The EU would like to express its strong and full support to the work and the activities of Ms. Gamba, who continues to be fully committed to allowing children to enjoy their childhood and to hope for a better future, even in time of war, since they represent the lifeblood of every society. We commend her work with regional and sub-regional organizations and the technical assistance provided to States, including the campaign "Act to protect children affected by armed conflict".
This debate comes at a really challenging time for the protection of children in times of war. The figures of the latest SG Report on Children and Armed Conflict and the last report of the SRSG portray a bleak picture in terms of the grave situation of children living in crisis contexts. Children are increasingly exposed to violence, exploitation, abuses, including military and para-military recruitment, making it even more difficult for them to have access to health and education services and to ensure their well-being. In this dramatic moment, the EU deems it even more important to strengthen global efforts aiming at ensuring the rights of the child, meeting their needs and also protecting children in situations of armed conflict
The EU encourages States to sign and ratify to the First Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict with a view to achieving its universal ratification. It is also imperative to ensure the right of children to education, facilitating access to education in situations of armed conflict, thereby contributing to long-term development goals.
We welcome the progress in signing Action Plans by parties to conflict and the direct engagement of the SRSG in this regard. We encourage full implementation of all Action Plans and other commitments. It is fundamental to guarantee accountability for perpetrators of all six grave violations against children, as we must spare no efforts to carry forward a comprehensive rehabilitation and reintegration of children, ensuring that international juvenile justice standards and due process are applied to any criminal proceedings involving a child perpetrator.
Mrs. Gamba, How can we reinforce the UN CAAC mandate considering the new challenges posed by COVID-19?