Statement by Mr. Md Monwar Hossain, PhD, CDA, a.i. and Deputy Permanent Representative of Bangladesh at the open debate of the Security Council on the theme “Children and armed conflict: how to prevent and respond to grave violations against children in armed conflict, 5 July 2023

Madam President,

I thank the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom for convening today’s crucial debate.  I also thank the SRSG Ms. Gamba and ED Ms. Russel and others for their insightful presentations.

Madam President,

The grave violations against children that we are witnessing in so many conflict zones around the world are a moral outrage and a stain on our collective conscience. Despite the continuous efforts of the United Nations, including the Security Council, there were 27,180 such violations, a significant increase from the previous year. This highlights the urgent need for enhanced measures to protect children in armed conflict.

We thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report. We commend the SRSG, country task forces, Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM), and the Security Council Working Group for their efforts in the release and support of 12,460 children associated with armed forces or groups.

Madam President,

Drawing from our own experiences of enduring the horrors of war, Bangladesh remains committed to protecting civilians, especially children, in armed conflict. As the leading TPCC, our dedicated peacekeepers have been serving in many difficult situations to protect the children from being killed, maimed and affected by sexual violence. Furthermore, they have been protecting schools and hospitals and ensuirng their sanctity as spaces of education and healing.

From that conviction, Bangladesh has been providing shelter to over 1.2 million Rohingyas for the last 6 years. Among them, over 52% are children who have endured unimaginable atrocities and persecution in Myanmar. The situation in Myanmar continues to remain dangerous for children. They are often used by the Armed Forces and other armed groups as soldiers. It is critical to address these challenges with urgency in order to ensure that the environment in Myanmar is conducive for all children.

Madam President,

In addressing the guiding questions, allow me to highlight following key points:

First, we firmly believe it is our collective responsibility to ensure that children do not pay the price for the wars  that are waged by adults. We must take decisive and tangible measures to enhance the protection of these vulnerable children who are among the most in need of our support.

The protection of children in armed conflict is primarily the responsibility of the State. Thus, States should ensure that their national laws are in line with international human rights and humanitarian law, as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols. This includes enacting legislation that criminalizes grave violations against children and establishing robust judicial systems to effectively hold perpetrators accountable.

Second, we note the integration of child protection provisions and capacity in UN peacekeeping operations and special political missions. However, the available resources do not match the scale of child protection risks in conflict-affected areas. We urge for increased and timely allocation of critical resources to effectively address the protection needs of children in conflict.

Third, innovation plays a crucial role in addressing the evolving challenges faced by children in armed conflict. We need to explore and pilot innovative approaches that leverage technology, digital platforms, and data-driven solutions to better protect children. Equally important is to leverage technological advancement for collection and analysis of data to anticipate risks and take early action for protection of children in armed conflict.

In this regard, collaboration between governments, civil society, and the private sector is essential to effectively leverage technology for child protection.


Finally, we must tailor our responses to the specific needs of girls. This involves investing in gender-responsive programming, empowering girls through education, and challenging harmful gender norms.

Furthermore, we stress the importance of addressing child protection concerns in early warning, conflict analysis, mediation, transitional justice, and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration processes as recommended by the Secretary-General in this respect.

The role of peacebuilding commission (PBC) is critical in this regard. We call upon the Council to utilize PBC’s advisory role in identifying critical gaps in protection in conflict affected countries and also recognizing good practices in rehabilitation and reintegration of those children.

I thank you, Mr. President.