PROTOCOL TO THE
CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
ON INVOLVEMENT OF CHILDREN IN ARMED CONFLICT
States Parties to the present Protocol,
by the overwhelming support for the Convention on the
Rights of the Child, demonstrating the widespread
commitment that exists to strive for the promotion and
protection of the rights of the child,
that the rights of children require special protection
and calling for continuous improvement of the situation
of children without distinction, as well as for their
development and education in conditions of peace and
by the harmful and widespread impact of armed conflict
on children and the long-term consequences this has for
durable peace, security and development,
the targeting of children in situations of armed
conflict and direct attacks on objects protected under
international law, including places generally having a
significant presence of children, such as schools and
the adoption of the Statute of the International
Criminal Court and, in particular, the inclusion in the
Statute of conscripting or enlisting children under the
age of 15 years or using them to participate actively in
hostilities as a war crime in both international and
non-international armed conflicts,
therefore that to strengthen further the implementation
of rights recognized in the Convention on the Rights of
the Child, there is a need to increase the protection of
children from involvement in armed conflict,
that article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the
Child specifies that, for the purposes of that
Convention, a child means every human being below the
age of 18 years unless, under the law applicable to the
child, majority is attained earlier,
that an optional protocol to the Convention, raising the
age of possible recruitment of persons into armed forces
and their participation in hostilities, will contribute
effectively to the implementation of the principle that
the best interests of the child are to be a primary
consideration in all actions concerning children,
Noting that the twenty-sixth international Conference of the Red
Cross and Red Crescent in December 1995 recommended,
inter alia, that parties to conflict take every feasible
step to ensure that children under the age of 18 years
do not take part in hostilities,
also the unanimous adoption, in June 1999, of ILO
Convention No 182 on the Prohibition and Immediate
Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child
Labour, which prohibits, inter
alia, forced or compulsory recruitment of children
for use in armed conflict,
with the gravest concern the recruitment, training and
use within and across national borders of children in
hostilities by armed groups distinct from the armed
forces of a State, and recognizing the responsibility of
those who recruit, train and use children in this
the obligation of each party to an armed conflict to
abide by the provisions of international humanitarian
that this Protocol is without prejudice to the purposes
and principles contained in the Charter of the United
Nations, including Article 51, and relevant norms of
mind that conditions of peace and security based on
full respect of the purposes and principles contained in
the Charter of the United Nations and observance of
applicable human rights instruments are indispensable
for the full protection of children, in particular
during armed conflicts and foreign occupation,
the special needs of those children who are particularly
vulnerable to recruitment or use in hostilities contrary
to this Protocol owing to their economic or social
status or gender,
Mindful also of the necessity to take into
consideration the economic, social and political root
causes of the involvement of children in armed
of the need to strengthen international cooperation in
implementation of this protocol, as well as physical and
psychosocial rehabilitation and social reintegration of
children who are victims of armed conflict,
the participation of the community and, in particular,
children and child victims in the dissemination of
information and education programmes concerning the
implementation of the Protocol,
Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that
members of their armed forces who have not attained the
age of 18 years do not take a direct part in
Parties shall ensure that persons who have not attained
the age of 18 years are not compulsorily recruited into
their armed forces.
States Parties shall raise the minimum age in
years for the voluntary recruitment of persons into
their national armed forces from that set out in article
38.3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
taking account of the principles contained in that
article and recognizing that under the Convention
persons under 18 are entitled to special protection.
Each State Party shall deposit a binding
declaration upon ratification of or accession to this
Protocol which sets forth the minimum age at which it
will permit voluntary recruitment into its national
armed forces and a description of the safeguards that it
has adopted to ensure that such recruitment is not
forced or coerced.
States Parties which permit voluntary recruitment
into their national armed forces under the age of 18
shall maintain safeguards to ensure, as a minimum, that:
Such recruitment is genuinely voluntary;
Such recruitment is done with the informed
consent of the person’s parents or legal guardians;
Such persons are fully informed of the duties
involved in such military service; and
Such persons provide reliable proof of age prior
to acceptance into national military service.
Each State Party may strengthen its declaration
at any time by notification to that effect addressed to
the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall
inform all States Parties.
Such notification shall take effect on the date
on which it is received by the Secretary-General.
The requirement to raise the age in paragraph 1
does not apply to schools operated by or under the
control of the armed forces of the States Parties, in
keeping with articles 28 and 29 of the Convention on the
Rights of the Child.
