GA: Promotion and protection of the rights of children

Statement on behalf of Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Norway by counsellor Ragnhild H. Simenstad on the amendment to the resolution on rights of the child, 19 December 2016.

| General Assembly

Thank you mr President,

I have the honor to give an explanation of vote before the vote on behalf of Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and my own country Norway -­ all our delegations are cosponsors of the resolution on rights of the child.

The amendment presented in the General Assembly today is very unfortunate, as it is trying to change a paragraph that has been agreed language for more than 10 years.

Operational Paragraph 36 deals with the protection of children affected by armed conflict. In this respect it recognizes the efforts taken to end impunity by ensuring accountability and punishing perpetrators. 

The relevance of the reference to the ICC has been a key part of our common approach to this issue. A number of Security Council resolutions on Children and Armed Conflict note the relevant provisions of the ICC and confirm the importance of the subject matter at hand. As recognized by the Security Council in its most recent resolution on Children and Armed Conflict, resolution 2250 of 2015, the fight against impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern has been strengthened through the work on and prosecution of crimes committed against children by the ICC. 

Since the Rome Statute came into force, crimes committed against children during armed conflict have figured prominently in indictments issued by the ICC in several cases. These cases have sent out the necessary warning signals and serve as a useful deterrent.

We find it therefore deeply disturbing that this established consensus is now attacked for reasons that have nothing to do with the topic dealt with in this resolution and are to the detriment of our common cause.

We will therefore vote against the amendment and hope that others will join us in rejecting this proposal.

I thank you.