Statement by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Resolution 1998 (2011) on Children in Armed Conflict

12.07.2011 - Speech

-- as delivered --

With the Council’s permission, I shall now make a statement in my capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany.

Members of the Council,

Let me seize this opportunity to warmly welcome your cooperation on this topic. The protection of children in armed conflicts is of great importance to all of us. This has been evident also during the negotiations leading to the draft resolution before us.

We are honored by the presence of the Secretary-General today. And let me also thank Mr. Lake and Mrs. Coomaraswamy for their presence.

I am confident that I can speak for all those present here today: None of us want to see children being used in conflicts. We do not want them to be forced to fight. We do not want them to be injured, abused or killed.

We want children to grow up knowing that their schools are safe places. Schools should be places of learning and playing, where children can grow and thrive. Attacks on schools and hospitals are barbaric acts.

We want children to feel safe when they are in need of physical help. When they are weak, sick or wounded. Hospitals, therefore, should also be safe and protected places.

Consequently, I am very hopeful that this Council is about to take the important decision to expand the triggers for listing parties that commit serious violations against children. Attacks on schools and hospitals attacks will then be among those triggers. This is a big step forward.

We are also convinced about the importance of action plans between the United Nations and parties to conflict. Implementing action plans is the only way to get off those lists. In the future action plans can also include countering attacks on schools and hospitals.

Members of the Council,

there has been progress, and this progress is encouraging. But we have to do more.

Persistent perpetrators need to face credible consequences. If they do not change their behaviour, they should face measures through sanctions regimes. That is why it is important, that today's resolution also improves the possibilities of targeted sanctions against perpetrators listed in the report of the Secretary-General.

Dear Colleagues,

Societies should be judged by the way they treat their children. Our attitude towards our children is a testament to our attitude towards our future.

We will continue to try and protect children from the effects of war and conflict. We will continue to listen to their stories. As long as it takes.

I now resume my functions as President of the Security Council.

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