21 Sep 2017
New York, 21 September 2017 - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, congratulates the government of the Central African Republic for the ratification today of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
The signing ceremony took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, where the 72nd UN General Assembly is currently ongoing.
“I commend this milestone for the Central African Republic and encourage the government to pursue its actions to protect the boys and girls of CAR, prevent any further recruitment and use by parties to conflict and adopt legislation criminalizing the recruitment and use of children," SRSG Gamba said.
This comes a few months after the president of the CAR Parliament pledged that he would use his office to strengthen the protection of children through adopting legislation prohibiting the recruitment and use of children.
The Central African Republic becomes the 167th country to sign the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
Adopted by the General Assembly on 25 May 2000, the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict aims to protect children from recruitment and use in hostilities. It prohibits children from taking part in hostilities, encourages all States to set their minimum age of conscription at 18-years, and raises awareness of States’ obligation to criminalize the recruitment and use of girls and boys. It also prohibits the recruitment under the age of eighteen by armed groups, who are the main recruiters of children. It entered into force on 12 February 2002.