NEW YORK – 23 June 2020 – The UAE reiterated its continued commitment to upholding the rights of children around the world and to the architecture established by the UN Security Council on children and armed conflict.

In a written statement submitted to the UN Security Council for its annual open debate on children and armed conflict, the UAE stated: “The COVID-19 pandemic is having broad-reaching and long-term impacts on lives and livelihoods. For children living in conflict situations, this adds yet another layer of vulnerability. They already struggle to access health services and coverage for their basic needs, including access to education. The weakening of their social protection systems incentivizes child recruitment by armed groups, as well as sexual exploitation.”

The UAE further expressed to the Security Council that: “In order to mitigate the impact of armed conflict on children, the UAE takes this opportunity to renew once again its support for, and commitment to, the Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire.”

In regard to the latest report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, the UAE welcomed the delisting of the Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen as recognition from the UN of the Coalition’s unwavering commitment to protecting all civilians in armed conflict, especially children, and of the precautionary and protective measures the Coalition has taken to strengthen the protection of children in Yemen. Together with other Coalition members, the UAE reiterated that the Coalition would continue to uphold its commitments and obligations under international law and UN Security Council resolutions on the protection of children in armed conflict.

The UAE expressed concern for the vulnerable situation of children in the Middle East and said that Israel’s neglect of children in the occupied Palestinian territories and the detention of hundreds of Palestinian children in 2019 was appalling. Additionally, the UAE expressed deep concern over the Houthis’ escalating obstruction of humanitarian relief efforts and condemned it in the strongest terms. The UAE also highlighted that extremist and terrorist groups in the Middle East continue to pose a serious threat to children including deliberate killings, abductions, recruitment for suicide bombings, and sexual abuse of children by these groups.

The UAE noted that its humanitarian efforts are directed towards the long-term interests of children who are threatened by conflict. Since 2017, the UAE has worked with UNICEF and other partners to support the education of 20 million children in 59 countries, including the rebuilding of 16 schools in Mosul and Baghdad in the last year alone. The UAE has also funded two pre-pilot programmes in Iraq and Colombia that allow refugees and vulnerable migrants to get a UNESCO Qualifications Passport in order to have access to higher education and employment opportunities in the future.