The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) remains strong commitments to addressing issues that children are facing, especially in conflict situations, said Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations.

Speaking on behalf of ASEAN at the open debate of the UN Security Council on “Children and armed conflict” in New York on June 18, Nga noted that “last year, 2014, saw unprecedented challenges for the protection of tens of millions of children in countries affected by conflicts. Children continue to suffer the most, especially given the unparalleled rise of violent extremism”.

ASEAN is also alarmed by the rise of abduction as a tactic of war, she said, adding that the association, therefore, “shares the view that a comprehensive approach is needed in protecting children in armed conflicts, particularly to address the issue of abduction.”

The diplomat also stressed the need to address the root causes of hardship that children have to bear in armed conflict as well as the importance of continued efforts by the UN Security Council and the international community to handle its impacts on children.

She shared the participants that ASEAN has been stepping up efforts to tackle issues that children are faced with, both at national and regional levels, as well as on institutional and practical areas.

“In 2015, ASEAN’s priority is to strengthen our regional mechanism to materialise the high-level commitment to make progress in this issue. The ASEAN Commission for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) is now developing a Regional Plan of Action for the implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Children (EVAC) as adopted at the 23rd ASEAN Summit in 2014, including through regional outreach activities. ASEAN has also consulted and cooperated closely with UN agencies and mechanisms, including UNICEF and the Secretary-General’s Special Representatives on related issues,” she added.

At the open debate, the council’s member states adopted the resolution 2225 reaffirming commitments to carrying out specific measures to protect children in armed conflict, with the focus on child abduction.-VNA