Ambassador Woodward’s statement at the UN Security Council’s discussion on children and armed conflict.
My thanks to our briefers, in particular Ms Violeta for your tremendous courage and valuable insights on the impact of conflict on children.
The scale of grave violations outlined in the Secretary-General’s report is shocking. Over 8000 children were killed and maimed in 2022. Attacks on schools and hospitals increased by 112%. Violations in the Sahel increased by 85%, in Myanmar by 140%. And over 1,500 children were recruited and used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These are not just statistics. These are the stories of real children and their families and communities.
For the first time, a Permanent Member of this Council, the Russian Federation, is listed for over 1200 grave violations against children. A listing based on robust UN data that represents the tip of the iceberg. There is only one solution to ending the suffering of Ukrainian children: an end to Russia’s illegal invasion.
We will continue to support the Government of Ukraine’s efforts to protect its children and bring them home after Russia’s forced deportations.
International frameworks to ensure children’s rights such as the Safe Schools Declaration, the Children and Armed Conflict Working Group and the CAAC Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism need our full support.
The United Kingdom is taking action. We support programmes delivering psychosocial support, safe spaces, and addressing the drivers of recruitment. And we are a major donor to Education Cannot Wait, helping over 8.8 million children achieve their right to an education.
We will continue to drive the global response to conflict-related sexual violence. To remove barriers to justice, increase support for child survivors, and implement our commitments under the Platform for Action Promoting the Rights and Wellbeing of Children Born of conflict-related sexual violence.
Children do not start wars but they continue to be the most vulnerable to its effects.
We should do better.