Adress by H.E. Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the Security Council on "The Situation of Children in Armed Conflict"

Baki İlkin 29.04.2009
Mr. President,

Let me welcome the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico. We very much appreciate her desire and gesture to preside over and attend this important meeting. It underlines the importance Mexico attaches to this issue. Allow me also to thank Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Situation of Children in Armed Conflict, for her efforts to protect the children against every form of cruelty and violation. Furthermore, I congratulate Mexico for assuming the Chair of the Working Group of the Council and wish every success.

Mr. President,

Children are our future. We must protect them from every danger at all costs. Yet, countless children all over the world suffer everyday from the most horrible kinds of treatment, being forced as child soldiers and being subject to unspeakable forms of abuse and violence. Listening to Grace Akallo and her moving story, we have been reminded once again of the grave nature of the issue we are dealing today. We fully see once again how important it is to work unrelentingly against use of children in armed conflict and how imperative for this Council to fully assume its responsibilities in this regard. In this context, the Secretary-General's report provides us with a very useful basis to work upon. We fully agree with his observations. We also support his recommendations.

Mr. President,

The loss of lives of children in armed conflict is not only a tragedy of first degree, but also the deprivation of the nations of their future. On the other hand, minors who are raped or faced with grave sexual violence are physically and mentally wounded for ever. We must protect and save our young and future generations from such an intolerable shame and burden.

The cultural values of humanity throughout the world require the protection of children. No one should feel they can trample this cardinal right and principle. We have zero tolerance for the abuse of children under any pretext.

Mr. President,

There were a number of criteria and issues elaborated during the deliberations of the Working Group. I need not go into details. However, we believe that the following points should be borne in mind:

- There is a wide and justified expectation from the Security Council on all issues and problems related to children.

- We all have to encourage and urge the States to continue cooperating with the Working Group.

- We have to expedite and facilitate the work of our Group by timely considering reports.

Mr. President,

Turkey is party to each and every UN instrument related to the rights of the children.

Of course, these UN instruments have become very much an integral part of our national legislation. We also support the initiatives and we are party to various instruments promoting the rights of the children outside the framework of the UN.

We should do everything possible to hold accountable the violators of the children rights before justice. There should be no impunity for the criminals and violators if we are to put an end to this horrific crime. There is still a long way ahead of us to achieve this objective. We should remain committed and do not refrain from taking the necessary steps as appropriate. Turkey is resolved to be an active partner in this honorable journey.

Thank you.