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Human Rights Council - 25th Regular Session
Clustered Interactive Dialogue with SRSG on Violence against Children
and SRSG on Children and Armed Conflict
12 March 2014
Australia thanks the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General for their reports, and we welcome the opportunity to continue discussion on these important issues.
Australia is deeply committed to protecting children from all forms of violence and abuse wherever and whenever it occurs. We are heartened to see from the reports the progress that has been made in efforts to prevent and address violence against children.
We share the view of the SRSG on violence against children of the need to address the particular vulnerabilities of children in the justice system. In Australia, all jurisdictions employ diversionary measures for young offenders, including warnings, cautions and youth justice conferences. Alternative sentencing options may include home detention, community service and rehabilitation orders. Australia has also recently developed guidelines – consistent with the UN’s Basic Principles on these issues – to support restorative justice in criminal cases.
We welcome the launch of the “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign to end the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict by government forces by 2016. However, we are concerned that 46 non-State actors continue to recruit and use children in armed conflict. Ongoing reports of sexual violence being committed against children in armed conflict are also unacceptable, as are attacks on schools and hospitals.
Australia was pleased to participate in the 7 March UN Security Council open debate on children and armed conflict and welcomed the adoption of a resolution on these issues. We will continue to use our term on the UN Security Council to work towards a strengthened protection framework for children affected by armed conflict.
We would welcome any further insights from the SRSGs on how, at the international level, we can collectively better address the issues raised during this discussion.