Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle met today (16 March) in Berlin with Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the UN General Secretary, for an exchange of opinions. The topics discussed included improving the protection of children in armed conflicts and action against using children as soldiers. In January of this year Germany assumed the Chairmanship of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict in the Security Council of the United Nations.
Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle issued the following statement after the talks today (16 March):
“Children often suffer the most during violent conflicts: millions of them are exposed to abuse, mutilation or murder.
Special Representative Coomaraswamy and I agree that every effort must be made to finally end the deployment of the more than 250,000 child soldiers worldwide.
Improving the fate of these children is a central goal of German human rights policy. As chair of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict of the UN Security Council we are working hard to improve the situation.”
The focus of the working group is to list by name both state and non-state conflict parties that sexually abuse, mutilate, or kill children or use children as soldiers. During the German chairmanship will be consultations, about, among other things, expanding the criteria for placing conflict parties on the list to include in particular attacks on schools and hospitals. The chair works closely with the UN Special Rapporteur and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.