Vernissage of the exhibition "One Day, I Will"
Opening of the « One Day, I Will » exhibition
Statement by M. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United nations
United Nations – 29 July 2019
Ms. Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Under-Secretary-General,
It is a great pleasure for me and for the French mission to be partnering with Vincent Tremeau and with OCHA on this very powerful exhibition.
These pictures are a testimony not only to the vulnerability and the resilience of girls and boys affected by humanitarian crises, but also to their creativity and their hopes. Journalist, teacher, IT worker or football player: the exhibition captures the hopes and dreams of children trapped in crises.
Children in situations of armed conflict are subjected to appalling violations of their human rights. They face an unacceptable risk of killing, maiming, recruitment and use, sexual violence and abductions, and suffer as the result of attacks on schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access.
We must together strengthen our action to better protect children, from prevention to reintegration. Conflicts are evolving, as well as the methods used by the belligerents. We must understand these evolutions and find concrete and effective ways to protect children.
It is not only a moral imperative, it is actually a legal obligation. This year, we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the rights of the child. And next year, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
We will repeat it again and again : education is central to preventing recruitment and use, and to reintegration efforts.
We cannot wait until there is peace before taking steps to protect children, but instead integrate child protection into peace processes. We must also not forget that children themselves can act as powerful agents for change and contribute to peacebuilding. Children should be empowered, and their views on matters that affect them should be effectively taken into account during peace processes.
We really need to unite our forces to ensure that the dreams of these children on the pictures will not remain dreams, and that they will be translated into reality. We need to ensure that Habiba can become a journalist and inform people. That Amina can become a teacher and enlighten people. That Aicha can become a lawyer and defend people’s rights. That Kaltouma can because a farmer and feed her family. That Adama can become a football player and become a role model for other girls.
You know the constant and historic engagement of France on the protection of children in armed conflicts and humanitarian crises. We are more than determined to act to strengthen our collective action.