OPAC Implementation

The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC) came into force on 12 February 2002. It is the core international human rights treaty on child soldiers: it lays out clear standards relating to the recruitment and use of under-18s by state armed forces as well as non-state armed groups which, if fully implemented, provide a strong foundation for long-term prevention of unlawful recruitment and use of children, and for assisting those who have already became involved in armed conflict.

More than two third of states are parties to OPAC. States parties to OPAC are required to take all necessary legal, administrative and other measures to ensure its effective implementation at national level.

Implementation is monitored by the (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child, a body of 18 independent members. All states parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how they are implementing OPAC. The Committee considers the state reports and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the state concerned by adopting “concluding observations”. (For more information on the Committee, visit their website)

Implementation of OPAC has generally been poor in both conflict and non-conflict-affected states: the extent of the measures required for full and effective implementation are not widely understood and, in the case of some states parties, not fully accepted. The work of the Committee is contributing to setting out the range of measures required by states parties to prevent and remedy the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Our work aims to:

  • Support the capacity of the Committee on the Rights of the Child to monitor implementation of OPAC by submitting shadow reports on states which it examines and thematic briefings to inform its work.
     
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Further Reading:

Displayed below are Reports and News Items from our archive relating to OPAC Implementation.