Statement by the Delegation of Indonesia, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Indonesia at the 18th Session of the Human Rights Council – SRSG on Children in Armed Conflict

September 12, 2011 Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues

Madam President,

At the outset, my delegation associates itself with the statement made by  Pakistan on behalf of the OIC.

My delegation would like to thank Ms Coomaraswamy for her report and presentation today. It is heartening to learn from the report of the progress accomplished in certain areas, notably on the signing of action plans to release children from armed groups. However, we share her concern as to the urgency of intensifying efforts to accelerate the release of children in some countries and to continue combating the impunity of violating parties.

My delegation is particularly alarmed by the growing trend of attacks on schools and hospitals. These attacks constitute the denial of the very basic rights of children, including their right to education and to health as fundamental elements of their empowerment and future.

Madam President,

As the report indicates, member States bear a central and immediate political, legal and moral responsibility towards the protection of children, and should comply with international law for the protection of children within their territories. This should be carried out through national justice systems, including by undertaking appropriate reforms of national legislation for the protection of children, in order to bring laws into line with international obligations, as well as strengthening the child-protection capacity and training of the military, police, and law enforcement and judiciary officials in the context of national security sector reform efforts.

Indonesia is currently in the final phase of its ratification of the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, as indicated in Indonesia’s National Action Plan on Human Rights for the period 2011 – 2014. In this process, a number of focus group discussions and inter-governmental agency meetings have been carried out, and the academic text finalized.

Article 63 of Law No. 39 of 1999 on Human Rights specifies that “Every child shall have the right not to be involved in events of war, armed conflict, social unrest, and other events involving violence.” Furthermore Article 87 of Law No. 23 of 2002 regarding Child Protection clearly criminalises those who contravene the law by recruiting and equipping children for military purposes or who misuse children by involving them in political activities, war, armed conflict or social disturbances, or in violent events.

Madam President,

In line with Article 1 of Law 23 of 2002 regarding Child Protection, Indonesia applies the set minimum age of 18 years for recruitment for military purposes. In this regard, my delegation would welcome a further update from Ms Coomaraswamy on her proactive global initiative of a “Zero Under-Eighteen Campaign”.

In conclusion, we are all aware that most cases of children in armed conflict take place in countries with limited resources. Therefore, as members of the international community, it is also our common obligation to lend assistance to the countries concerned in addressing the political, social and economic factors that facilitate the recruitment and use of children. By doing this, we can contribute to ensuring that the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur are properly implemented.

Thank you.

Geneva, 12 September 2011