Statement by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict
19 September 2012
I would like to thank Germany for hosting this Open Debate on ‘Children and Armed Conflict’. Germany has been making significant contributions on the issue of Children and Armed Conflict, which include efforts that lead to the adoption of the resolution 1998, and we strongly commend its efforts. This issue is important not only from the humanitarian perspective of protecting children, but also in terms of peace and security, as the use of child soldiers leads to tragic consequences. This is why it is extremely important to address this issue at the Security Council.
The Government of Japan warmly welcomes the appointment of Ms. Leila Zerrougui as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. We also thank the Special Representative, as well as UNICEF Executive Director Mr. Anthony Lake, Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Mr. Hervé Ladsous and President of the International Center for Transitional Justice Mr. David Tolbert for their briefings.
The latest report of the Secretary-General includes attacks on schools and hospitals as a listing criterion for the Annex Lists, and the Government of Japan welcomes this development. Attacks on, as well as unjust occupation of these facilities not only invite the killing and maiming of children but also deprive children of their right to an education and prevent them from accessing health services, which can have long-term repercussions on society. Such acts must cease immediately.
I would like to focus on the issue of persistent perpetrators and the fight against impunity.
It is our grave concern that the number of persistent perpetrators has increased drastically according to the latest SG report. Currently, some, though not all, sanctions committees have designation criteria for grave violations against children; however, the de la Sabliére report presents various, in-depth options to address this issue including the creation of a thematic sanction committee. The Security Council should assess the viability of those options and exercise practical measures against persistent perpetrators; otherwise, the Annex Lists will be at the risk of losing substance.
The role of judicial organizations is also critical. This year, the Special Court for Sierra Leone found Charles Taylor guilty for such crimes as the recruitment and use of child soldiers. This is a significant advancement in the fight against impunity. Also, the ICC found Thomas Lubanga guilty of the war crime of conscripting and enlisting children or using them to participate actively in hostilities during domestic conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is a milestone sentence in strengthening the rule of law, given that it is the first sentence since the establishment of the ICC 10 years ago. Furthermore, let me underscore that the Security Council which is authorized to refer a case to the ICC and the ICC, which conducts the investigation, prosecution and trial, need to deepen substantive dialogue between each other, collaborate more constructively and build a relationship where each is accountable to the other.
More than a decade has passed since the issue of Children and Armed Conflict was included in the Security Council agenda in 1998. From those discussions, we saw a series of structural developments, including the creation of the Annex Lists and Action Plans, and now it is required that we implement those mechanisms.
In this regard, the Government of Japan welcomes the signings this year of an Action Plan for the release and reintegration of children associated with the Government forces in Myanmar in June, and an Action Plan by the Somali Transitional Federal Government in July to end recruitment and use of children. We also highly commend the efforts exerted by the former Special Representative Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy for conducting a number of field trips to hold dialogues with various parties and bringing tangible results.
Japan co-sponsored the resolution S/2012/713 and welcomes the adoption.
I thank you, Mr. President.