United States Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
January 18, 2022
AS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD
Thank you, Foreign Minister Huitfeldt and Special Representative Gamba, and all other briefers for today’s discussion.
The 25th Anniversary of the Children and Armed Conflict agenda is a significant milestone, and an opportunity for us to review our progress and think about the road ahead in protecting children from conflict. The United States remains firmly committed to this agenda item, and is keen to see CAAC issues elevated, enhanced, and better integrated into all the work of the Security Council and broader UN.
Over the past 25 years, the CAAC mandate has directly and indirectly protected millions of children. Despite this, children continue to be recruited into armed forces, separated from their families, killed and maimed, sexually assaulted, and denied access to life-saving assistance and services, among numerous other horrific acts. Armed conflict impacts their physical and mental health. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated children’s vulnerability. We must prioritize children’s rights and needs in global pandemic response and recovery programs. We recognize that girls often face systemic discrimination in their communities, are at high risk of gender-based violence both during and after conflict and have unique needs in recovery after conflict. Even the fear of attacks on schools is often enough for parents to keep their daughters at home, preventing their education and limiting their potential. Events like this can impact and hold back entire generations.
The United States is proud of our historic role as the leading donor to UNICEF, and strong supporter of its core mandate to promote and protect children’s welfare around the world. This is not a matter of protecting a small subset of the global population. In many countries, particularly those most impacted by conflict, children comprise most of the population. When we take steps to protect children, we are protecting and safeguarding our collective future.