Statement by Ambassador Nabeel Munir, Deputy Permanent Representative/Charge dí Affaires of Pakistan, at the Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict (31 October 2017)

Madam President,

We thank the Secretary General for his insightful remarks this morning. We also appreciate the focused briefings by the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Virginia Gamba and Mr. Mubin Sheikh.

We commend Ms. Gambaís efforts and determination to protect innocent children,caught in situations of armed conflict.

Madam President,

As highlighted by the Secretary-Generalís report and his briefing earlier this morning, children continue to be killed, maimed, abducted and subjected to sexual violence in conflict situations. Unfortunately, this disturbing trend shows no sign of abating.Denial of humanitarian access to refugeesfleeingconflicts makes matters worse. Just yesterday a UNICEF report warned that two-thirds of unaccompanied refugees and migrant children in Greece were in need of proper care.

The United Nations, over the past two decades, has undertaken a number of initiatives, including Children not Soldiers, a campaign that lays emphasis on priority activities, roadmaps, benchmarks, deadlines and review.

Such efforts have contributed to the emergence of a global consensus that no circumstances justify recruitment and use of children in conflict.

This, of course, does not mean our work is done. To the contrary, the plight and suffering of children in armed conflicts remains an issue of deep concern.A multitude of prolonged and increasingly complex conflicts continue to have devastating impact on children. In a number of situations, a shocking disregard for international law is in evidence, and impunity prevails.

Madam President,

Let me make three specific points in this regard:

Madam President,

My Government remains fully alive of its commitments in this regard. Pakistan was one of the earliest signatories to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. In November 2016 Pakistan also ratified the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

We have established a National Commission for Child Welfare and Development (NCCWD) whichcoordinates, monitors and facilitates implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols. The National Commission on the Rights of the Children Bill 2017 has also been approved by the National Assembly. The Commission would work to promote, protect and monitor the rights of children.

Madam President,

Pakistan supports the mandate of the Special Representative. We however, believe that this mandate cannot afford accretion. The legal parameters of the mandate, as provided by the relevant Security Council Resolutions, must be respected.

In this context, my delegation wishes to state, for the record, that references to Pakistan in the Secretary Generalís report are not within the purview of its established mandate. We hope this principle will be kept in mind in future reports.

I thank you.