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Intervention by Mr. Gert Auväärt, Deputy Permanent Reprsenative of the Estonian Mission at the Arria formula meeting on protecting children born of sexual violence in conflict zones, 26 October 2018

26.10.2018

We would like to thank Poland for bringing this highly relevant and complex topic, to the attention of the Security Council We would also like to thank the highly respected speakers for their earlier statements.

As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, let us once more stress the 1st Article of the UDHR: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. This basic presumption for human equality and dignity seems to be self-evident, nevertheless we see that it is not applied everywhere and to all situations of life as it should be. 
 
Madam Chair,
 
The children living on the margins of society are often much more vulnerable to recruitment, radicalization, trafficking, and exploitation, thus contributing to the perpetuation of the cycle of violence. In order to do the opposite and build peaceful and resilient societies in the aftermath of violence and conflict, we need to take the following steps.
 
First, we can only bring a change if we will be able to change the perception of social norms related to stigmatization of children born of war. This can be done in addressing this issue on a highest level possible, internationally and more so domestically , by condemning in strongest terms the discrimination of children based on all grounds, in particular of children born out of sexual violence in conflict.
 
Secondly, we need to guarantee by law that the rights of the child are respected as enshrined in the Convention of the Rights of the Child everywhere and for every child in the world. States should take all measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, opinions, or beliefs of the child's parents, legal guardians, or family members. We also need to ensure that children born of sexual violence are treated equally as to the recognition by the State concerning citizenship and documentation. In every consideration, the best interest of a particular child should remain a priority.
 
To conclude, let me use this opportunity to stress the need to do more to prevent the horrendous crime of conflict related sexual violence and to hold perpetrators accountable. We also need to pay special attention to the victims of sexual violence and guarantee them sexual and reproductive health and rights without discrimination and psychosocial support. Estonia has supported many projects to help the victims. We would like to commend the work of Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and ensure our full support, including financial support, to your mandate. Moreover, we would like to encourage strengthening further cooperation of your Office with UNICEF for the protection of children born of sexual violence in conflict zones. 
 
Thank you
 

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