ASSEMBLY ADOPTS TWO PROTOCOLS ON RIGHTS OF CHILD: CHILDREN IN ARMED CONFLICT; SALE OF CHILDREN, CHILD PROSTITUTION, CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

25 May 2000
GA/9711

ASSEMBLY ADOPTS TWO PROTOCOLS ON RIGHTS OF CHILD: CHILDREN IN ARMED CONFLICT; SALE OF CHILDREN, CHILD PROSTITUTION, CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

25 May 2000

Press ReleaseGA/9711

ASSEMBLY ADOPTS TWO PROTOCOLS ON RIGHTS OF CHILD: CHILDREN IN ARMED CONFLICT; SALE OF CHILDREN, CHILD PROSTITUTION, CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

20000525

Decides to Convene Second World Assembly on Ageing in 2002, Adopts Decolonization Committee Report on Peacekeeping Review

The General Assembly this morning adopted two optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, relating to the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. They were submitted by the Economic and Social Council.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly decided that the optional protocols would be opened for signature at the special session entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century", to be convened in New York from 5 to 9 June, and at the World Summit for Social Development, also to be held at Headquarters from 6 to 8 September.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union, the representative of Portugal welcomed the Assembly's adoption of the optional protocols and expressed the hope that they would become important tools for the protection of children. The protocols reflected important international principles and represented an important step against exploitation of children.

Sweden's representative clarified his country's position on Article 2 c of the optional protocol on child pornography, which states that “child pornography means any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes”. He said that the word “representation” should cover only visual representation. Also, “any representation of a child engaged in real or simulated sexual activity” should not apply to an adult disguised as a child.

Acting on a separate draft resolution submitted by the Economic and Social Council, the Assembly decided to convene the Second World Assembly on Ageing in the year 2002, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Vienna World Assembly on Ageing.

Adopting the text without a vote, the Assembly stressed that the Second World Assembly should give particular attention to action-oriented measures for a comprehensive response to the ageing process, bearing in mind the social, cultural and economic realities of each society. Other measures would include linkages between ageing and development and strengthening solidarity between generations.

General Assembly Plenary - 2 - Press Release GA/9711 97th Meeting (AM) 25 May 2000

Also by that text, the Assembly decided that the Commission for Social Development would serve as the preparatory committee for the Second World Assembly and, as such, would be open to the participation of all United Nations Member States, specialized agencies and observers.

Before adopting the draft, the Assembly reallocated from the Third Committee directly to the plenary the item on "social development, including questions relating to the world social situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family".

Regarding the budgetary implications of the draft, Jin Yongjian, Under- Secretary-General for General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services, said that no additional requirement would arise under the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001. Implementation of requests for convening the Second World Assembly on Ageing would be included in the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002- 2003. The Assembly would accept Spain's offer to host the event. That country's Government would bear the difference in costs between New York and Spain.

As for the two sessions of the preparatory committee, he said, provision had been made in the programme budget for 2000-2001 not only for meetings programmes, but also for meetings authorized subsequently, provided the number and distribution of meetings was consistent with the pattern of meetings of past years. The resource requirements for the preparatory committee in 2002 would be included in the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003. Some requests contained in the draft would be met through voluntary contributions.

In another action, the Assembly adopted, again without a vote, a draft resolution relating to the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. The text was contained in the report of the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization).

The report was introduced by Gualberto Rodriguez San Martin, Rapporteur of the Fourth Committee. The draft was co-sponsored by Argentina, Canada, Egypt, Japan, Nigeria and Poland.

Speaking in explanation of position, the representative of the United States applauded the call by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations for improved planning and management of peacekeeping operations, building capacity for rapid deployment and shortening procurement times for vital resources.

However, she expressed regret that the Special Committee had been unable to reach consensus on other issues which could assist the United Nations in efficiently and effectively deploying peacekeepers, including the use of gratis type II personnel, mechanisms for establishing a criminal justice system, the development of a roster system and the strengthening of the standby arrangements system.

She said that peacekeeping operational reform was a top priority for her Government, which would consider supporting a reconvening of the Special Committee to discuss important peacekeeping issues, including the results of the Secretary- General’s Panel on Peace Operations.

