Saudi Arabia participates in UN open discussion on children and armed conflict

 Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN has pledged the Kingdom’s backing for international efforts to stop the use of children in armed conflicts.

Speaking during a virtual UN Security Council discussion on the subject, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi called for collective action by the international community to address the issue.

In his briefing on behalf of the Kingdom, the ambassador said strict and effective measures were needed to target armed militias that used children as human shields and the countries that supported them with money and arms.

He pointed out that Saudi Arabia had joined many international frameworks that supported the protection of civilians and children in armed conflicts. These included the multilateral Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (known as the child soldier treaty), the steering committee of the Global Coalition for Reintegration of Child Soldiers, and the Friends of Reintegration group of child soldiers.

In a statement, UN special representative for children and armed conflict, Virginia Gamba, noted key achievements of the 2019 agenda and said 30 action plans and measures had been adopted through direct UN engagement on the ground with parties to better protect children in countries such as Congo, Yemen, and Syria.

She also highlighted the renewal of commitments to action plans in Somalia and Sudan.

Gamba added that perpetrators had been prosecuted for violations against children in Myanmar, Congo, and the Central African Republic.

Other developments that had taken place, she said, included the application of child protection language in peace processes and, within the context of peace agreements, the release of 13,200 children from parties to conflict following UN advocacy in 2019.