China’s top legislature is to read and ratify the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflicts, at the 31st session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) opening here on Sunday.
Contracting parties should raise the minimum age for the voluntary recruitment of persons into their national armed forces from 15 years old as regulated by the convention, said the protocol.
It also stipulated that “States 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 hostilities”.
“States Parties shall ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 18 years are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces.”
Other obligations included drawing relevant laws and policies, publicizing the protocol, giving financial support and submitting working reports.
The State Council said in its motion to the top legislature that the protocol did not contradict with China’s current laws, policies and practice of recruiting soldiers.
“To ratify the protocol complies with the national interests and will help promote China’s international image in human rights protection,” it read.
The protocol, consisting of one foreword and 13 articles, was ratified by the 55th General Assembly of the United Nations in 2000 and came into effect in 2002. It aimed to join international efforts to protect children against armed conflicts.
China signed the protocol in March 2001. By July this year, it had been ratified by 117 nations.
Statistics showed that about 250,000 children were currently involved in armed conflicts around the world.