For a reaffirmed collaboration on the prevention of grave violations against children in the Arab world – World
Cairo/New York, 7 June 2022 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, concluded a three-day visit to Cairo that allowed her Office and the League of Arab States to operationalize their commitment to end and prevent grave violations against children in armed conflict in the Arab world and discuss the way forward.
The two entities jointly reaffirmed the importance of protecting the rights of children before, during and after conflict and their long-standing commitment to work together to fulfill this promise.
During her visit, the Special Representative welcomed the opportunity to meet with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt, HE Sameh Hassan Shoukry, to discuss closer collaboration in the protection of childhood. As part of her engagement with the League of Arab States, she also exchanged with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, HE Ahmed Aboul Gheit and the Under-Secretary General for Social Affairs of the League of Arab States, Dr Haifa. Abu Ghazaleh. Furthermore, she met with the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the League of Arab States, HE Ambassador Salem Mubarak Al Shafi, the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the League of Arab States, HE Ambassador Abdulrahman bin Saeed Al-Jumah, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Egypt and Libya, HE Hilde Klemetsdal, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Elena Panova, and members of the United Nations Country Team .
Children and young people represent the majority of the population in the Arab world, including in countries affected by conflict, which makes collaboration around the mandate of children and armed conflict of paramount importance for the partnership between the UN and the LAS, underlined the Special Representative. Progress has been made in recent months by Arab States in strengthening the protection of children in armed conflict through concrete and practical measures, and the United Nations supports these efforts.
“Children and young people represent a dynamic, powerful and resilient force for the Arab region. The last decade has had its share of challenges for them, with an increasing number of social, political and security changes in the region; and in this context, the protection of all children and their rights must remain a priority”, stressed the Special Representative.
New and emerging crises, as well as protracted armed conflicts in countries across the region, have forced millions of children to flee their homes, making them more vulnerable to recruitment or use by armed groups, killed or maimed , or victims of other crimes such as sexual violence, including sex trafficking. In conflict situations, the current vulnerability of children to violations of their rights has been exacerbated in recent years by the COVID-19 pandemic, making their effective protection from the harms of war an increasingly distant goal.
Regional organizations have a key role to play in preventing grave violations against children, as recently underlined by the Security Council in its resolution 2427 (2018), which highlighted the essential contribution of regional and subregional organizations protecting children against hostilities and supporting national authorities in doing so.
“Protecting children before, during and after conflict requires us to take stronger preventive measures, including in our mediation and peace negotiation efforts, to ensure that all children can access a peaceful future, in accordance to the promises of the Sustainable Development Goals. We have a common responsibility not only to protect children from the ravages of wars, but also to support them in their recovery and equip them with the tools to build peaceful and wealthy societies in the Arab world,” added Virginia Gamba.
For more information, please contact:
Fabienne Vinet, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
+1-212-963-5986 (office) / +1-917-288-5791 (mobile) / [email protected]