Practice Relating to Rule 135. Children
Section A. Special protection
In 2009, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Viet Nam stated:
2. Children in armed conflicts …
243. … Viet Nam … suffers from serious consequences of historically prolonged and fierce wars. Children have been amongst those that have suffered the most. The country has made significant efforts in the communication and education as well as in prevention and control of unexploded bombs, mines and ordnances left behind from wars. This has been carried out through organizing training courses for children and their families, as well as for staff at all levels. In addition, communication campaigns have been launched via the mass media and children have been provided with peer education, community-based education, as well as the integration of communication and education on the dangers of mines and bombs into education curriculums of primary schools in areas suffering serious consequences of unexploded mines, bombs and ordnances. Support and subsidy have been given to families and child victims of toxic chemicals, children wounded by unexploded mines, bombs and ordnances left from wars. In addition to the Government’s efforts, Viet Nam has received important assistance from international organizations, governments of other countries and non-governmental organizations. In 2006, 23,683 child victims of toxic chemicals received care and assistance. Thousands of children however, still suffer from disfigurement, malformations, and long-term health and brain-detriments as a result of their parents being infected with toxic chemicals, particularly, Agent Orange, or due to unexploded mines and bombs left over from wars.
244. In the future, Viet Nam will join international community efforts in improving education and health conditions, mobilizing resources and providing technical support to social programmes that address long-term consequences of the wars, and to therefore, speed up the implementation of relevant international legal provisions. The Government of Viet Nam calls for further supports from the United Nations, international organizations and governments of other countries to help the country redress consequences of the wars, especially consequences that affect children.
[footnote in original omitted]
In 2015, in a statement before the UN Security Council during an open debate on children and armed conflict, made on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the permanent representative of Viet Nam stated:
ASEAN welcomes the progress made in the implementation of all Security Council Resolutions on children and armed conflict since the adoption of the first Resolution 1261 (1999) until now.
We applaud member states concerned for the efforts in implementing their respective Council-mandated action plans, and welcome the integration of the protection of children in armed conflicts in their national policies.
We appreciate the work done by UN bodies and concerned agencies in armed conflict, particularly in monitoring and reporting on grave violations against children, incorporating child protection policies in peacekeeping operations, and promoting the implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs.
And we welcome the progress made by the “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign, which was launched last year with an aim [of] ending and prevent[ing] the recruitment and use of children by the national security forces by 2016.
ASEAN, however, remains deeply concerned about the fact that growing number[s] of children continue to be affected by grave violations in armed conflicts, including killing and sexual violence. We particularly condemn the increasing cases of abduction of children and attacks targeting schools and hospitals. It is all the more alarming as we are witnessing the rise of complex and well-organised non-state armed groups that have total disregard for international law, especially in certain regions in the Middle East and Africa.
We urge States, United Nations entities with their respective mandates, relevant international and regional organizations and other stakeholders to redouble their efforts to address, with added vigour, these new challenges posed by violent non-state armed groups.
In this connection, ASEAN wishes to emphasize the following points:
Third, child protection concerns should be consistently reflected in peace processes and peace agreements, and their particular needs must be included in post-conflict planning.
ASEAN always attaches great importance to the protection of children, especially those affected by armed conflicts, and has been working closely to prevent violations of children’s rights in the region. All ASEAN Member States are parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and have been implementing their obligations and commitments in a serious manner at the national level.
These national efforts are closely coupled with regional cooperative efforts. In 2013, ASEAN Leaders reiterated their collective political will by adopting the ASEAN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Children in ASEAN. ASEAN also strives to make sure that our commitment is materialised. In 2011, [the] ASEAN Commission for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) was established, and is now actively implementing its 2012–2016 Work Plan, which includes detailed actions to support the implementation of the CRC.
In these efforts ASEAN is also working closely with international partners. We appreciate the continued close engagement by the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General in child-protection related issues under their respective mandates with ASEAN Member States over the years as manifest[ed] most recently by the visit of the Special Representative on Violence against Children to the region and her substantive discussion with the ACWC in February 2015.
To conclude, ASEAN reiterates our continued commitment to working with Council members and the international community to protect and promote the best interests of children affected by armed conflicts. We stand ready to work closely with other states and partners in the preparation [of] a productive review of progress in this area and earnestly look forward to the next Council discussion on this topic in June under the Presidency of Malaysia.