Ireland has signed the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. The ratification of the optional protocol to the convention is the subject of active consider ation by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Defence. This consideration includes a review of domestic legislation which may require amendment to enable ratification to proceed.
The Government attaches great importance to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which is central to the protection and promotion of children's rights on a global level. The issue of child soldiers is of particular concern. Ireland has strongly supported international efforts to stop the use of child soldiers. In particular, we have actively supported the office of the special representative of the UN Secretary General for children and armed conflict.
Ireland has joined an informal group known as the Friends of the Special Representative, which includes 11 other EU member states and the European Commission as well as Canada, Japan, Malaysia, India and Kenya. The aim of the group is to support the work of the special representative and promote measures for the protection of children in armed conflict.