On the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers we reflect on the tens of thousands boys and girls who are recruited today in armed conflicts. Even today, in about twenty countries all over the world, children are exposed to the cruelties of wars and conflicts: they are witnesses or victims to these cruelties and, in many cases, are forced to use violence themselves.
Queen Mathilde and Deputy Prime Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo started today a three-day working visit to Ghana. The focus of the visit lies entirely on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are the seventeen goals that must be reached in order to eradicate extreme poverty and to protect our planet.
Minister Reynders welcomes the Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances which is meeting upon his invitation today in Brussels. In the fight against impunity, this monitoring mechanism - composed of five independent human rights experts - is still very much needed.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo announce the opening of 4 new Belgian embassies in Africa. The existing diplomatic bureaus in Cotonou (Benin), Conakry (Guinea), Bamako (Mali) and Niamey (Niger) will be upgraded to the rang of embassy as of today. In doing so, our country is demonstrating the importance it attaches to its relations with these countries, as well as to the situation in the region.
The Belgian development cooperation will from now on appear on the field with a new logo, a new visual identity and a new baseline: “Belgium, partner in development”. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo unveiled today the new visual identity during the New Year reception of the Belgian development cooperation, in the presence of some 450 colleagues and partners of the Belgian development cooperation.
Exactly one year after the launch of She Decides, we count 450 million euros extra financing for sexual and reproductive rights and health for girls and women. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo is satisfied with the result, but also warns: "The battle isn't over. Too many girls and women still don't have the freedom to decide for themselves when, with whom and how many children they want."
On 27 January 1945, the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated in Poland. the whole world became aware of horrors beyond imagination. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders joins today the commemoration of the Holocaust and of the genocides which happened in the history. On Tuesday 23rd of January, the Minister met the president of the Israeli Parliament Yuli Edelstein who was invited to Belgium by the President of the Chamber for a joint commemoration of the Holocaust.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo will announce today at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Belgium is officially joining the Global Humanitarian Lab (GHL). The Global Humanitarian Lab aims at accelerating innovative solutions in the humanitarian field to save more lives.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Didier Reynders is pleased that the European Union will assume the rotating chairmanship of the Kimberley Process (KP) this year. He also thanks Australia as the outgoing chair, for its efforts in launching the reform cycle of the KP during its term.