Press Releases

    SG/SM/8036
    21 November 2001

    ‘THIS GENERATION OF AFGHAN CHILDREN MUST BECOME HARBINGERS OF PEACE’, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL

    NEW YORK, 20 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is text of remarks by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Security Council meeting today on children and armed conflict:

    It gives me great pleasure to join you today. As you know, we had hoped to hold this debate in September to mark the opening of the General Assembly’s special session on children. But the meeting had to be postponed for obvious reasons.

    The United Nations has always sought to alleviate the plight of children affected by war. The situation in Afghanistan has only reaffirmed this concern. For this reason, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Office of my Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict are working with Mr. Brahimi to ensure that the protection of children, and of civilians in general, is a key part of efforts to restore and rebuild Afghanistan. This generation of Afghan children must become harbingers of peace.

    The resolution before the Council today tells each of us what we have to do to protect children in armed conflict. It calls on States to punish conduct that fuels and exacerbates conflict. It draws attention to issues such as the recruitment of children and trafficking in arms and natural resources. It urges donors, lenders and others to use their financial leverage. And it insists that this Council, the United Nations system, the international financial institutions and others use their influence, as well.

    Field monitoring is also essential, and I shall continue to ensure the deployment of child-protection advisers. The Council also needs timely, accurate information about implementation of its resolutions, and I am committed to providing those reports to you. I also stand ready to bring to your attention the identities of parties that are in violation of any of the provisions of this resolution.

    War, violence and political instability continue to inflict appalling damage on the world’s children. I look forward to working with you in the struggle to keep their needs uppermost in our minds, and to ensure that the rights of children and their protection is maintained as one of our main agenda items, and I hope you will all agree on that.

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