UN envoy urges world to protect children

TEHRAN, Jun. 19 (MNA) – Iran’s United Nations envoy has called on international community to prevent children rights infringement by violent extremist groups in ME, Saudi aggression in Yemen.

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Gholam Ali Khoshroo has addressed before the Security Council open debate on children and armed conflict on Thursday.

Here is the full text of the speech:

In the Name of God, the Compassionate the Merciful

Mr. President,

I would like to begin by congratulating Malaysia on assuming the presidency of the Council and for organizing this open debate in a timely manner on the very important matter of children and armed conflict.  I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for presenting his annual report on “Children and armed conflict”, which covers global trends on the subject. My thanks also go to SRSG Zerrougui and other briefers for their valuable inputs to this debate.

The year 2014 was sadly a year where we saw many setbacks in the fight to protect children in armed conflict. As the recent report of the Secretary General as well as other reports in UN system on this issue have indicated, this year was an especially horrific year for children trapped in conflict zones and targeted by warring factions and belligerent entities that hold no respect for international humanitarian law and the welfare of our children. .Current world events indicate that children are suffering in massive numbers as a result of armed conflicts. It is most deplorable that armed conflicts continue to take a heavy toll on children

The progress made on that front has sadly been more than overshadowed by the exacerbating of conflicts and increase in indiscriminate attacks in some countries in our Region. At the same time, we have witnessed the proliferation and growth of extremist groups who systemically violate the rights of children. These extremist groups present a significant challenge to our region. They perpetrate acts of violence against children, launch indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations, target schools and health facilities and abduct children in large numbers.


Mr. President,

The trend of violent extremists infringing upon the rights of children should be of particular concern for the international community. The nature of these groups and their form and structure mean that many standards and proven methods used by the international community to protect children from them may be considerably less effective if not futile.

The complete disregard for civilians, including children, by Daesh [ISIL] and Al-Qaeda affiliates, especially in Syria and Iraq, has been particularly shocking and the proliferation of these tactics among such groups worrying. Violent extremists have adopted widespread abduction as a feature of their operations to inflict terror and for the purpose of political brainwashing, ransom, retaliation or sexual exploitation. The Boko Haram gangs have been ravaging the parts of Nigeria and shrouding areas by mostly terrorizing children. Likewise, the targeting of the children of religious and ethnic minority groups is also a matter of grave concern.  

The situation of children in Yemen is worrisome as well. According to UNICEF reports, at least 279 of the killed and 402 of the wounded were children. This marks an exponential and unacceptable jump compared to the entire year of 2014 and makes clear how the intensity of the conflict in Yemen can lead to humanitarian crises for some time to come. The systematic bombing and destruction of the logistical infrastructure of a country that imports 90% of its food, for example, will undoubtedly have long term consequences.

As the Secretary-General’s report indicates and as evidenced in reports by UN agencies, only in Gaza, between 8 July and 26 August 2014, 540 Palestinian children were killed, 2955 injured among them 1000 estimated to be permanently disabled as a result of the latest Israeli invasion. The number of schools, kindergartens and hospitals damaged or completely destroyed by Israeli forces during the same period is the highest recorded numbers of all situations in 2014. Israeli denial of humanitarian access to the entire occupied Palestinian people endangers the survival and the well-being of the Palestinian children which adds yet another record for Israeli regime in ignoring international humanitarian law without being held accountable for its grave violations against children.

We would like to take this opportunity to call for accountability for the war crimes and violations committed by Israel during its recent military aggression against the Palestinian civilian population, and for the wanton destruction of vital civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. The international community, including the Security Council, should ensure serious follow-up efforts to bring an end to Israel’s impunity and to secure justice for the victims. The Security Council has identified six specific criteria for grave violations that Secretary General should use to update annex lists of grave violators against children in armed conflicts around the world. The overwhelming evidence indicates that systematic and gross human right violations against Palestinian children under its occupation perpetrated by Israeli regime and army clearly meets those criteria for listing. Thus, we join those many Member States who highly regret the decision not to list Israel in the annex of latest CAAC report, despite the recommendation of   SRSG in this regard. 


Mr. President,

Warring parties must take greater strides to protect children from conflict. Respect by all parties for the civilian nature of schools, the inclusion of policies regarding the rights of children in peace talks and treaties and the regular institution of humanitarian pauses in the fighting can be significant steps towards achieving that aim. The international community must redouble its effort to protect children in conflict by taking a more aggressive stance against those who are persistent perpetrators and those who abduct and victimize children. Nations need to show greater leadership in countering the propaganda of violent extremism, used for both recruitment of children in faraway places and the indoctrination of abductees, as well as, protecting, rehabilitating and reintegrating children saved from the grips of such elements.


Mr. President,

Without strong action from the United Nations and genuine commitment from the community of nations, this issue will have significant consequences and ripple through generations. As the targeting of children has become a growing trend among violent extremists and an ever more prevalent feature of violent conflict, the world should expect this issue to only grow more brutal if not blunted by the will of the international community.


News Code 108032


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