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Children in Armed Conflict

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Children in Armed Conflict

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Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello)

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Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello)

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Snippet Contents:

I propose to take Questions Nos. 32 and 77 together.
I share the widespread concern at the continue involvement of children in armed conflict, and at the appalling suffering of children in wars and conflicts. The issues involved are highlighted in the most recent annual report of the UN Secretary General on children and armed conflict, which was issued on 15 May. The report notes that children have become more vulnerable in conflicts in recent years because of the absence of clear front lines and identifiable opponents, the increasing use of terror tactics by some armed groups and certain methods used by security forces. It details many grave violations against children, including the appalling situation in Mali, where children allegedly joined armed groups because of poverty.
In presenting the report to the UN Security Council on 17 June, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms Leila Zerrougui, highlighted the extent of the problem and the progress that has been made to date on the protection of children in conflict. She announced a campaign to galvanise the efforts of Governments and the UN system to end by 2016 the recruitment and use of children by government and armed forces in conflict.
The Government has engaged strongly on this issue, including through the core work of our Irish Aid programme in addressing poverty and under-development, with a focus on some of the poorest countries and communities in Africa. Ireland has also supported more targeted and specific action, through support for agencies such as UNICEF and the International Criminal Court, and through elements in our bilateral programmes that address the needs of children affected by conflict.
In Ireland’s new Policy for International Development, “One World, One Future”, the Government has pledged to increase our engagement on the issue of children in armed conflict. I have asked officials to examine options for strengthened action in this area. We are also exploring ways in which we can use our membership of the UN Human Rights Council to support ongoing international efforts to end this exploitation and suffering of children in conflict.