Statement at the Ministerial Meeting to follow-up on the implementation of the Paris Commitments related to Children Associated with Armed Forces and Armed Groups
26 September, 2008, United Nations, New York
Australia endorses the Paris Principles. We place the highest priority on protecting children and are dedicated to ensuring the protection of all children from harm and exploitation.
We commend the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict for her continued commitment to her mandate and welcome the significant steps which have been taken to address this issue.
Australia recognises that successful reintegration of children in situations of armed conflict is a complex and time-consuming challenge. We support calls by the Special Representative to look beyond ‘band-aid’ solutions to long-term development responses that comprehensively address the critical reintegration and rehabilitation needs of children affected by armed conflict. We encourage innovative strategies to assist children to transform their negative experiences into positive contributions to the social rehabilitation of their communities.
Australia ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict on 26 September 2006. This demonstrated Australia’s commitment to addressing this issue, and to the broader objectives of the Convention.
Our endorsement of the Paris Principles today at this meeting is a further sign of Australia’s dedication to the protection of all children, particularly those affected by armed conflict, from harm and exploitation and to ensure that those who would abuse them are brought to account.
To this end, I announce that Australia will allocate AUD $200,000 specifically to support UNICEF’s work in the area of child protection for children affected by armed conflict. Our contribution will support targeted UNICEF activities aimed at preventing and responding to unlawful child recruitment and use by armed forces and armed groups.