International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers: Statement of Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, European Parliament Coordinator and Spokesperson on Children’s Rights

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A Child is first and foremost a child. On International Day Against the use of Child Soldiers, I think about millions of children whose lives have been shattered by conflicts around the World.

Let us not forget that children in armed conflicts are the most vulnerable to violence and displacement.

As the European Parliament Coordinator and Spokesperson on Children’s Rights, I support wholeheartedly the work of Virginia Gamba, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflicts whom I met last week in New York.

We agreed to strengthen our cooperation and work together with the UN family to ending and preventing the six grave violations against children in armed conflicts:

  • Killing and maiming of children;
  • Recruitment or use of children as soldiers;
  • Sexual violence against children;
  • Abduction of children;
  • Attacks against schools or hospitals;
  • Denial of humanitarian access for children

I join her call on all armed groups and Governments to respect international law and child rights. Children should be released immediately and reintegrated in normal life.

Every child has the right to grow up in a family. Children should go to school not to war, they should play not shoot.