(New York) – Governments should act quickly to ensure universal ratification of key international treaties protecting children from use in war and from sexual exploitation, Human Rights Watch said today. May 25, 2010, is the 10th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of two treaties prohibiting the use of child soldiers, the sale of children and child prostitution and pornography.
The treaties – both optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child – have won wide support, but 44 countries have yet to ratify either protocol. The optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict has been ratified by 132 countries, and the optional protocol on the sale of children, child pornography, and child prostitution has been ratified by 137 states.
"The children’s rights treaties have helped to reduce the number of child soldiers and protect children from sexual exploitation," said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "Countries that have not ratified them should do so quickly so that no child will be without these basic protections."