Press Release

For a Reaffirmed Collaboration on Preventing Grave Violations Against Children in the Arab World

08 June 2022

  • Children and youth account for a majority of the population in the Arab world, including in conflict-affected countries, making the collaboration around the Children and Armed Conflict mandate of paramount importance for the partnership between the UN and the LAS, the Special Representative emphasized.

Cairo/ New York - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, concluded a three-day visit to Cairo which provided opportunities for her Office and the League of Arab States to solidify their pledge to end and prevent grave violations against children in armed conflict in the Arab world and discuss the way forward.

The two entities jointly reaffirmed the importance to protect the rights of children before, during, and after conflict and their longstanding engagement in collaborating in delivering this promise.

During her visit, the Special Representative welcomed the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Sameh Hassan Shoukry, to discuss closer collaboration on child protection. As part of her engagement with the League of Arab States, she further exchanged with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, H.E. Ahmed Aboul Gheit.  Additionally, she met with the Assistant Secretary-General for Social Affairs of the League of Arab States, Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the League of Arab States, H.E. Ambassador Salem Mubarak Al Shafi, the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the League of Arab States, H.E. Ambassador Abdulrahman bin Saeed Al-Jumah, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Egypt and Libya, H.E. Hilde Klemetsdal, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Elena Panova, and members of the United Nations Country Team.

Children and youth account for a majority of the population in the Arab world, including in conflict-affected countries, making the collaboration around the Children and Armed Conflict mandate of paramount importance for the partnership between the UN and the LAS, the Special Representative emphasized. There has been progress in recent months by Arab States in enhancing the protection of children in armed conflict through concrete and practical measures, and the United Nations supports such efforts.

“Children and youth represent a dynamic, powerful, and resilient strength for the Arab region. The past decade has had its share of challenges for them, with an increasing number of social, political, and security changes in the region; and in that context, the protection of all children and of their rights must remain a priority,” the Special Representative stressed.

New and emerging crises, as well as protracted armed conflict in countries of the region, have forced millions of children to flee their homes, making them more vulnerable to being recruited or used by armed groups, killed or maimed, or victims of other crimes such as sexual violence, including trafficking for sexual purposes. In situations of conflict, children’s existing vulnerability to violations of their rights has been exacerbated in recent years by the COVID-19 pandemic, making their effective protection from the harms of war an increasingly remote goal.

Regional organisations have an instrumental role to play in the prevention of grave violations against children as highlighted recently by the Security Council in Resolution 2427 (2018), which emphasized the critical contribution of regional and subregional organizations in protecting children from hostilities as well as in supporting national authorities to do so.

“The protection of children before, during, and after conflict, requires us to take stronger prevention steps, including in our mediation and peace negotiation efforts, to ensure that all children can access a peaceful future, per the promises of the Sustainable Development Goals. We have a common responsibility not only to protect children from the ravages of wars but also to support them in their recovery and equip them with the tools that are required to build peaceful and wealthy societies throughout the Arab world,” Virginia Gamba added.

Note to editors:

Countries on the CAAC agenda in the Arab region: Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, State of Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen

###

For additional information, please contact:

Fabienne Vinet, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

+1-212-963-5986 (office) / +1-917-288-5791 (mobile) / vinet@un.org

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook:

https://www.instagram.com/nochildreninwar/
www.twitter.com/childreninwar
www.facebook.com/childrenandarmedconflict

For a Reaffirmed Collaboration on Preventing Grave Violations Against Children in the Arab World

UN entities involved in this initiative

RCO
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
UN
United Nations

Goals we are supporting through this initiative