19 May 2007 04:18

SOMALIA WATCH

 
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  • Title: [SW News] (UN - Reuters) UN Accords to Protect Kids Against War, Sex Abuse
  • From: []
  • Date:  [Friday, May 26, 2000 1:08 AM EST ]

UN Accords to Protect Kids Against War, Sex Abuse

Story Filed: Friday, May 26, 2000 1:08 AM EST

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations adopted two new agreements designed to protect children from sexual exploitation and being forced to fight in wars.

Two optional protocols, or additions, to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child were approved by the General Assembly without a vote.

States signing the protocols, which were adopted Thursday, would have to ensure no one under the age of 18 takes direct part in war or is forcibly recruited, and to take action to prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

The two protocols, recommended to the General Assembly by the U.N. Economic and Social Council, will be opened for signature at a special General Assembly session on gender equality, development and peace from June 5-9.

They will also be available for signature at a World Summit for social development in Geneva from June 26-30 and at a U.N. Millennium Summit in New York from Sept. 6-8.

The two protocols may be signed by any country that has ratified or signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Only Somalia and the United States -- mainly due to opposition in Congress -- have so far failed to ratify the Convention. But since Washington has signed it, the United States may still become a party to the two optional protocols.

The one aimed at protecting children in armed conflict says states ``shall take all feasible measures to ensure that members of their armed forces who have not attained the age of 18 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.''

They must also ensure that those under 18 ``are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces.''

This is an advance on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which sets 15 as the minimum age.

The protocol also says governments must ensure that armed groups distinct from the state's armed forces ``should not, under any circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities'' persons under the age of 18.

The protocol designed to protect children against sexual and other abuse would require states to ensure their criminal law covers a range of activities harmful to children, whether the offences are committed domestically or transnationally, or on an individual or organized basis.

The offenses include offering or accepting a child for sexual exploitation, transferring its organs for profit, or engaging a child in forced labor.

Also covered would be offering or obtaining a child for child prostitution, and producing, disseminating, selling or possessing child pornography for those purposes.


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