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On Children & Conflict Four Abstentions, Colombian Diss, Indian Explanation, Zerrougui Reply

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 19, updated -- Children and Armed Conflict votes in the UN Security Council have been unanimous, until today. Before a daylong debate on the topic, there were no fewer than four abstentions: China, Russia, Pakistan and Azerbaijan.

  Colombia, which voted for the resolution, complained about it afterward. India, which has in the past expressed the same concerns, voted for the resolution but did not deliver an explanation of vote.

  Later, Inner City Press came to understand that while India would have drafted the resolution differently, they did not see the nexus between the resolution and being listed in the same way that Pakistan did.

  In his speech, India's Deputy Permanent Representative

  After Wednesday's vote, a proponent of the resolution and mandate told Inner City Press, this is the opponents' high water mark, in December India and Colombia leave the Council. 

  Still, the proponent said, the new SRSG will have to be careful with anything put before the Council.  "Maybe that's good for us," the proponent said. Maybe it is.

   Yesterday after speaking with three of the abstainers, Inner City Press predicted the three, and as many as five, abstentions.  However, the initial explanations of vote did not include the March 2012 shooting -- by the U.S. -- in Afghanistan in which of 16 killed, nine were children, nor the complaint that the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, did not speak out against it.

  This may come up in the Council member's speech during the debate, Inner City Press is informed. Watch this site.

  Again NGOS have sounded the alarm that for the first time the eight years of the mandate, the resolution was not unanimous. They might also want to consider the push back from last week when Gerard Araud of France said in closed consultations that he is proud to be able to denigrate religion, as quoted by several of the opponents. Click here for more on that.

Update of 12:50 pm -- when Pakistan's Deputy Permanent Representative spoke, he criticized the former SRSG for turning a "blind eye" to the killing of children in "real situations of armed conflict," and for making respectable "terrorists and criminals." How will the new SRSG read this?

Update of 6:45 pm - Inner City Press asked new SRSG Leila Zerrougui about the four abstentions.

  She replied, "every country explained why, you have the reason. We will see how we can interact with governments to bring the consensus again. It is important Council work united -- important because you have a resolution, as a signal that you send to perpetrators and victims that the whole international community and this body is united to say, no violations against children."

  Of course, there remains the issue of who has an armed conflict and who doesn't. Watch this site.

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