India expresses concern over UN Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict

The published report mentions the situation in India under the category “situations not on the agenda of the Security Council or other situations”.

The published report mentions the situation in India under the category “situations not on the agenda of the Security Council or other situations”.

A few days after the UN Secretary-General’s report on “Children and Armed Conflict” mentioned India, New Delhi expressed concern that the report includes situations that are “not situations of armed conflict” or threats to the maintenance of international peace and security.

The report published last week mentions the situation in India under the category “situations not on the agenda of the Security Council or other situations”.

Addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) High-Level Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on July 19, Chargé d’Affaires at the Permanent Mission of India to Ambassador R. Ravindra said, “We have to be careful because attempts to selectively expand the mandate will only politicize its agenda. It would distract us and even divert our attention from the real threats to international peace and security and to children in armed conflict.

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“We also note with concern that despite the Council’s clear mandate, the Secretary-General’s report includes situations that are not situations of armed conflict or threats to the maintenance of international peace and security,” he said. he declares.

In the report, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised the legal and administrative framework for child protection and improved access to child protection services in several Indian states, including India. ‘Assam and Jammu and Kashmir. However, it is concerned about the risk of recruitment of children by armed groups in the affected districts.

The UN chief hailed the Indian government’s continued engagement with its special representative for children and armed conflict, Virginia Gamba; the interministerial meeting held in November 2021; and the appointment of a national focal point to identify priority national interventions to improve child protection.

“I further welcome the agreement of a joint technical mission to organize technical-level inter-ministerial meetings with the United Nations in 2022 to identify areas of enhanced cooperation for child protection. This enhanced engagement could lead to the removal of India as a situation of concern from my next report on children and armed conflict, if all practical measures agreed at these meetings are fully implemented by that date,” the Secretary said. general in the report.

In her statement to the Council, Ms. Gamba noted that progress has been made in terms of analysis, policy development and partnerships as well as prevention mechanisms. “In India, for example, prevention has led to a deepening of our already successful cooperation with the government on improving child protection systems,” she said.

Ravindra said that, as noted by the Secretary-General in his report, the scale and gravity of violations perpetrated against children in armed conflict continue to increase.

“It is clear that there remain significant challenges to the effective implementation of this mandate. The international community has a responsibility and indeed an obligation to do everything possible to provide support to children affected by armed conflict without any discrimination,” he said.

India expressed appreciation for the engagement of the United Nations, particularly the office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, with parties engaged in armed conflict, which resulted in the release of 12,214 children in the last year alone.

“National governments have the primary responsibility to protect children’s rights, as required by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Security Council must do everything in its power to support the efforts of governments in this regard,” Ravindra said, adding that India encourages member states to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. .

He said that the Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes the obligations of States parties to promote the rehabilitation and social integration of children affected by armed conflict in an environment that promotes “health, self-respect and dignity of the child”.

“Close cooperation between the United Nations and its Member States is essential to develop an effective and sustainable policy for the repatriation and reintegration of children affected by armed conflict. Member States must work towards an inclusive approach to provide protection to child victims during the process of rehabilitation and reintegration in post-conflict situations,” he said.