Rights activists of Bajaur Agency have urged the government to ratify the optional protocol of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC) that prohibits involvement of children in armed conflict.
At a consultative meeting held at the Khar Child Protection Unit Office, Al-huda Centre Chairman Maulana Ali Sardar, journalists, civil society members and representatives of different government and non-government organisations urged the government to ratify the UN protocol, which has already been ratified by 150 countries.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which came into force on February 12, 2002. The protocol is an effort to strengthen implementation of the convention and ensure protection of children during armed conflicts.
Under Article 38 of the UN CRC, children under 18 years of age cannot be allowed to take part in direct hostilities and not be recruited into any forces.
The protocol requires states to take legal, administrative and other possible actions to ensure that members of their armed forces under the age of 18 do not take direct part in hostilities. States must also raise the minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the armed forces from 15 years but does not require a minimum age of 18.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2012.