UN: Ambassador Hilale Strongly Condemns Recruitment of Child Soldiers by Armed Groups

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Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, ambassador Omar Hilale, on Thursday strongly condemned all forms of violence against children, their abduction, recruitment by armed groups, use for criminal, terrorist or military purposes, including in refugee camps.

Hilale was speaking at a meeting organized by Jordan on the occasion of its endorsement of the Paris Principles on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups.

Several UN officials took part in the meeting, including the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, the Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, and representatives of civil society, including the NGO Save the Children. They all called for an immediate end to the recruitment of children by armed groups and advocated for the accountability of all state and non-state actors involved in these crimes against children’s rights.

In this regard, Hilale said “countries that host, arm, support and finance armed groups that recruit children bear the greatest legal and criminal responsibility for this flagrant violation of children’s rights. Therefore, they must be held fully responsible by the international community, as must these armed groups”.

To this end, the ambassador appealed to the international community to “take firm and urgent action against all those who continue to act in flagrant violation of international law and child protection instruments, wherever they may be”.

He called for “the coordination of the efforts of member States, International Organizations and civil society, in order to create a synergy of concrete and urgent actions aimed at protecting children, preventing their recruitment by armed groups and providing assistance to those who have already been recruited by armed groups”.

Hilale also highlighted Morocco’s strong commitment to the protection of children, recalling that the Kingdom was one of the first countries to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, and to endorse the Paris Principles and its commitments, the Vancouver Principles and the Safe Schools Declaration.

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