U.N. Security Council split over children and armed conflict
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - China, Russia, Pakistan and Azerbaijan abstained from a U.N. Security Council vote on children and armed conflict on Wednesday over concerns that the U.N. envoy on the issue can investigate any conflict, not just those before the council.
The remaining 11 members of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution, which laid out the mandate for Leila Zerrougui, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's special representative for children and armed conflict.
Zerrougui, an Algerian who recently replaced Radhika Coomaraswamy, works to promote and protect children's rights during armed conflicts and identifies countries and groups that kill, maim or rape children in conflicts, or recruit and use children as soldiers.
The four abstaining states argued that the work of the special envoy was restricted to conflicts before the council, and that this limit should have been more clearly reflected in the resolution.
"The sphere of activities of (the special envoy) does not cover all issues of protecting children in armed conflict, but only those situations that are on U.N. Security Council's agenda," said Russia's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Sergey Karev.
A report by Ban to the Security Council on children and armed conflict, based on the work of his envoy, covers conflicts in 23 countries. Of these, 16 are on the council agenda and seven are not - Colombia, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and the southern border provinces of Thailand and Yemen.
"The mandate of the Security Council resolution cannot be wilfully interpreted to equalize the incidents of terrorist attacks in Pakistan to armed conflict," China's U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong told the council.
"The international community should provide more support and help to Pakistan's effort to counter terrorism rather than creating difficulties and obstacles," he said. Continued...