Zappone addresses UN Security Council in New York

Minister Zappone encouraged the council to do more to help children in conflict zones

Zappone addresses UN Security Council in New York

Katherine Zappone. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated 22.00

The Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone has addressed the UN Security Council in New York.

The address comes a week after Ireland launched its bid for a seat on the council.

Minister Zappone joined representatives of other nations in delivering speeches on the subject of 'children in armed conflict'.

She suggested that the world's 'common efforts' to protect all children from violence "fall short of where we need to be".

The minister observed: "I believe inequality—in all its forms—is a driver of conflict. Gender based violence is amongst the most damaging and perilous types of injustices towards children in armed conflicts.

"Young girls are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Empowering young girls and prioritising their protection from gender-based harms in conflict is absolutely vital."

She highlighted Irish Aid funding for NGOs, and international efforts to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers.

She also said that half of the 1,883 people accepted into Ireland under resettlement programmes have been children fleeing conflict.

Minister Zappone highlighted the personal stories and art of Syrian and Palestinian children living in Mayo.

She quoted 12-year-old Khaled in Claremorris, who wrote: “My Dream for the future is to be a footballer first and play for Ireland. When I’m thirty-three I will be a teacher and go back to Syria to teach English.” 

The minister added: "Khaled and his classmates, Irish, Syrian and Palestinian, are flourishing. They are our future."

Ireland is currently bidding for a temporary seat on the Security Council for the 2021-22 term. 

Reporting by Mick Staines and Stephen McNeice