Statement by H.E. Ambassador ISHIKANE Kimihiro, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict

Mr. President,
I would like to begin by thanking Estonia for convening this important meeting. I thank also the Secretary-General and his Special Representative for the report on children and armed conflict.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. Japan highly values the efforts and achievements made to date in protecting children affected by armed conflict, particularly by the UN peacekeeping operations and special political missions as well as UNICEF and other agencies on the ground. It is regrettable, however, that children in armed conflict continue to experience grave and large scale violations of their most basic rights. In conflict affected areas, girls are facing particular risks of abduction and sexual violence. Japan urges all parties to armed conflict to fully comply with their obligations under international human rights law and humanitarian law and implement all Security Council resolutions on children and armed conflict.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated children’s vulnerability to violence and abuses in conflict settings. Child protection responses must not be ceased or hampered. Safe, timely and unimpeded humanitarian access to children in need is a matter of high priority, as recognized in Resolutions 2532 and 2565. The Council must use its influence to the fullest extent to implement an immediate global ceasefire and facilitate the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 2286 on healthcare in armed conflict.
Mr. President,
Japan is committed to protecting children affected by conflict. In February, Japan committed a 6.6 million USD contribution to the UN agencies, including UNICEF, to urgently protect the people affected by the situation in Tigray region, Ethiopia. Through this assistance, 624,000 children and 267,000 pregnant and lactating women will receive nutritional support. This assistance will also enable essential healthcare facilities to be repaired and 50,000 internally displaced persons and children to receive medical support including mental healthcare. In addition, in December, Japan decided to extend 3.3 million USD assistance for refugees in Sudan who had entered from the Tigray region.
Japan is also committed to safeguarding children’s right to education and echoes the urgent need to protect schools from attacks and to ensure access to safe and quality education. No child should be left behind. In February, Japan contributed about 4 million USD to UNICEF to provide quality learning for 135,000 children in Yemen, where their access to education continues to be jeopardized due to prolonged conflict. This contribution will also support 3,000 teachers in delivering quality education. Japan also decided in February to contribute 9 million USD to support UNRWA in building or rehabilitating 6 elementary and middle schools in Gaza to provide more classrooms and better education facilities, including mental healthcare, to match increasing student enrollment.
Mr. President,
Child protection is critical under conflict situations. At the same time, from a human security perspective, Japan deems it equally important to empower children by providing every child equal opportunity to fully develop their human potential. To serve longer-term peacebuilding objectives, we should spare no effort to improve learning environments and ensure access to safe and quality education. Japan will continue to work closely with other Member States, the United Nations system, international humanitarian organizations and civil society organizations in this endeavor.
Thank you.