Tue. Jul 16th, 2024
Oslo, 6 June 2023

‘There is an urgent need to step up the protection of children from the horrors of war. I’m thankful for the commitments by states and organisations to better protect children in armed conflict’, said Norway’s Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt.

At the Oslo Conference on Protecting Children in Armed Conflict, states and organisations committed to better protect children.

‘Increasingly the places children live, learn and play are attacked and destroyed. With more than 100 armed conflicts in the world, the lives and futures of children are at stake. It is vital that states, international organisations and civil society come together to strengthen protection and support to children in armed conflict’, said Huitfeldt.

Around 30 states together with over 40 organisations and civil society recognized that the suffering of children affected by armed conflict is one of the most pressing political and humanitarian concerns today. They committed to making every effort to ensure the protection of children in armed conflict and safeguard our common future.

‘This conference has been a unique and historic gathering, with the majority of countries, UN and civil society present. With 1 in 6 children living in conflict zones, and going to bed unprotected, this is an urgent crisis to deal with. The test for this conference is how the ambitious commitments delivered at the conference translate into tangible results for children. Save the Children stands ready to do our part to stop the war on children’, said Chief Executive Officer Inger Ashing of Save the Children International.

Parties to conflict must protect children. That is an obligation under international law.

‘Protecting children is a choice. And so, too, is putting them at risk, forcing them into conflict, and blatantly denying their needs. War and conflict are the work of adults. Children do not start wars and they are powerless to end them. At a minimum, we must do everything in our power to keep children safe from the dangers and deprivation wrought by those who engage in conflict. I urge all states and entities to make the right choice to protect children today so they can grow up to create a more peaceful world for future generations’, said Executive Director Catherine Russell of UNICEF.

The goal of the Oslo International Conference 5 – 6 June 2023, was to mobilise global action, political and financial commitments to better protect children in armed conflict and safeguard our common future.

‘Everywhere the International Committee of the Red Cross works – from the frontlines to camps, prison facilities and cities, children suffer enormously. At the heart of protecting children in armed conflict lies respect for international humanitarian law; and I am urging states to strengthen their commitments and to influence others to do the same. I am grateful to Norway for convening this important conference to ensure the protection of children in armed conflict receives the political and funding support needed’, said President Mirjana Spoljaric of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Source – Norwegian Government


Closing statement at the conference on protecting children in armed conflict

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt’s closing statement at the conference on Protecting Children in Armed Conflict, 6 June 2023. Norway hosted the conference that took place in Oslo, Norway.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear colleagues,

Yesterday, we started building a stronger community for the protection of children in armed conflict.

Inspiring statements and discussions yesterday and today have made us wiser. Speakers have shared their experiences and good practices.

Many participants mentioned the importance of prevention.

We must work in parallel:

  • to prevent conflicts overall, as children will always suffer the most
  • to prevent the suffering of children when conflicts strike
  • and to provide support to children when war rages

To this end, solid funding is required.

We have also heard states and organisations make solid commitments.

Mozambique had several. I would like to highlight the following: Ensure that children recruited or used by military or terrorist groups are demobilized or released. And ensure that appropriate assistance is provided for their recovery, as well as their social re-integration without discrimination.

The African Union made a number of commitments to strengthen the protection of children.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is joining the Global Commitment.

Street Child Italy committed to strengthen the resilience and lifesaving skills of children affected by armed conflict. And to support the safe socio-economic reintegration of children in protective families and communities.

The Grassroot Empowerment & Development Organization committed to ensure that children in the conflict zones where they operate are protected and assisted to recover from trauma and other consequences of conflict.

Earlier today, Jan Egeland of the Norwegian Refugee Council underlined the importance of presence. We simply cannot protect children if we are not there to protect them. Presence also means that we need to speak to all parties that harm children.

My colleague from Niger expressed his government’s commitment to treating children as victims, no matter what they have been forced to do.

***

Friends,

Protecting children in conflict is a fundamental responsibility of all states and all communities.

It requires cooperation on all levels, with contributions from civil society, international, regional, and local organisations.

Yesterday, I invited everyone to use this conference to bolster these partnerships. I believe that we have done so.

I would like to thank all of you, and in particular our partners, UNICEF, Save the Children, ICRC, the Office of Special Representative Gamba, the African Union and OCHA.

We could not have done this without you.

In addition to organizing the conference with us, you are the ones who work hard every day to protect children in conflict zones.

Your efforts enable progress towards our common goal: that children are safe and given the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Thank you.

Source – Norwegian Government

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