19 September 2012 - Security Council - Children in armed conflict - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(UN translation)

I should
like at the outset to thank those who spoke before me
for the explanations they have provided, and I very
warmly welcome the new Special Representative of the
Secretary-General, Ms. Leila Zerrougui. On behalf of
my delegation, I wish her every success in her important
new role.

I shall be relatively brief. Many of my colleagues
have already said what I wanted to say, in particular
in terms of emphasizing that the mechanism we have
devised for the protection of children in armed conf lict
shows that our Organization is faithful to its ideals in
responding to the demands of our collective conscience.
The mechanism, a successful endeavour on the part of the United Nations, makes it possible to demobilize
more than 10,000 child soldiers per year. That success
is attributable first and foremost to the work done by
Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy over the past six years,
and I should like, as my colleagues have done before
me, to thank her.

But that success is due also to the instruments with
which we have equipped ourselves, which have made
possible the signing of 20 action plans, the last two of
them over the summer, with the Transitional Federal
Government of Somalia and the Government of Burma.
We are also pleased to learn that the Democratic
Republic of the Congo is ready to sign a new plan of
action and that negotiations have begun with Libya.
We must persist in our efforts in order to achieve
a world without child soldiers in 25 years, including
the goal set by Ms. Coomaraswamy, that of no child
soldiers in Government armies in 10 years’ time.

But this meeting should not be about triumphalism.
Not only do a number of persistent perpetrators remain;
new ones have emerged. UNICEF believes that, in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, more than 10,000
children have been forcibly recruited in the past five
months in North Kivu. Reports indicate that the M-23
movement recruited dozens of children in July and
August to use in its fight against the Congolese armed

Because of the deliberate attacks targeting schools
and hospitals in Syria, which are often turned into
centres for detention and torture, and because of the
acts of violence committed against children, who are
being tortured, raped and killed outright, this year the
Syrian army and its auxiliary forces have been put on
the list of infamy. Let us recall that 49 children’s bodies
were discovered by United Nations observers lying
among those of the 108 victims of the Houla massacre,
who had been mowed down by Syrian artillery and had
had their throats cut by its auxiliary forces.

We must also enhance and strengthen our
instruments, in particular to deal with the problem of
persistent perpetrators, which have been on the list of
infamy for five years or more and continue to violate
children’s rights with impunity; today they number 32.
In most cases, we have no means of effectively punishing
such violators, which undermines the credibility of the
child-protection mechanism established by the Council.

France therefore would wish to see the
strengthening of measures to combat impunity. It was
in that spirit that we adopted resolution 1998 (2011) and
that today we adopted resolution 2068 (2012). But we
need to go still further. For guidance we can turn to
the recommendations made by the former Permanent
Representative of France, Ambassador De La Sablière,
in his report, which was requested by the previous
Special Representative. The report recommends that
the problem of persistent perpetrators be tackled at
the appropriate political level by means of Council
consultations and press statements and by encouraging
the Working Group to ensure concrete follow-up of the
issue. Targeted measures must also be devised. The
Working Group could, for example, become an ad hoc
sanctions committee when the situation so requires.
We also would be in favour of enhanced dialogue
with the International Criminal Court. That could
mean at first an invitation to the Prosecutor, Ms. Fatou
Bensouda, to brief the Council on this issue. France
would like these proposals to be considered by the
Working Group.

The Council’s Working Group must also be
endowed with the resources necessary to accomplish
its task. We therefore trust that field missions will
continue at the current pace, following those to Nepal
and Afghanistan in 2011. We would like to see their
funding earmarked as new measures under the regular
budget for 2013-2014, which will be adopted in the fall.
I wish to conclude by saying that together with
the Special Representative of the Secretary-General
for Children and Armed Conf lict, UNICEF and our
partners in the steering committee, we will convene
the fifth ministerial follow-up Forum on the Paris
Commitments and the Paris Principles in November. The
Paris Principles and Commitments are complementary
to Security Council action, and we call on all States
Members of the United Nations to endorse them as soon
as possible.

I should like to take this opportunity to congratulate
you, Mr. President, as well as your team for the manner
in which you have chaired the Working Group on
Children and Armed Conf lict, and I thank you for
having convened this debate.

I cannot conclude, however, without ruing the
fact that not all Council members agreed to the text
that was adopted. Unanimity was possible and could
have been achieved had certain States foregone their attempts to weaken our measures and to politicize
United Nations action in this sphere. Only the rejection
of politicization and adherence to the text will allow the
United Nations to remain faithful to our ideals in this
major undertaking.

Dernière modification : 26/02/2015

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