King Philippe is in New York City this week, and yesterday addressed the Security Council. Belgium is a temporary member at the moment and is currently in the chair.
The King took advantage of the position to address the council on the problems of child soldiers and other children caught up in war situations.
“Every child has the right to a home, a safe living environment, proper food and education,” he said. “Each time we save a child from war, help it to recover, give it another chance to go to school, dreams again become possible. That is a victory for life.”
Saving the children also, he said, contributes to reconciliation, and offers the hope of avoiding new conflicts in the future. “That is the responsibility of all of us,” he said.
In the last decade, 420 million children have found themselves caught up in armed conflict situations – one in five of all children on the planet. “It is up to us to make 2020 the start of a decade of hope for all children,” he told delegates.
The UN Security Council is made up of representatives of 15 nations – five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom) and 10 others who sit on the council for a period of two years. Belgium has had a seat since last year, and currently chairs the council.
As well as his speech to the gathering, the King, accompanied by Queen Mathilde, had a meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Previously, the King and Queen visited the monument to the victims of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, where they each laid a commemorative rose. They were accompanied by a group of Belgian police officers who had been on duty at the time of the March 2016 attacks at Brussels Airport and Maalbeek metro station and after, who were there to pay tribute to all emergency services personnel.