Delivered By: Ghasaq Shaheen, Chargé d’Affaires

Mr. President,

At the outset, the United Arab Emirates associates itself with the statement of the Arab Group.

I also thank the briefers for their sobering statements.

Mr. President,

The world is facing the highest number of armed conflicts since WWII, and children are among the most vulnerable to the dangers of war. According to the Secretary-General’s report, violations committed against children has increased significantly over the past year, including the killing, maiming and recruitment of children, as well as sexual violence.

Against this backdrop, the international community must renew its demands on all parties to comply with international law, including international humanitarian law, and to stop their violations. We also call on all parties newly listed in the annexes to the report of the secretary-general on children and armed conflict, to work closely with the Special Representative to develop appropriate measures for the protection of children.

In the context of today’s discussion, I would like to emphasize three issues:

First, we must not accept the imposition by the conflicting parties of a reality in which humanitarian aid is prevented from reaching those in need, especially children. This issue is urgent as children are at risk of malnutrition and starvation. The international community has repeatedly called for safe and unhindered humanitarian access, including through Security Council resolutions, but these demands have not yet been met. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to ensuring humanitarian access in conflict. The Security Council could leverage a range of tools at its disposal. This includes the development of mechanisms to increase the flow of humanitarian assistance and to facilitate, monitor and verify the delivery of aid at scale. An example of this is the mechanism established by resolution 2720.

Second, our approach to protecting children from armed conflict must be comprehensive, centered around prevention and enable the participation of all relevant actors. For example, UN peace missions should be designed with this in mind, such as the inclusion of child protection advisers, but it is also important that they are designed to build the capacity of national institutions and local communities to counter and prevent the six grave violations, so that they are prepared to face these challenges after peace missions withdraw.

Third, children, girls and boys alike, must be guaranteed access to their equal right to quality education even during conflicts. As we have mentioned in previous meetings, technology must be leveraged to facilitate safe and uninterrupted access to education, including by supporting and financing digital education initiatives and providing the necessary tools to educational institutions and students. However, this does not mean replacing schools, which must be protected.

Before I conclude, Mr. President, it would be remiss of me not to speak about the situation of Palestinian children as a result of the current war on Gaza. As the Secretary-General said, the Strip has become a graveyard for children. Save the Children have estimated that up to 21,000 children are missing during the war. These children will also face long-term trauma because of this conflict, especially those orphaned or amputated as a result of bombardment and violence. An immediate ceasefire is urgently needed in Gaza and across all conflict areas.

Allow me to end by reaffirming the UAE’s deep commitment to the protection of children in conflict, in accordance with international law and this Council’s framework on children and armed conflict and in cooperation with our international partners.

Thank you, Mr. President.