28 November 2006

Mr. President,

I would like to thank you for holding today's debate. We appreciate the presence of Foreign Minister of Peru presiding over this meeting.

I would also like to thank the Special Representative of Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy and UNICEF Executive Director, Ms. Ann Veneman for their briefings.

Mr. President,

Let me begin by thanking the Secretary-General for his report submitted to the Council, pursuant to resolution 1612 of July 2005 on the implementation of that resolution and related resolutions. The content of the Secretary-General's report is of great interest to us. Although progress has been made with respect to the protection of children, the situation of children affected by armed conflict continues to be grave and alarming. The recent conflict in the Middle East region, for example, showed, once again, that children bear the main brunt of conflicts. Sadly, in many parts of the world, cases of recruitment and abusive use of children and other grave violations against children in armed conflict persist.

As recommended in the report, Japan fully supports action whereby the United Nations energetically calls upon parties to conflict to prepare concrete time-bound Action Plans to halt recruitment and use of children in violation of applicable international obligations.

Mr. President,

Japan welcomes the establishment of the monitoring and reporting mechanisms in several countries - Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Somalia, Sudan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, as encouraging progress. We look forward to them for objective and reliable information on the violations being committed against children in order to contribute to efforts to remedy such situations.

We commend the reports submitted from the monitoring and reporting mechanism regarding the DRC and Sudan, which provided vital and pertinent information which will allow the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict to work on appropriate recommendations.

We wish to note, at the same time, that it is important to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the monitoring and reporting mechanism for possible improvements in their operations. In this connection, the recent Independent Review of the monitoring and reporting mechanism submitted by OIOS, pursuant to resolution 1612 has provided useful inputs for consideration, and we look forward to the detailed work in the Working Group and consider and formulate proposals on improvements of the monitoring and reporting mechanism.

My government appreciates the valuable contributions of the Working Group, especially their recommendations on the reports on the children and armed conflict in the DRC and Sudan, which have been forwarded to the relevant parties for concrete action. We expect that the implementation of these recommendations will further contribute to an improvement of the situation of children in situations of armed conflict.

Mr. President,

Japan has advocated along with other Member States and partners the concept of "human security", in order to enhance protection and empowerment of people at the community and at individuals' levels. As part of its efforts to implement this concept on the ground, we have put in place assistance programs and projects in a number of regions and countries, particularly Africa and Asia. One important aspect of this assistance effort is the process of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration. There is much more that should be done in this and other related areas because assistance in these areas constitutes a key element in the protection of children in armed conflict as well as adult soldiers.

In his report, the Secretary-General calls upon donors to ensure adequate resources and funding are made available for the purpose of assisting rehabilitation and reintegration of children. Based upon the concept of "human security", my government has supported projects such as programs for the rehabilitation of ex-child soldiers, for example, in the Great Lakes region, through the relevant UN agencies.

Mr. President,

In closing, my delegation wishes to stress once again that the issue of children and armed conflict should be a priority for the international community, and it is especially important to mainstream this issue into all policies and programs of the United Nations system. Japan is fully committed to engaging in the issue of children and armed conflict and will continue to work closely with other Member States, the United Nations system and national organizations, as well as NGOs and civil society.

Thank you.

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