Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Arria Formula Meeting on Attacks on Schools

Published

National Statement delivered by Ambassador Irina Schoulgin Nyoni on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Arria Formula Meeting on Attacks on Schools, 13 October 2017, New York.

Mr President,

Let me start by thanking our briefers for the presentations today, particularly the courageous Joy Bishara.

Mr President,

Our experience of childhood shapes us for the rest of our lives. I am sure that most of us here could not imagine what it must be like to have that childhood stolen. However, this is the reality for thousands of children. They are the children of Syria, Yemen, northern Nigeria, the DRC and elsewhere who are living through conflicts that they cannot understand; that they cannot escape. As my Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, said during her address to the General Assembly last month, how we respond to the needs of these children, affected by armed conflict today will have profound consequences for their futures, and the futures of their communities and countries. Protecting children today prevents conflicts tomorrow.

We have made conflict prevention and sustaining peace a priority for our term on the Security Council.

Sustainable Development Goal four sets out how universal education for children is essential to breaking the cycle of poverty, and reducing inequality leading to more prosperous and stable societies. Access to education, in particular for girls, and the protection of schools are a critical part of preventing conflicts and building a sustainable peace.

For this reason, we have made children's right to education, including the prevention of attacks on schools, a specific priority in our work on Children and Armed Conflict.

Protecting education is also an important way of ensuring that there are alternatives for children who might otherwise risk being recruited as child soldiers. As attacks on schools have become commonplace, we risk losing a generation of children, deprived of the possibility of an education and a future – children who are already traumatized, injured or orphaned.

Mr President,

As the Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, we reiterate the Working Group's call to parties to conflict, in many different country contexts, to respect the civilian character of schools and to end and prevent attacks - or threats of attacks - against schools and their personnel.

We would also like to take this opportunity to urge parties to conflict to adopt concrete measures to prevent and deter the military use of schools. The Safe Schools Declaration promotes concrete preventative measures in this regard. Sweden was one of the original signatories of the Safe Schools Declaration and we encourage member states that have not already done so, to endorse the declaration.

We would also like to encourage member states to endorse the Paris Principles on the ten year anniversary of their adoption.

Mr President,

The childhood we envision for our own daughters and sons – including access to education in safe schools – is often a distant dream for children growing up in war zones. The most effective way to protect these children is by preventing further conflicts and resolving the ones in which they are trapped. This must be our utmost priority. Doing so can save another generation of children from having their childhoods needlessly and cruelly taken from them.

Thank you

Contact

Lisa Laskaridis
Head of Press and Communication, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN
Phone +1 212 583 2543
Mobile +1 917 239 0941
email to Lisa Laskaridis