New York, 21 September 2010 – Today the Gabonese Republic, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Malawi became the latest Member States to sign or ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict at Treaty Event coinciding with this year’s General Assembly session.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy took the opportunity to thank the Ministers for this important step during a special treaty event.

“Today is a landmark day for children. Today Member States have come together to sign and ratify an international treaty which serves to ensure that no more will children be forced to fight in war and no more will children be pressed into military service,” the Special Representative said during the event.

The special celebration is part of the campaign “Zero Under 18” launched by her Office along with UNICEF, the Special Representative on Violence Against Children, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Committee on the Rights of the Child with the purpose of achieving universal ratification of the Optional Protocol by 2012.

As of today more than 50 Member States have yet to sign or ratify the treaty. These three Member States, signing today bring total number to seven since the campaign began in May 2010.

“With your action today,” she continued, “you added your country to a list of Member States that have stepped forward to strengthen a growing moral consensus that war is no place for children and to make certain that the right of boys and girls to have a childhood of learning without disruption and playing without fear is respected in every land.”

Since the launch of the campaign on 25 May 2010 more Member States have signed or ratified than in 2009. “I urge the Ministers to keep this momentum going by taking this year’s General Assembly as an opportunity to further promote the campaign.”

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# # # For further information, please contact: Timothy La Rose, Communications Officer, Officeof theSpecial Representativeofthe Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict +1 917-346-3404 –

Muriel Gschwend, Associate Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative ofthe Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict +1 917-367-3562 –