New York [US], September 10 (ANI): India on Thursday called on United Nations member states to demonstrate the greater political will to hold the perpetrators of terrorism and their collaborators, as well as their sponsors, to account in order to fulfil Council's child protection obligations as these terror networks are directly or indirectly responsible for abusing child rights.
In a statement during the 'Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict', New Delhi said that terror networks spread their tentacles across borders threatening peace and stability. Children are worst affected as they live with a looming sense of fear and uncertainty and are often deprived of their right to education, it added.
New Delhi said that there should be greater recognition and comprehensive action to counter threats to children posed by terrorist groups in different parts of the world
"In order to advance child protection agenda of the Council, its synergies with counter-terrorism need to be translated into action. Terrorist outfits and individuals proscribed by the Council are directly or indirectly responsible for abusing child rights. Member States need to demonstrate the greater political will to hold the perpetrators of terrorism and their collaborators and sponsors, especially those sanctioned by the Council, to account, to fulfil the Council's child protection obligations," the statement read.
India said that lack of access to schools and treacherous learning environments lend children vulnerable to exploitation and recruitment by terrorists and other non-state actors.
It also noted that despite persistent focus from the international community, grave violations against children and attacks on spaces of learning persist. These trends are often both causes and consequences of complex conflicts.
"Lack of access to schools and treacherous learning environments lend children vulnerable to exploitation and recruitment by terrorists and other non-state actors. Education facilities are often used as vehicles for radicalization and indoctrination to violent extremist ideologies. Much of these happen in absence of opportunity for quality formal education for children," the statement noted.
India highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the already existing child protection challenges. It explained that the crisis has also demonstrated the power of technology, especially education technology to provide learning opportunities to children affected by armed conflicts. "The international community must cease this momentum to use the full potential of technology to fulfil hitherto unkept promises to the children," it added.
Citing an example of Sahel region of Africa, New Delhi said the region calls for greater attention of the Security Council where attacks on schools are on a surge as a consequence of a complex regional conflict.
"The terrorists and armed groups are increasingly targeting education facilities leading to school closures. Occupation of schools for military purposes in violation of international humanitarian law is also a contributing factor in this crisis. This has set in motion a range of negative impacts on children especially girls," the statement said.
India highlighted six points in the context including that the Security Council must do all that is possible to support efforts of governments to protect schools and other learning spaces, students and teachers to ensure uninterrupted education for children. It also said that the UN peace operations, both military and political, should have clear and unambiguous mandate and commensurate resources to protect children and their education facilities as per humanitarian and human rights law.
"Third, the Council needs to factor in the stark reality that non-state parties to armed conflicts have little regard for upholding their obligations under international law. This creates asymmetric dynamics in the field vis-a-vis the states or the UN peace operations. The Council, therefore, needs to ensure that those who are engaged in protection children on its behalf have the necessary resources, pre-deployment and in-mission training to operate and deliver in extremely challenges situations," it added
"Fourth, there should be greater recognition and comprehensive action to counter threats to children posed by terrorist groups in different parts of the world. Fifth, we need more objective reporting by the UNSC mandated officials based on complex dynamics of the situations and obligations of different parties to the armed conflict. The tendency of 'mandate creep' must be checked to maintain efficacy and sanctity," the statement further said,
For Sahel region, New Delhi said that a military response to the situation can only bear desired results if these are integrated with inclusive regional and national strategies towards security, governance, development, human rights and humanitarian issues and ownership by the Governments especially in upholding rule of law
"Sahel must continue to remain a clear priority for the Peacebuilding Commission. The Council on its part also should remain engaged in implementation of the military and political missions as well as promoting dialogue and intercommunal harmony in the region. The Council must keep up its engagements with the regional bodies. The child protection priorities must be integrated to the core of such engagements," it recommended. (ANI)