SRSG participates in high-level event in Brussels on the occasion of the 10th anniversary commemoration of the entry into force of the Optional Protocols to the CRC

Brussels (Belgium) 27 february 2012 - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Marta Santos Pais, attended a high-level event in Brussels on “Protecting Children in and out of Emergencies”, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary commemoration of the entry into force of the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child the Optional Protocol, namely on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. The event was organized by the Belgium Government and UNICEF.

The event was opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Mathilde of Belgium and Paul Magnette, Minister for Development Cooperation, and included a panel discussion with Marta Santos Pais, Radhika Coomaraswamy, SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, Nicholas Alipui, UNICEF Director of Programmes, and John Kon Kelei, Co-Founder of "Network of Young People Affected by War".

Marta Santos Pais thanked the Belgian Government for its strong support to the global campaign for the universal ratification of the Optional Protocols and to children’s protection from violence, abuse and exploitation. The global campaign was launched in 2010 with the United Nations Secretary-General and has remained a shared priority for the SRSG Santos Pais as well as other UN partners. Since its launch, the campaign had gained strong support across regions and amongst actors at all levels. As a result, the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography is now in force in 154 countries and the majority of the 39 states not yet parties to this treaty, have formally committed to its ratification.

While welcoming the visible progress achieved in this process, the Special Representative highlighted that it was particularly auspicious that the Brussels meeting was being held on the eve of the signing ceremony, in Geneva, of the new third Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure. She expressed her confidence that a large number of States would be in a position to sign this new Protocol, which was a historic contribution to the international system of accountability for human rights.

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