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Aug 04, 2016 / 09:47

Vietnam protests violence against children

On August 2, Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, Permanent Representative of Vietnam at the United Nations attended the Open Debate of the United Nations Security Council on “Children and armed conflict” chair by Malaysia in New York.

The Ambassador made the statement that Vietnam condemns the killing of and violence against children, including sexual violence, the recruitment and use of child soldiers, acts of abduction and attacks targeting schools and hospitals. 

In her speech, Ambassador Nga stressed States have the primary responsibility in advancing the universal goal of full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by all. Ambassador Nga highly spoke of the tangible progress made to protect children from armed conflicts. “Thousands of children have been released from armed groups; States concerned are implementing their respective Council-mandated action plans; child protection policies have been incorporated in peacekeeping operations,” she said. 
Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, Head of Vietnam Delegation in the UN
Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, Head of Vietnam Delegation in the UN
Despite these efforts, children continue to be deprived of their basic rights and needs in both armed conflicts and post-conflict situations, the ambassador stressed, voicing her concern over the long-term impacts on children’s development. Nga called on all parties to conflicts to put an end to the outrageous acts against children by complying with international human rights and humanitarian law. 

She underlined the need for a preventive strategy that addresses the root causes of armed conflict by promoting sustainable development, poverty eradication, national reconciliation, the rule of law at both national and international levels, promotion and protection of human rights, and the reintegration and rehabilitation of children affected by armed conflict. 

She suggested that in post-conflict situations, “UN agencies should devote more resources to programs targeting children in the areas of education, mental and physical health, as well as addressing the long-term impacts on children, particularly girls and children with disabilities”. Vietnam is strongly committed to defending and promoting the best interests of children, especially those affected by conflicts, such as victims of explosive war remnants and Agent Orange/Dioxin, Nga affirmed. 

Vietnam was one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and has ratified the Optional Protocol on the Use of Children in Armed Conflict. During its tenure in the Council in 2008-2009, Vietnam convened an open debate on children and armed conflict and worked with other Council members to adopt Resolution 1882 (2009). 

In his remarks at the debate, Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon warned that the global security landscape continues to change dramatically with children still paying the highest price in wartime. They have suffered serious violations of fundamental human rights by being tortured, maimed, imprisoned, starved, sexually abused, conscripted and killed, Ban said. “More than half of the world’s refugees are frightened children,” he noted, urging all countries to do every possible to back their words with actions that protect children from the scourge of armed conflict.

Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga has emphasised the country’s close coordination in promoting human rights and implementing sustainable development at a United Nations debate on human rights. It is important to emphasise that human rights, peace and stability and development are intertwined and indivisible, she said, adding while peace, stability and development lay solid foundations for the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the realisation of human rights is essential to ensure peace and stability and to achieve sustainable development.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development mainstreams human rights, including the right to development, and elimination of inequality across all goals and targets, giving priority to vulnerable groups of women, children, older persons and persons with disabilities.