Armed groups, distinct from the armed forces of a
State, should not, under any circumstances, recruit or
use in hostilities persons under the age of 18 years.
States Parties shall take all feasible measures
to prevent such recruitment and use, including the
adoption of legal measures necessary to prohibit and
criminalize such practices.
The application of the present article under this
Protocol shall not affect the legal status of any party
to an armed conflict.
the present Protocol shall be construed as precluding
provisions in the law of a State Party or in
international instruments and international humanitarian
law which are more conducive to the realization of the
rights of the child.
State Party shall take all necessary legal,
administrative and other measures to ensure the
effective implementation and enforcement of the
provisions of this Protocol within its jurisdiction.
Parties undertake to make the principles and provisions
of the present Protocol widely known and promoted by
appropriate means, to adults and children alike.
States Parties shall take all feasible measures
to ensure that persons within their jurisdiction
recruited or used in hostilities contrary to this
Protocol are demobilized or otherwise released from
service. States Parties shall, when necessary, accord to these persons
all appropriate assistance for their physical and
psychological recovery, and their social reintegration.
States Parties shall cooperate in the
implementation of the present Protocol, including in the
prevention of any activity contrary to the Protocol and
in the rehabilitation and social reintegration of
persons who are victims of acts contrary to this
Protocol, including through technical cooperation and
Such assistance and cooperation will be
undertaken in consultation among concerned States
parties and relevant international organizations.
Parties in a position to do so shall provide such
assistance through existing multilateral, bilateral or
other programmes, or, inter
alia, through a voluntary fund established in
accordance with the General Assembly rules.
State Party shall submit, within two years following the
entry into force of the Protocol for that State Party, a
report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child
comprehensive information on the measures it has taken
to implement the provisions of the Protocol, including
the measures taken to implement the provisions on
participation and recruitment.
the submission of the comprehensive report, each State
Party shall include in the reports they submit to the
Committee on the Rights of the Child in accordance with
article 44 of the Convention any further
information with respect to the implementation of the
States Parties to the Protocol shall submit a report
every five years.
Committee on the Rights of the Child may request from
States Parties further information relevant to the
implementation of this Protocol.
present Protocol is open for signature by any State
which is a party to the Convention or has signed it.
present Protocol is subject to ratification or open to
accession by any State.
Instruments of ratification or accession shall be
deposited with the Secretary-General of the United
Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his capacity
as depositary of the Convention and the Protocol, shall
inform all States Parties to the Convention and all
States which have signed the Convention of each
instrument of declaration pursuant to article 3,
ratification or accession to the Protocol.
present Protocol shall enter into force three months
after the deposit of the tenth instrument of
ratification or accession.
each State ratifying the present Protocol or acceding to
it after its entry into force the present Protocol shall
enter into force one month after the date of the deposit
of its own instrument of ratification or accession.
State Party may denounce the present Protocol at any
time by written notification to the Secretary-General of
the United Nations, who shall thereafter inform the
other States Parties to the Convention and all States
which have signed the Convention.
Denunciation shall take effect one year after the
date of receipt of the notification by the
Secretary-General of the United Nations.
If, however, on the expiry of that year the
denouncing State Party is engaged in armed conflict, the
denunciation shall not take effect before the end of the
a denunciation shall not have the effect of releasing
the State Party from its obligations under the present
Protocol in regard to any act which occurs prior to the
date at which the denunciation becomes effective.
Nor shall such a denunciation prejudice in any
way the continued consideration of any matter which is
already under consideration by the Committee prior to
the date at which the denunciation becomes effective.
State Party may propose an amendment and file it with
the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General shall thereupon communicate the
proposed amendment to States Parties, with a request
that they indicate whether they favour a conference of
States Parties for the purpose of considering and voting
upon the proposals.
In the event that, within four months from the
date of such communication, at least one third of the
States Parties favour such a conference, the
Secretary-General shall convene the conference under the
auspices of the United Nations.
Any amendment adopted by a majority of States
Parties present and voting at the conference shall be
submitted to the General Assembly for approval.
amendment adopted in accordance with paragraph 1 of the
present article shall enter into force when it has been
approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations
and accepted by a two-thirds majority of States Parties.
When an amendment enters into force, it shall be
binding on those States Parties which have accepted it,
other States Parties still being bound by the provisions
of the present Protocol and any earlier amendments which
they have accepted.
The present Protocol, of which the Arabic,
Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are
equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of
the United Nations.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall
transmit certified copies of the present Protocol to all
States Parties to the Convention and all States which
have signed the Convention.