SG / SM / 21078
Here is the text of the video message from UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the mandate on children and armed conflict, today:
Twenty-five years ago, the global community launched a bold call to action. To stop the scourge of children killed, mutilated, recruited and used in conflicts. To stop kidnappings and sexual violence. Stop attacks on schools and hospitals. And to stop denials of vital humanitarian aid.
The United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council have adopted a new mandate to end and prevent these grave violations. And every year since then, the Office for Children and Armed Conflict – headed by my Special Representative – has worked tirelessly to protect children trapped in these conflicts.
The results are inspiring. Over the past 25 years, more than [170,000] children recruited by armed groups and forces have been released. And hundreds of lifesaving commitments and action plans have been signed and implemented. Little by little, we are proving that serious violations against children can be stopped.
But, a lot more is needed. Children are still in danger. Peace is lacking. The cycles of violence and desperation will not end automatically.
All partners must continue to support the essential monitoring and reporting work of the Office. We need to strengthen our support for released children so that they can reintegrate into their communities. We must prioritize the needs and rights of children in peace negotiations. And we must honor their bravery and resilience by giving them a full and active voice in the future of their country.
The mandate on children and armed conflict is more important than ever. Let us keep the promise we made 25 years ago.