Armed Conflict: Children

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 26th June 2012.

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Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the UN Report on Children and Armed Conflict published in April 2012; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

We welcome this report, covering the period January to December 2011, which gives a useful overview of the situation of girls and boys in conflict zones and measures taken for their protection, covering the period January to December 2011. It is welcome that the information gathered is vetted and verified for accuracy.

We commend the pragmatic approach taken by the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) for Children and Armed Conflict, who has emphasised the humanitarian aspects to this issue, with the aim of ensuring broad and effective protection for children exposed to and affected by conflict in situations of concern. The SRSG has rightly reminded all parties of their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and in particular the principles of distinction and proportionality and the duty to protect children and prevent violations, taking all necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties.

We are encouraged to see the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1998 (2011). which called for the SRSG to list parties who used children to launch attacks on schools and hospitals. It is also good that the report lists parties who recruit and use children, kill and maim them and commit sexual violence against them.

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