Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations at the Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict
(July 09 2018)

Mr. President,

My delegation thanks the Swedish Presidency for convening this debate, and Prime Minister Stefan Lofven for chairing it.

We also thank the briefers for their insightful briefings.

Mr. President,

The dreams and hopes of hundreds of thousands of children continue to be shattered by conflict. Then there are also those who may never even get a chance of dream.

Children become victims of unimaginable horror every day. The Secretary-General’s report confirms these horrors: children are killed and maimed, abducted to fight, sexually abused and denied humanitarian aid.

All parties to armed conflicts have a responsibility to protect children from violence. And yet, all too often, violations and abuses of international law affecting children are rampant. And this disturbing trend shows no sign of abating.

Last year witnessed a significant increase in incidents of abuse of children, making 2017 another “nightmare year”, for children trapped in conflict.

Mr. President,

Despite some progress, the scale and the intensity of today’s conflicts is stretching our capacity to protect children. In conflict zones and occupied territories, we are witnessing a deeply troubling breakdown in humanity and diminishing respect for human life and dignity.

Children are often at the heart of conflict and are in consequence directly targeted. Their homes and schools are destroyed and food and water supplies deliberately cut off. Under foreign occupation, they are subjected to arbitrary arrests, detention and torture. And mass blinding too as the use of pellet guns by occupation forces in occupied Jammu and Kashmir testifies.

According to the recent report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ on the Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir, “there were multiple cases of children under 18 years being arbitrarily detained and tortured” under the garb of a black law, the so called Public Security Act.

The plight of children in Palestine, Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, Myanmar and Yemen should galvanize the international community to find new and effective ways to protect those most vulnerable.

The goal of protection of children can best be achieved by preventing the outbreak of armed conflict in the first place. The most effective way to protect children is by preventing and resolving conflicts, ending foreign occupation and sustaining peace. This must be our top priority and that of this Council

Mr. President,

My Government remains fully alive to its commitments with regard to protecting children. Pakistan was one of the earliest signatories to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols. We have established a National Commission for Child Welfare and Development (NCCWD) which coordinates monitors and facilitates its implementation. Last year, we also established the National Commission on the Rights of Children.

Mr. President,

Twenty years ago, Graca Machel asked the international community to come together and address the plight of children in conflict, and proposed the appointment of a Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict.

Pakistan fully supports the appointment and the mandate of the Special Representative. But we also believe that its mandate should not become a tool to achieve political objectives. The legal parameters of the mandate, as provided by the relevant Security Council Resolutions, must be respected. We hope this principle will be kept in mind in future reports.

I thank you, Mr. President.