[health-vn] NEWSMAKER: CHILD RIGHTS STRIKE UNIVERSAL CHORD, MAKING PROTECTION POSSIBLE – UN ENVOY
vern.weitzel at gmail.com
Sat May 2 10:42:49 EST 2009
Subject: <FONT COLOR="RED">NEWSMAKER:</FONT> CHILD RIGHTS STRIKE UNIVERSAL
CHORD, MAKING PROTECTION POSSIBLE – UN ENVOY
Date: Fri, 1 May 2009 18:00:05 -0400
From: UNNews <UNNews at un.org>
To: <news7 at secint00.un.org>
NEWSMAKER: CHILD RIGHTS STRIKE UNIVERSAL CHORD, MAKING PROTECTION POSSIBLE – UN
New York, May 1 2009 6:00PM
Children are the main victims of conflict, a fact known all too well by the
United Nations envoy tasked with protecting young people caught up in war, who
says progress has been made in getting the international community to focus on
this vital issue which everyone can relate to.
“The rights of children have always been easier than any other rights. Because
when you talk about children there is a universal chord that you strike and
people seem to respond,” Radhika Coomaraswamy said in an interview with the UN
News Centre as part of its
<"http://www.un.org/apps/news/newsmakers.asp?NewsID=12">Newsmaker profile series.
As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Children and Armed
Conflict, Ms. Coomaraswamy serves as a moral voice and independent advocate for
the protection and well-being of boys and girls affected by armed conflict.
This is an enormous undertaking given that, according to Mr. Ban’s latest
report, children are being brutalized in 18 situations of concern around the
globe. It has been estimated that over 2 million children have been killed in
armed conflicts; another 6 million have been rendered permanently disabled; and
more than 250,000 children continue to be exploited as child soldiers.
Ms. Coomaraswamy, a Sri Lankan national who has been serving in her post since
April 2006, believes the sanctions, action plans and “list of shame” put into
place by the Security Council in recent years has made a difference.
“When I go out into the field, there are armed groups who want to get off the
list of shame that [Council resolution] 1612 sets up for those who recruit and
use child soldiers,” she noted.
“There are those who are very principled and won’t use children. Then there are
those who are just ruthless and will use anybody. They are very difficult to
change,” she added.
During the Council’s debate this week on children and armed conflict, Ms.
Coomaraswamy thanked the 15-member body for its efforts which have resulted in
six parties being taken off the list of shame, emphasizing that “this
demonstrates the power of the Council’s focused attention and continuing
engagement, and serves as a testament that it should continue to maintain
pressure on violators to enter into a protection dialogue with the United Nations.”
At the same time, she called on the Council to extend its focus beyond child
soldiers to better deal with violations against children.
“Not to do so threatens to silence the suffering of thousands of children who
are subjected to unspeakable crimes,” she stated.
For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news
Vern Weitzel (Mr.) BSc, BA, MA, M Env Man & Dev
<vern at coombs.anu.edu.au> <vern.weitzel at gmail.com> <vernweitzel at mac.com>
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