Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | January 17, 2014

New U.N. legislation gives children a voice for their rights.

This week, a new legislation was passed at the United Nations on behalf of children worldwide.

The United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child for a Communications Procedure” gives children or their representative the right to speak for themselves, in their own words, and file a complaint with the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child if children feel their State is not upholding the Convention on  the Rights of the Child.

The said State then has to explain what it is doing to correct the complaint and proof that changes have been made.

It is universally agreed that children need to go grow up in a safe environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding, and in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity.

The new law will go into effect in April 2014. It will only apply to violations that took place after the State ratified the Optional Protocol or to human rights violations that are of an ongoing nature.

As far as Colombia, the glitch is — Colombia has yet to ratify the Optional Protocol so the law does not yet apply to Colombia.

So far, the 10 States that should be congratulated for ratifying the Optional Protocol are Albania, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Gabon, Germany, Montenegro, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and Thailand.

Dearest Santos administration, I urge to ratify the Optional Protocol. It will answer the question: How much do you care about the rights of children?

Surely the administration of President Santos is not blind to the fact the FARC continue recruiting children while talking peace.

I urge Colombians to make the rights of all children a campaign issue in the next presidential election. Let’s hold our State accountable for our children.

No more of these headlines:

Child soldiers being identified from mass graves.

Some very upsetting images of child soldiers in Colombia.

4 of every 10 in FARC, ELN or Paramilitary are minors.

Young girls in Medellin auctioned off for their virginity.

60 percent of Medellin’s criminal gangs comprised of minors, between 11 and 17 years old.

And I am incredibly proud of my childhood classmate, Sara L. Austin of World Vision Canada, who persevered to push this project forward.

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