The theme for the discussion led by Susan Bissell, the head of child protection in UNICEF, was the immediate and long-term impact of explosive weapons. How children are affected was especially addressed. The impact these weapons have on civilians, and children in particular, is disproportional. As well as death and physical injury, the use of explosive weapons also causes psychological damage. Ambassador Pedersen said that the violent and explosive nature of these weapons, incite great fear and anxiety. The Ambassador cited his own experiences from the Middle East in this regard. His family had witnessed the use of explosive weapons, and it had made a profound impression on his children.
Naomi Miyashita, Programme Officer from the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, mentioned a development seen in several countries. It has been reported that children are being trained as suicide bombers and used as human bombs. This is an emerging development of great concern.
The panelists welcomed more data and analysis of the impact explosive weapons have on children, as well as commitment on both national and international level on finding ways to deal with these issues.
The panel consisted of Permanent Representative of the Mission of Norway to the UN Geir O. Pedersen, Naomi Miyashita - Programme Officer from the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Major General Simon Karanja - Representative from African Union Mission in Somalia, Mr. Hansjoerg Strohmeyer - Chief of the Policy Development and Studies Branch of OCHA, and Mr. Richard Moyes - Coordinator of the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW).
Watch the debate here.