Thank you, President,
Norway would like to thank Dr Radhika Coomaraswamy, the outgoing SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, for preparing her annual report to the Human Rights Council. Dr Coomaraswamy has been an exemplary mandate holder, combining the need to provide normative guidance with achieving real progress for children suffering from effects of armed conflict.
We would also like to welcome Ms Leila Zerrougui in her new capacity as SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict. Her esteemed record in international human rights work leaves no doubt that she will carry out the mandate according to the highest standards.
Norway appreciates the emphasis in the report on the humanitarian consequences of explosive weapons used in densely populated areas. Such weapons have a devastating impact on civilians, including children. Norway supports the work being done on this issue by the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) coalition, in particular the research by Save the Children, Action on Armed Violence, Human Rights Watch and others. We encourage further data collection on the humanitarian consequences of the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas.
Norway also welcomes the focus in the report on importance of reparations. Reparations must be a part of the overall strategy for transitional justice in a given case, which should also include measures for accountability, truth and vetting. In any transitional process, it is important to keep in mind that children have special needs that will differ from adults.
Norway supports the conclusion in the report about children’s access to education as a powerful means of protection form involvement with armed forces. Security Council Resolution 1998 is a very important instrument in this regard. We also believe that the concrete experience from Nepal deserves attention. Nepal is a Millennium Development Goal 2 trailblazer, despite its extensive civil conflict in recent decades. One reason for this is their effort to establish and maintain Schools as Zones of Peace, through negotiations between local communities, government agencies, the military and Maoist forces. We would like to ask if the SRSG thinks the experience from Nepal can serve as an example for similar cases elsewhere?
Finally, Norway considers free birth registration, which is mentioned in the report, to be a practical issue that deserves even more attention. In this regard, we would like to ask for the SRSG’s opinion on how the registration of every child at birth can protect against under-age recruitment?
Thank you, President.