August 12, 2020

Spain offers to the UN to cooperate in the protection of children in wars

Spain offered this Wednesday to the UN its experience in mediation and humanitarian diplomacy to continue advancing in the protection of children who are affected by armed conflicts.

In an act at the headquarters of the United Nations, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, underlined the “commitment” of Spain in this area and defended the strengthening of the mandate of the UN special representative for Children and Armed Conflicts, the Argentina Virgina Prawn.

“I put at your disposal, Mrs. Gamba, the experience of Spain in mediation, in humanitarian diplomacy, so that we can continue to advance in the protection of children affected by armed conflict,” said the minister in her speech.

González Laya recalled that, in wars, minors are “especially vulnerable to attacks, recruitment, sexual violence, kidnapping and denial of humanitarian assistance.”

According to him, Spain wants to explore the “synergies” between the agenda of Children and Armed Conflicts and other areas of work of the UN, such as Mediation and Sustainable Peace.

“It is essential that mediation efforts for the protection of children in armed conflict take into account relevant sociocultural factors, gender and age approaches,” he said.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs also underlined the importance of the Women, Peace and Security agenda in this area, recalling that “too many times girls are doubly victims in armed conflict.”

He also requested coordination with the works to protect education, in which Spain organized last year the third International Conference on Safe Schools.

González Laya participated in a high-level forum organized by Belgium, Sweden and the UN coinciding with the commemoration of the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers.

In this event, in addition to government representatives and international organizations, victims such as the Colombian José Tarache, who was recruited as a child by the United Self-Defense Paramilitaries of Colombia (AUC).

Tarache, who now works to defend minors who see themselves in similar situations, recalled that in his country there are still armed groups that “continue to steal children from vulnerable children.”

“I ask you from my heart to continue with the commitment to design and, above all, to implement policies to prevent and end the violation of the rights of children living in situations of armed conflict,” he told the UN.

The issue of child soldiers was also addressed this Wednesday by the United Nations Security Council, where a guide was presented to help mediators in conflicts take into account the needs of children.

The session was intervened among others by King Felipe of Belgium and the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, who demanded to do more to protect the around 250 million children living in countries with wars.


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