Security Council slams use of children in armed conflict

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 12, 2008 (AFP) – The UN Security Council on Tuesday slammed the continuing recruitment and use of children in armed conflict and deplored the systematic use of rape and other forms of sexual violence against them. It did so in a non-binding statement adopted at the end of a day-long debate attended by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF) executive director Ann Veneman and Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN special representative for children and armed conflict.

The text, adopted by all 15 members, stressed the need to end impunity for such violations and abuses and for “a broad strategy of conflict prevention, which addresses the root causes of armed conflict in a comprehensive manner.”

It said the council “strongly condemns the continuing recruitment and use of children in armed conflict” and “is concerned with the widespread use and systematic use of rape and other forms of sexual violence against children particularly girls in situations of armed conflict.”

“Sexual violence is often used as a weapon of war and there must be greater focus and attention on this issue,” Veneman said. “We need to put an end to the abuse, the rapes and the sexual violence.”