Nordic-Baltic joint statement at the Third Committee interaction with SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict Ms. Virginia Gamba

Delivered by Ms. Helen Kaljuläte, Counselor for the Estonian Mission in the UN

Madame Chair,

I am speaking on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and my own country, Estonia.

We thank the SRSG for the thorough overview of the fulfilment of her mandate that we fully support. We are alarmed by the continuing high number of grave violations against children, including the issues highlighted in the latest report: a drastic increase in the cases of denial of humanitarian access, continued vast underreporting of sexual and gender-based violence, and a continuously high number of attacks against schools and hospitals.

COVID-19 compounds both the threats faced by children affected by conflict as well as the challenges related to the protection of children and the monitoring and reporting of violations.

We note and welcome the steps taken by the SRSG to strengthen the impact of her work, including the increased frequency in the submission of reports to the Security Council Working Group, cooperation with other Council sub-bodies, relevant SRSGs, regional organisations and civil society. We also welcome new tools, such as the launch of the Practical guidance for mediators to protect children in situations of armed conflict earlier this year.

We reiterate the importance of the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism for the collection of timely, objective, accurate, and reliable information on grave violations against children. We stress the significance that we attach to the independence, impartiality, and credibility of the Mechanism.

We reiterate our concern regarding the persistent lack of resources for specialised child protection capacities and urge the Security Council and relevant GA Committees to address this gap.

  • Could you share your current assessment about the short- and medium-term impact of COVID-19 on the protection of children in armed conflict, including for the monitoring and reporting of violations?
  • Calls for accountability have done little to address widespread impunity for violations against children. Can you share examples of recent measures that have helped to bring perpetrators to account?
  • Mission drawdown and withdrawal pose challenges for maintaining child protection capacity. How can UN actors and governments cooperate to address potential gaps in these cases?