Sierra Leone Addresses the UN Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict

n an important briefing session presided over by Malta, Sierra Leone, through its Representative to the Security Council, H.E. Dr. Michael Imran Kanu, voiced its deep concerns on the profound impacts of armed conflicts on children, specifically focusing on the egregious denial of humanitarian access.

Ambassador Kanu expressed Sierra Leone’s gratitude towards the conveners for addressing this critical issue as a signature event, and extended thanks to the briefers, Ms. Virginia Gamba, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), Mr. Ted Chaiban from UNICEF, for their valuable briefings, and he also thanked Ms. Atim Niger-Thomas of the Authentique Memorial Empowerment Foundation, for the perspective shared.

The Ambassador underscored the alarming increase in violations against children, highlighting the current global predicament as witnessing the highest number of violent conflicts since World War II. He detailed the various forms of denial of humanitarian access, including attacks on relief workers, bureaucratic obstacles, and the suspension or diversion of aid, which in turn exacerbate the vulnerability of children to further abuses.

Emphasizing the critical nature of humanitarian access, Sierra Leone called upon all conflict parties to respect and facilitate the safe, rapid delivery of humanitarian aid, particularly to children. Sierra Leone also urged member States to ensure that counterterrorism measures do not hinder the provision of essential aid.

Highlighting the ongoing debate regarding the classification of denial of humanitarian access as a trigger for listing in the Secretary-General’s annual report on CAAC, Sierra Leone articulated a firm stance on recognizing such denial as a grave violation. Drawing from its own experiences with conflict, Sierra Leone stressed the importance of accountability and the prevention of impunity for ensuring sustainable peace and development.

In conclusion, Sierra Leone reaffirmed its commitment to supporting strategies aimed at preventing conflicts and protecting children in armed conflicts, advocating for stronger accountability mechanisms against child rights violations.

This statement not only reflects Sierra Leone’s dedication to the well-being of children worldwide but also underscores the critical need for concerted global efforts to address and mitigate the impacts of armed conflict on the most vulnerable.

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