 10:51 am


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!

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