Let me first thank the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict for her report and statement here today. Norway fully supports the manner in which you execute your mandate.
We are deeply concerned about the information in your report regarding unprecedented challenges for the protection of millions of children growing up in countries affected by conflict materialized in 2014. We welcome the progress made under the “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign and the momentum gained to end the use of children in armed conflict.
Your report draws attention to the needs of children exposed to violence carried out by extremist groups. It is stated that this will pose even greater challenges to which we must prepare a structured and coordinated response. Could the Special Representative share her views on what more can be done in this regard?
We are pleased you address the need to strengthen the protection of schools from military use in situations of armed conflict. We welcome the strong message to Member States to adopt the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. Norway, together with Argentina, has taken lead on promoting the Guidelines. We are now in the process of consulting on a SAFE SCHOOLS political declaration where the Guidelines are included. The aim is to adopt the Guidelines at an international meeting in Oslo in June where States will commit themselves to work towards safe schools for all.
We would also like to thank the Special Representative on Violence against Children for her report and statement here today. We welcome the focus on opportunities and risks associated with children’s use of new information technology. We agree that informed and engaged parents and caregivers are important to detect and respond to online risks. In our view, it is also important to design tools to be used by professionals who work with children such as childcare services, teachers and others. We would appreciate if the Special Representative could share her views on the effectiveness of such tools to minimize online risks for children.