News/UD: U.N. finalizes accord to outlaw sale of children fo...

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Subject: News/UD: U.N. finalizes accord to outlaw sale of children fo...
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Feb 08 2000 - 10:10:27 EST


         U.N. finalizes accord to outlaw sale of children fo...

APws 2/4/00 4:50 PM

 The Associated Press.

   GENEVA (AP) -- An international accord aimed at combating the growing
scourge of child prostitution and pornography was finalized by experts from
more than 100 countries Friday after more than six years of negotiations.
   The text, which was due to be approved later in the day, is meant to
serve as a global framework standardizing national legislation against the
sale of children for sexual exploitation, for illegal adoption or for use
of their organs.
   Ivan Mora Godoy, an expert from Cuba who chaired the meeting, said an
estimated 800 million children worldwide were victim of child pornography
or prostitution in an industry worth an estimated dlrs 4 billion. These
estimates were on the conservative side, he said.
   He said the new accord would be a valuable instrument in beefing up the
existing ten-year-old U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child which is
more general.
   The "optional protocol" on the sale of children follows the same model
as an agreement to ban child soldiers adopted last month. Signatories to
the main children's rights convention have the choice whether to join it.
And, importantly, it allows the United States to participate even though it
has not yet ratified the overall treaty.
   Godoy said the negotiations had taken so long to conclude because of
initial reservations about the need for a specific legal instrument on the
sale of children and subsequent disagreements over its scope -- for
instance whether it should include illegal adoption or organ trafficking.
   The protocol voices says that all state parties must "prohibit the sale
of children, child prostitution and child pornography."
   It voices concern at the "significant and increasing international
traffic of children" as well as the growth of the sex tourist industry.
   It expresses dismay at the "growing availability of child pornography on
the Internet and other evolving technologies" and urges closer cooperation
between governments and the internet industry to stamp out the abuses.
   It calls for more efforts to reduce demand through better public
awareness and education campaigns and for closer legal cooperation between
governments. The offense should be included in all extradition treaties, it
says.
   The protocol must still go to the U.N. Human Rights Commission and
General Assembly for approval but this is a formality. It will enter into
force after ten nations have ratified it. (cn)


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