Saudi Arabia participates in UN open discussion on children and armed conflict

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN has pledged the Kingdom’s support for international efforts to end the use of children in armed conflict.

Speaking during a virtual UN Security Council discussion on the matter, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi called for collective action by the international community to resolve the issue.

In his briefing on behalf of the Kingdom, the ambassador said tough and effective measures were needed to target armed militias that used children as human shields and countries that supported them with money and weapons.

He pointed out that Saudi Arabia has adhered to many international frameworks that support the protection of civilians and children in armed conflict. These include the Multilateral Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (known as the Child Soldiers Treaty), the Steering Committee of the World Coalition for the reintegration of child soldiers and Friends of the reintegration group of child soldiers.

In a statement, the UN special representative for children and armed conflict, Virginia Gamba, noted the main achievements of the 2019 agenda and said that 30 action plans and measures had been adopted thanks to the direct UN engagement on the ground with parties to better protect children in countries such as Congo, Yemen and Syria.

She also highlighted renewed commitments to action plans in Somalia and Sudan.

Gamba added that the perpetrators had been prosecuted for violations against children in Myanmar, Congo and the Central African Republic.

Other developments that have taken place, she said, include the application of child protection language in peace processes and, as part of peace agreements, the release of 13,200 children. parties to the conflict following UN advocacy in 2019.