UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict welcomes Somalia’s Ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

New York – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui, welcomes Somalia’s national ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“This is an important step to promote and protect the rights of all children in Somalia,” declared Ms. Zerrougui.

The convention is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world and sets out measures to protect the civil, political and cultural rights of children.

“I now urge the Government of Somalia to move forward to ratify the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict,” Zerrougui added.

The Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, adopted in 2000, aims to ban the compulsory recruitment of children under 18 in armed forces and to ensure that individuals under the age of 18 do not take part in hostilities.

The Special Representative concluded that today’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child brings us closer to our common objective of protecting the children from the impact of conflict in Somalia. She calls on the Government to maintain its commitment to the objectives of the campaign “Children, Not Soldiers” by working towards a child-free army by the end of 2016.

The ratification process will be finalized after the Government of Somalia deposits the instruments of ratification with the United Nations in New York.

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Note to editors:
Somalia is one of seven countries involved in the Campaign “Children Not Soldiers”, launched by the Special Representative and UNICEF to end the recruitment and use of children by Government forces by the end of 2016.

For additional information, please contact:
Stephanie Tremblay
Communications, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Tel: +1 212 963 8285, Mobile: +1 917 288 5791 (mobile)
tremblay@un.org