The Minister of State and Foreign Affairs deposited, on 24 September, during the Treaty Event 2013 in New York, the instrument of ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the establishment of a Procedure Communication, thus completing the ratification process.

The ratification ceremony was held entirely in Portuguese, and the Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Rui Machete, deposited the instrument of ratification with the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Legal Affairs, Miguel Serpa Soares, who congratulated Portugal, on behalf of the Secretary-General, on the ratification of this instrument. Also present at the ceremony was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, who expressed appreciation for the support of Portugal in the promotion and protection of the rgihts of the child and the priority Portugal assigned to the ratification of this Protocol.

With the deposit of the ratification instrument, Portugal became the seventh country, and the third within the European Union Member States, to ratify this Protocol (to date only ratified by Albania, Germany, Bolivia, Spain, Gabon, Portugal and Thailand). Portugal's ratification will thus facilitate the entry into force of this Protocol, which will take place at its tenth ratification.

The Protocol, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 19, 2011, aims at filling an existing gap in the international system for the protection of child rights, permitting the filing of individual complaints by minors under eighteen, or their legal representatives, to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, when alleged violations by the State, of the rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols, after having exhausted the domestic procedures.

With this ratificatin, Portugal becomes part of all the optional protocols to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, thus illustrating our dedication and commitment to the promotion and protection of child rights.

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