“Ten years ago, the world said no to the forced recruitment of children under the age of eighteen and to their participation in hostilities,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy said on the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict.
“So far, almost three-fourth of the world has ratified this important treaty, but for a true universal moral consensus, we need the remaining 49 States to ratify,” SRSG Coomaraswamy said. “Every country, big or small, with or without a standing army, at peace or in conflict, has a role to play in abolishing the inhumane practice of recruiting and using children in war.”
The Optional Protocol prevents children from taking part in hostilities, encourages all States to set their minimum age of conscription at eighteen years, and raises awareness of States’ obligation to criminalise recruitment and use of girls and boys.
In an effort to strengthen the international norm against child recruitment, the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict along with UNICEF, the Special Representative on Violence against Children, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights launched in 2010 the universal ratification campaign of the Optional Protocol. Since the launch of the Zero under 18-campaign, sixteen signatures and ratifications have been made, with Grenada becoming the most recent party to the treaty.
Source : RELIEF WEB