Russia against children taking part in armed conflicts

Russia supports UN efforts to work out a common and comprehensive approach to preventing children's participation in armed conflicts all over the world, Vice-Premier Valentina Matviyenko said on Monday as she began a meeting with Olara Otunu, a special representative of the UN secretary-general for the children and armed conflict.

According to Matviyenko, Russia, "considering the important and pressing nature" of this issue, supports its inclusion in the agenda of a UN Security Council session.

The vice-premier noted that Russia's position on this problem is evidenced by its signing an optional protocol to the convention on the rights of the child concerning children's participation in armed conflicts. Matviyenko emphasised that preparations are currently under way for ratification of the above-mentioned document by the Russian authorities.

In the vice-premier's view, one cannot fail to give attention to, let alone downgrade, global issues concerning children's rights and interests.

As Matviyenko noted, Russia needs to tackle above all such questions as children's neglect and homelessness, traffic in children, growing juvenile crime, and the proliferation of children's drug addiction.