Zhang Jun (C, front), China's permanent representative to the UN, addresses a Security Council briefing on children and armed conflict, at the UN headquarters in New York, Feb. 12, 2020. Zhang asked for efforts to protect children in armed conflict through the settlement of conflicts on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy on Wednesday asked for efforts to protect children in armed conflict through the settlement of conflicts.
The fundamental approach to protecting children from the harm of armed conflict is to stop and resolve armed conflicts, said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations.
Disputes should be resolved through equal dialogue and negotiation, and the use or threat of use of force must be avoided. More attention should be paid to conflict prevention and the promotion of peace processes, Zhang told the Security Council, which held a briefing on children and armed conflict to coincide with the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers.
In this regard, the special needs of children should be fully taken into account so as to ensure that children are free from the harm of conflict, and that their rights, including the right to education, are safeguarded, he said.
The Security Council should earnestly discharge its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and stay committed to facilitating political settlement of conflicts through mediation, said Zhang.
China firmly supports the Security Council in fulfilling its mandate under the UN Charter and continuing to play an active role in conflict prevention, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding so as to allow children around the world to grow in a peaceful, secure, and stable environment.
Meanwhile, he said, countries in conflict should assume the primary responsibility for protecting children in armed conflict. All parties to conflict should prohibit the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
In this context, the United Nations and the international community should fully respect the leadership of the countries concerned, maintain close communication and coordination with them, support their capacity building, mobilize international resources to address their practical difficulties, such as funding and technology gaps, and promote the effective implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions by those countries, said the Chinese ambassador.
Since 2018, under the framework of the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund, the Chinese government has provided financial and technical assistance to Somalia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to train officials and improve capacity building in the area of child protection. Those efforts have produced positive results, said Zhang.
He said a comprehensive strategy is needed to make the return of children to their families, schools and society a priority for post-conflict reconstruction.
Even if children survive a conflict, many of them may relapse into tragic situations due to physical and mental health issues and the lack of education, he noted.
China calls on the international community and relevant UN agencies to work closely to support post-conflict countries in peaceful reconstruction, economic and social development, as well as the resettlement, demobilization, repatriation, and reintegration of former child soldiers in order to ensure that children have access to basic social services and can enjoy their rights to health and education.
China stands ready to work with the international community to maintain international peace and security and improve the situation of children in armed conflict so as to provide all children worldwide with a shared future of peace, stability, and happiness, said Zhang.