Draft Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflicts

[Indicates unagreed upon text]

 

The States Parties to the present Protocol,

Encouraged by the overwhelming support for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, demonstrating the widespread commitment that exists to strive for the promotion and protection of the rights of the child,

Reaffirming that the rights of children require special protection and call for continuous improvement of the situation of children without distinction, as well as for their development and education in conditions of peace and security,

Considering that to further strengthen the implementation of rights recognised in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, there is a need to increase the protection of children from involvement in armed conflicts,

Noting that Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child specifies that, for the purpose of that Convention, a child means every human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier,

Convinced that an Optional Protocol to the Convention, raising the age of possible recruitment of persons into armed forces and their participation in hostilities, will contribute effectively to the implementation of the principle that the best interests of the child are to be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children,

Noting with satisfaction that the twenty-sixth International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in December 1995 recommended that parties to conflict take every feasible step to ensure that children under the age of 18 years do not take part in hostilities,

Bearing in mind that conditions of peace and security based on full respect of the purposes and principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations and observance of applicable human rights instruments are indispensable for the full protection of children, in particular during armed conflicts and foreign occupation,

Convinced of the need to strengthen international co-operation regarding the physical and psychosocial rehabilitation and social reintegration of children who are victims of armed conflicts,

Recognising with grave concern the growing trend towards recruitment, training and use of children in hostilities by armed groups,

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1

States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of [18][17] years do not take [a direct] part in hostilities.

Article 2

1. States Parties shall ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 18 years are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces.

2. States Parties shall ensure that persons who have not attained the age of [16] [17] [18]years are not voluntarily recruited into their armed forces.

3. States Parties shall ensure that every person who chooses to enlist into their armed forces before reaching the age of 18 does so of his or her own free will and, unless he or she has already attained majority, with the full and informed consent of those legally responsible for him or her.

4. [Paragraph 2 does not apply to education and vocational training in establishments operated by or under the control of the armed forces of the States Parties in keeping with articles 28 and 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child]

New article A

[States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to prevent recruitment of persons under the age of 18 years by non-governmental armed groups involved in hostilities.]

Article 3

Nothing in the present Protocol shall be construed so as to preclude provisions in the law of a State Party or in international instruments and international humanitarian law which are more conducive to the realisation of the rights of the child.

Article 4

[No reservation is admissible to the present Protocol.]

OR

[No reservation is admissible to articles ... and ... of the present Protocol.]

OR

[A reservation incompatible with the object and the purpose of the present Protocol shall not be permitted.]

Article 5

The States Parties to the present Protocol shall include in the reports they submit to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, in accordance with article 44 of the Convention, information on the measures that they have adopted to give effect to the present Protocol.

New article D

[1.If the Committee receives reliable information which appears to it to contain well-founded indications that recruitment or use of children in hostilities, contrary to the provisions of the present Protocol, is being practised in the territory of a State Party, the Committee may request the observations of the State Party with regard to the information concerned.

    2. Taking into account any observations which may have been submitted by the State Party concerned, as well as any other relevant information available to it, the Committee may:

      (a) Seek further clarification, information or comments from any source ,including where applicable the source(s) of the original information;

      (b) Hold hearings in order to clarify the situation.

    3. The Committee may initiate a confidential inquiry, which may include a visit of its members (2-3) to the territory of the State Party concerned:

      (a) Such a visit could take place only with the consent/after the consultation with the State Party concerned;

      (b) If an inquiry is made in accordance with the present paragraph the Committee shall cooperage with the State Party concerned.

    4. After examining the findings of its inquiry, made in accordance with paragraphs 2 and 3 of this article, the Committee shall transmit these findings to the State Party concerned together with any comments or recommendations which seem appropriate in view of the situation.

    5. All the proceedings of the Committee referred to in paragraphs 1 to 4 of this article shall be confidential. After such proceedings have been completed with regard to an inquiry made in accordance with paragraph 3, the Committee may decide to include a summary account of the results of the proceedings in its annual report.]

    [Article 6]

    [The provisions of the present Protocol shall apply to the States Parties in addition to the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.]

    Article 7

    1. The present Protocol is open for signature by any State which is a party to the Convention or has signed it.

    2. The present Protocol is subject to ratification or open to accession by any State which has ratified or acceded to the Convention. Instruments of ratification or accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

    3. The Secretary-General of the United Nations in his capacity as the depositary of the Convention and the Protocol shall inform all States Parties to the Convention and all States which have signed the Convention of each instrument of ratification or accession to the Protocol.

    Article 8

    1. The present Protocol shall enter into force three months after the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification or accession.

    2. For each State ratifying the present Protocol or acceding to it after its entry into force, the present Protocol shall enter into force one month after the date of the deposit of its own instrument of ratification or accession.

    Article 9

    1. Any State Party may denounce the present Protocol at any time by written notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall thereafter inform the other States Parties to the Convention and all States which have signed the Convention. Denunciation shall take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. If, however on the expiry of that year the denouncing State Party is engaged in armed conflict, the denunciation shall not take effect before the end of the armed conflict.

    2. Such a denunciation shall not have the effect of releasing the State Party from its obligations under this Protocol in regard to any act which occurs prior to the date at which the denunciation becomes effective. Nor shall such a denunciation prejudice in any way the continued consideration of any matter which is already under consideration by the Committee prior to the date at which the denunciation becomes effective.

    Article 10

    1. The present Protocol, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the United Nations together with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit certified copies of this Protocol to all States Parties to the Convention and all States which have signed the Convention.

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