Monday, 25 September 2023 12:39 GMT

Regional Conference On Preventing Grave Child Violations In Armed Conflicts Wraps Up In Doha


(MENAFN- Gulf Times) The regional conference on preventing grave violations against children in armed conflicts concluded Sunday in Doha. As chair of the 42nd meeting of the Council of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs, the State of Qatar hosted the one-day event via in-person and virtual attendance and in coordination with the Arab League and the Office of UN Special Representative of Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.
The meeting, in which Their Excellencies the Arab Ministers of Social Affairs participated, discussed regional best practices on preventing grave violations against children in armed conflicts, based on the United Nations General Assembly Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergencies and Armed Conflicts of 1974, the General Assembly Declaration on the Rights of the Child of 1959, the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989, and the optional protocols attached to the convention.
At the end of the meeting, the participants stressed the importance of full commitment to promoting the rights of the Arab child by adopting them via children-focused laws, policies, programs, and plans to discuss the negative repercussions of armed conflicts, conditions of asylum, displacement, and occupation on children in the Arab region, with all the scourges of displacement, homelessness, poverty, deprivation from the basic right to a decent life, cognitive empowerment, health, and the severe psychological effects that children endure, in addition to the dangers of physical exploitation, forced conscription, and so on.
Based on that, the participants expressed concern about the statistics of the UN and regional reports, which indicate a significant increase in the number of violations committed against children in armed conflicts, refugee conditions, displacement, and occupation.
They declared their solidarity with the Palestinian people as a result of the continued violations committed against children by the Israeli occupation forces, including killing, excessive use of force when arresting them, throwing children into prisons, and subjecting them to the most severe physical and psychological torture, and taking children as prisoners in violation of norms, international and humanitarian law, and international conventions on children's rights.
The participants called on the international community to assume its full responsibility for protecting children who suffer from armed conflicts and occupation and protect children, especially in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Palestine, Sudan, and Lebanon, by obliging the concerned parties to decisions and laws that guarantee their protection as an integral part of any comprehensive strategy to prevent and resolve conflicts and to establish sustainable peace through preventive diplomacy, which ensures that children are not stripped of the types of protection afforded to them by the family, society and the law.
In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to increase the awareness of children's issues among governments and decision-makers and strengthen the capacity of governments, and direct decision-makers toward child-friendly public policies, the participants stressed their firm belief that children and youths hold the keys to peace and security. The participants also stressed the importance of investing in nurturing, protecting, and empowering the children and youths skillfully and intellectually in a way that contributes to finding the reasons to raise their future productivity and establishing communities that are capable of achieving growth rates, progress, and preventing themselves from falling into armed conflicts.
They noted that protecting children and guaranteeing their rights is important and should be given special attention in dealing with cases of armed violence in our region, for which every effort must be made to ensure the permanence of their psychological health and to stimulate awareness to immunize children from involvement in armed groups in all its forms, and to firmly believe that childhood has rights that never fall in case of the outbreak of armed violence.
They stressed that the suffering of children affected by armed conflict is one of the most acute sources of political and humanitarian concern today, declaring their commitment to making any effort to ensure the protection of children in areas of armed conflict and to achieve a protective guarantee for the future of all humanity.
The participants commended the State of Qatar's initiative in calling for this meeting, given its enriched record in supporting the population in areas afflicted by armed conflicts, especially its efforts to mitigate the effects of crises and work to provide conditions for ending them. They also appreciated the efforts and measures achieved by member states to advance the situation of childhood and the progress made in addressing the various issues facing children at the national and regional levels.
The participants also praised the role of the General Secretariat of the Arab League in preparing the "comprehensive plan to reduce the recruitment of children in armed conflicts" and to provide appropriate protection for children to prevent their involvement in armed conflicts while providing them with a safe environment. They also praised the partnership with the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Conflict to implement its recommendations to protect children in armed conflicts, as well as the office's participation and efforts in that regard.
The participants welcomed Norway's initiative to organize an international conference on protecting children in armed conflict in Oslo on June 5 - 6, 2023, and they joined in their voice to the central pledge on which this meeting is centered, stating that they declare their certainty that the suffering of children affected by armed conflict is one of the most important sources of acute political and humanitarian concern today, declaring their commitment to making any effort to ensure the protection of children in areas of armed conflict and to achieve a protective guarantee for the future of all humanity.

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