Remarks on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the mandate on children and armed conflict

United States Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
January 18, 2022

AS SUBMITTED FOR FILE

Thank you, Foreign Minister Huitfeldt and Special Representative Gamba, and all the other speakers for today’s discussion.

The 25th anniversary of the children and armed conflict agenda is an important milestone and an opportunity for us to review our progress and reflect on the way forward to protect children from conflict. The United States remains firmly committed to this agenda item and is eager to see CAAC issues highlighted, strengthened, and better integrated into all work of the Security Council and the United Nations as wide.

Over the past 25 years, CAAC’s mandate has directly and indirectly protected millions of children. Despite this, children continue to be recruited into armed forces, separated from their families, killed and maimed, sexually assaulted and denied access to life-saving assistance and services, among many other horrific acts. Armed conflicts have an impact on their physical and mental health. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the vulnerability of children. We must prioritize the rights and needs of children in global pandemic response and recovery programs. We recognize that girls often face systemic discrimination in their communities, are at high risk of gender-based violence during and after conflict, and have unique post-conflict recovery needs. Even the fear of attacks on schools is often enough for parents to keep their daughters at home, preventing their education and limiting their potential. Events like this can have an impact and set back entire generations.

The United States is proud of its historic role as the largest donor to UNICEF and a strong supporter of its core mandate to promote and protect the well-being of children around the world. It’s not about protecting a small subset of the world’s population. In many countries, especially those most affected by conflict, children make up the bulk of the population. When we take action to protect children, we protect and preserve our collective future.

Thanks.

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