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Vatican ratifies child soldier, prostitution pact

The Vatican on Wednesday ratified two amendments to a treaty that would stop the use of child soldiers and protect children from sexual abuse, and it promised to lobby other governments to do the same.

The amendments, called optional protocols to a 1990 landmark treaty on the rights of children, prohibit the use of child soldiers and outlaw child prostitution, sexual slavery, child pornography and forced labour.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely approved treaty in the U.N. history, with ratifications from 191 countries.

"In depositing its instruments of ratification, the Holy See encourages all other states to join in furthering the legal protection of children by ratifying or acceding to the protocols," said Archbishop Renato Martino, the Vatican representative to the United Nations.

The Vatican, which has observer nation status at the United Nations, is the seventh state to ratify the protocol on child soldiers, which needs 10 ratifications to enter into force. It is the 11th state to ratify the protocol on child abuse, which now has enough ratifications to go into force shortly.