children in armed conflict, including abduction of children for training as child mercenaries and in terrorism, mass killing of children in communal and sectarian violence, child labour, particularly the worst forms of child labour, the continued exploitation and trafficking of children for pornography, prostitution and drug trafficking, the sale of children and their organs, the increasing number of children affected by HIV/AIDS, as well as the suffering of refugee and displaced children especially in Africa. Urgent steps, including through international co-operation, must be undertaken to address these problems. In this regard, they noted the entry into force of the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and encouraged all Member States to consider signing, ratifying or acceding to the Optional Protocols of the Convention.
The Ministers recognized the need for the United Nations to address the issue of the protection of children in an impartial, objective, non-selective and transparent manner.
The Ministers reaffirmed the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace recognising that they serve, inter alia, as the basis for the observance of the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World (2001–
for future generations, and invited States to expand their activities promoting a Culture of Peace and Non-violence at the national, regional and international levels.
Transnational Organised Crime
The Ministers reaffirmed that international efforts against transnational organised crime should be carried out with full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States.
The Ministers welcomed the generous offer by the Government of Thailand to host 11th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to be held in 2005. They urged all States to consider ratifying the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its related Protocols.
The Ministers expressed concern about the seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of societies, undermining the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice and jeopardizing sustainable development and the rule of law.
The Ministers welcomed the adoption of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Merida, Mexico, in December 2003, that provides the opportunity, inter alia, for global response against corruption linked to organized crime, including provisions regarding acts of corruption involving public officials.
The Ministers stressed that corrupt practices, including lack of sound international corporate governance, bribery, money laundering and the transfer abroad of illegally acquired funds and assets undermine the economic and political stability, and the development efforts of developing countries. They encouraged all States to consider ratifying the UN Convention Against Corruption. They further called upon developed countries to provide technical assistance to developing countries through the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in accordance with relevant General Assembly resolutions to allow