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At UN, Child Soldiers Grab Bag Has Mali Against MNLA, Sri Lanka Cited

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 25, updated -- When the UN Security Council's debate on Children and Armed Conflict proceeding throughout the afternoon of March 25, countries used their speeches for their own reasons -- and even more so their replies.

   Mali used its speech to trash the MNLA “separatists” for not signing on to a draft deal which is widely protested in northern Mali or Azawad.

  The Philippines said that the UN's own Children and Armed Conflict website is out of date, at least as to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front of MILF.
  (Recently the UN's refugee agency UNHCR cut the Philippines some slack, calling their fight with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters a “law and order operation.” That's what Sri Lanka wanted its 2009 Bloodbath on the Beach to be called. Who decides?)

  Luxembourg, previously the chair of the Security Council's Children and Armed Conflict committee, mentioned Sri Lanka's previous action plan with the UN; the UN has deferred release and consideration of its own report on war crimes in Sri Lanka for at least six months.

   Burundi used its speech to praise the Security Council for its visit earlier in the month but did not mention the arming of the ruling party's youth wing, in support of a third term said to violate the agreements in Arusha.

  But who's watching? Liechtenstein said, entirely accurately, that armed groups which recruit soldiers were not watching the UN Security Council's UNTV webcast.  What about child soldier recruitment by the “moderate” Syrian groups members of which the US wants to arm and train as the vetted opposition?

   There was not enough mention of the 89 or more children grabbed up in South Sudan by a militia which supports the government -- but which Gordon Brown told Inner City Press is a “terrorist” group led by a war lord. What was that about “law and order” operation, again? So it goes at the UN.

Update: at the tail end of the meeting, past 7 pm, Russia criticized Ukraine's speech, and its reply; Israel replies on Gaza and Palestine fired back, saying "we are still committed to the two state solution, the other side's commitment is in question." Those in the Children and Armed Conflict seats at the horseshoe table looked embarrassed. This is how it goes at the UN: let them talk.


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