The 25th of May 2012 marked the two-year anniversary of the campaign for universal ratification and implementation of the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The CRC, adopted in 1989, is the most endorsed human rights treaty in the world. Its two Optional Protocols, adopted in 2000, address the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OPSC) and the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC).
Since the launch of the campaign, steady progress has been made. More than three quarters of all UN Member States are now party to the Optional Protocols, compared to two thirds at the launch in 2010. In the past two years, 20 additional States have ratified the OPSC and 15 States have ratified the OPAC, bringing the total number of State Parties to 157 and 147 respectively. Other States are expected to become Parties to the Optional Protocols in the near future.
While the ratification of the Optional Protocols is necessary, it is not enough. Measures must be taken to implement their provisions. Without effective implementation, the Optional Protocols are simply words on paper.
State Parties need to develop and implement comprehensive strategies to prevent and respond to violence against and exploitation of children.