Vietnam calls for greater efforts to protect children in armed conflicts

A Vietnamese representative to the United Nations Security Council has called on the United Nations and the international community to do more for children caught in armed conflicts.

Addressing the council’s open debate o­n the topic in New York o­n April 29, Ambassador Bui The Giang, Vietnam’s Deputy Representative to the UNSC, recognised the progress that has already been made to protect children in armed conflicts. This includes setting up monitoring and reporting mechanisms to record violations of children’s rights and developing and putting into action other measures that help to safeguard children in war zones.

However, he also expressed his concern about the fact that armed conflicts are escalating in many parts of the world and children are continuing to be killed, maimed and suffer many kinds of violence, including sexual abuse and being recruited as child soldiers. He added that attacks o­n schools and hospitals have got to be halted.

He reiterated Vietnam’s position, that when conflicts occur, all parties concerned are obliged to comply with international human rights and humanitarian laws. He condemned these acts of violence and abuse against children saying they were unacceptable.

The Vietnamese diplomat then highlighted the Secretary-General’s recommendation to enhance the child protection mandate for all relevant UN peacekeeping and political missions. He also supported the idea to establish appropriate strategies and mechanisms for exchanging information and cooperation o­n cross-border child protection concerns.

He argued that the Security Council should pay more attention to all serious crimes against children and address them accordingly.

Later in his address he stressed, “all necessary measures to be taken in this connection should be put within the framework of a broader strategy of conflict prevention and response which deals with inter alia the root causes of armed conflict being hunger and poverty, and covers socio, economic and development issues during and after conflicts.”

Ambassador Giang pointed out that education is an important way of preventing armed conflicts as well as addressing crimes against children in conflict areas.

He said Vietnam supports activities that raise public awareness o­n children’s rights and disseminate those best practices that protect children in combat zones.

“We strongly believe that the UN agencies, particularly the UNICEF, and other international organisations can be of great help and assistance in this regard. We also encourage civil organisations to engage in and contribute constructively to these endeavors,” he said.