Also this morning, the Assembly took note that Burkina Faso had reduced its arrears to an amount below that specified in Article 19 of the United Nations Charter. [Under Article 19, a Member of the United Nations in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organization shall have no vote in the General Assembly if the amount of the arrears equals or exceeds its dues for the two preceding years.]

In other business, the Assembly decided to include in the agenda for the current session an additional item on “Review of the problem of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in all its aspects” and to consider it directly in a plenary meeting.

Thorsteinn Ingolfsson, Acting Assembly President, informed delegates that the item on cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, which should have remained open for consideration, had been inadvertently closed on 6 December 1999. As the last paragraph of resolution 54/65 invites the Secretary-General to conclude with the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission an agreement to regulate that body's relationship with the United Nations, the Assembly agreed today that the agenda item in question should remain open for consideration during the fifty-fourth session.

Documents before Assembly

The Fourth report of the General Committee (document A/54/250/Add.3) recommends that the Assembly include the item "Review of the problem of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in all its aspects" in the agenda for the current session and that it be considered directly in plenary meeting.

By the terms of a draft resolution recommended by the Economic and Social Council on follow-up to the International Year of Older Persons: Second World Assembly on Ageing (document A/54/L.85), the Assembly would decide to convene the Second World Assembly on Ageing in the year 2002, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Vienna World Assembly on Ageing. The Assembly would also decide that the Commission for Social Development shall serve as the preparatory committee for the Second World Assembly on Ageing and, as such, will be open to the participation of all United Nations Member States, specialized agencies and observers.

By further terms, the Assembly would stress that the Second World Assembly should give particular attention, inter alia, to action-oriented measures for a comprehensive response to the current ageing process, on the basis of best practices and lessons learned during the International Year of Older Persons, and bearing in mind the social, cultural and economic realities of each society. Other measures would include linkages between ageing and development, with particular attention to the needs and perspectives of developing countries; mainstreaming ageing within the context of current global development trends; and strengthening solidarity between generations.

Also by the text, the Assembly would invite the Secretary-General to establish a technical committee, funded through voluntary contributions, to assist him in formulating proposals during the preparatory process to the Commission for Social Development. The Assembly would stress the need for the technical committee to ensure an adequate geographic balance among its members, who will serve in a personal capacity, and the integration of multidisciplinary backgrounds, including perspectives from the research institutions, non- governmental organizations in the field of ageing, the private sector and older persons themselves.

The draft resolution submitted by the Economic and Social Council on optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (document A/54/L.84), relating to the involvement of children in armed conflict and to the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, recommends the adoption of the two optional protocols and their opening for signature, ratification and accession.

By that text, the Assembly would decide that they will be opened for signature at the special session of the General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century", to be convened from 5 to 9 June in New York, and thereafter at the special session entitled "World Summit for Social Development and beyond: achieving social development for all in a globalizing world", to be convened from 6 to 8 September.

Various articles of the optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict stipulate that States parties shall, among other things, 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, and that such persons are not compulsorily recruited. States parties shall raise the minimum age of voluntary recruitment from that set out in article 38 of the Convention.

Article 4 of the optional protocol states that armed groups that are 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.

Under the provisions of the optional protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, States parties shall prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Each State party shall ensure the full coverage of certain acts and activities under its criminal or penal law, whether the offences are committed domestically or transnationally, or on an individual or organized basis.

The offences include: offering, delivering or accepting, by whatever means, a child for the purpose of sexual exploitation of the child, transfer of its organs for profit, or its engagement in forced labour; and improperly inducing consent, as an intermediary, for the adoption of a child in violation of the applicable international legal instruments on adoption. Other offences include offering, obtaining, procuring or providing a child for child prostitution; and producing, distributing, disseminating, importing, exporting, offering, selling or possessing child pornography for the above purposes.

According to the optional protocol, sale of children is any act or transaction whereby a child is transferred by any person or group to another for remuneration or any other consideration. Child prostitution means the use of a child in sexual activities for remuneration or any other form of consideration. Child pornography is any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of a child's sexual parts for primarily sexual purposes.

By the terms of the draft resolution contained in the report of the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) on comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects (document A/54/577 and Add.1), the Assembly would endorse the proposals, recommendations and conclusions of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.