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24th Session of the Human Rights Council
Interactive Dialogue with Special Representative of the Secretary-General
for Children and Armed Conflict
Statement by Australia
Australia thanks the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for children and armed conflict for her update. The impacts of armed conflict are horrific and we know that children are amongst those who suffer the most.
Like the SRSG, we are concerned by ongoing violations of children’s rights during armed conflicts around the world, including through the recruitment of child soldiers and the use of children in other roles. Children are directly affected through fighting, in particular through attacks on schools and hospitals. They may also be the targets of sexual and gender-based violence, subject to killing and maiming, or separated from their families, trafficked or recruited as child soldiers or for other purposes. Children are also often the hardest hit by the destructive impact of armed conflict on basic services and facilities and food supplies which can lead to malnutrition and disease. Their plight is often exacerbated by limitations or restrictions on humanitarian access.
Australia welcomed the Secretary-General’s Annual Report on children and armed conflict and the opportunity to participate in the UN Security Council debate on these issues in June.
We share the Secretary-General’s concerns that the ‘evolving character and tactics of armed conflict are creating unprecedented threats to children’. We will continue to work towards better protection of children’s rights through our term on the UN Security Council to progressively strengthen the protection framework for children affected by armed conflict, including through the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and with the SRSG.