49th session of the HRC – ID with SRSG on children and armed conflict – Statement by Estonia on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries – to be delivered by Ambassador Katrin Saarsalu-Layachi – 15-16 March 2022
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Estonia.
We thank the Special Representative for her report and welcome the work undertaken during 2021.
Our countries remain deeply concerned by the continuing high level of grave violations against children in conflicts worldwide and call upon all States and other relevant stakeholders to take effective steps to prevent and bring an end to these.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the unprovoked aggression against Ukraine by the Russian Federation. The Russian-initiated military conflict in Ukraine has lasted the past eight years and has already caused profound and lasting damage to children. The full-scale invasion has caused staggering civilian casualties in Ukraine, including dozens of children killed and more than a hundred wounded. Civilian areas and critical infrastructure, including the kindergartens, schools, orphanages, and hospitals have been indiscriminately bombed and destroyed. Children are forced to flee, many unaccompanied and separated from their parents, and at risk of threats such as sexual and gender based violence or disappearance.
Civilians, including children, and civilian infrastructure must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law, without discrimination of any kind. Those responsible for violations against children must be held accountable. There should be no impunity for acts like the horrendous bombing of the maternal hospital in Mariupol.
Madam Special Representative,
What are your planned activities to monitor the situation of children affected by conflict in Ukraine?