Pressure needed to end child soldier use: France

Sri Lankan Police forming a human chain in parliament to protect the Speaker and enable a vote.

UNITED NATIONS, September 26, 2011 (AFP) – States and armed groups that refuse to stop recruiting child soldiers must be subject to tougher pressure in the form of sanctions, France’s ambassador for human rights has said. Francois Zimeray will make that case on Monday at a meeting at the United Nations on the sidelines of the General Assembly, which will focus on follow-up to a 2007 Paris conference on ways to end the use of child soldiers.

A UN Security Council working group on child soldiers has envisioned tighter political sanctions on those countries blacklisted for committing grave violations with respect to the use of children in armed conflict.

But the process is bogged down in red tape, and makes implementation difficult.

“We are going to ask that the sanctions mechanism be simplified to step up the pressure on the combatants, so that it can be made more effective. Right now, it’s ridiculously complex,” Zimeray told AFP in an interview.

The French envoy however noted that the system is not useless.

“It has a real deterrent effect — no country wants to be on that blacklist,” he said in New York ahead of Monday’s meeting.

“We are regularly recording demobilizations of child