The Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations, the ambassador Omar Hilale denounced, before the Security Council in New York the military enlistment of children by armed groups, calling it one of the “most serious” violations of human rights. “The recruitment of children in refugee camps by armed groups is one of the most serious violations of their rights,” said the Moroccan diplomat, who was speaking at a meeting of the Security Council, organized by the Permanent Missions of Vietnam, Kenya, Niger, Norway, Russia, United States, Malta and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, under the theme “Meeting the challenges of children without parental protection in conflict situations”. Depriving these children of parental protection and of all their rights is a violation of international law, he said, adding that the perpetrators of these violations of the recruitment of child soldiers, as well as those who help them must be “fully” held accountable for their acts. In conflict situations, it is children who pay the “heaviest” price, especially those living in refugee camps, those who are internally displaced, migrants and children of minorities, he pointed out, noting that their vulnerabilities are amplified when they are deprived of parental protection, separated from their families, unaccompanied or orphaned. The fundamental rights of all children, in particular those without parental protection, must be respected, protected, affirmed and considered as a priority, he underlined, recalling to this effect the appeals of the UN Secretary-General to save lives, protect societies and recover better. Mr. Hilale, in this regard, called on member states to prioritize the education, food, health and safety of vulnerable people, including children in situations of armed conflict, adding that unaccompanied children and those separated from their families need specific protection. “It is important to ensure that they benefit from all the rights and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant instruments,” Mr Hilale said. In this regard, the Moroccan ambassador underlined the importance of registering all children, regardless of their condition, of following up on all children who have been separated from their families and of duly identifying refugee children. There is also a need to provide support for migrant children, he stressed. “These actions are essential to ensure this specific protection to these vulnerable children against all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse, their recruitment into armed groups as child soldiers or other forced labor, as well as against forced marriages and other harmful practices,” he said. The international community must reaffirm once again political commitment and the will to guarantee the rights of all children in all circumstances and to protect them against all forms of violence, exploitation. and abuse, the diplomat pointed out. “We need to find the means to track, monitor, report and respond to violations against children deprived of parental care,” the diplomat said. “We must work together to learn the lessons of the unfortunate rise in violence during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. The ambassador also reiterated the “full” commitment of Morocco, a country party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its three optional protocols, for the protection and promotion of all children’s rights, adding that the Kingdom will use every opportunity to reaffirm this unwavering commitment.
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