A new treaty took effect today regarding child soldiers, whose numbers worldwide are estimated to be 300-thousand. The treaty is called: ?The Optional Protocol To The Convention Of The Child On The Involvement Of Children In Armed Conflict.?

It raises the level for compulsory recruitment of children from 15 to 18 and bans those under 18 from taking part in combat. As for volunteers, the treaty raises the minimum age to at least 16. But volunteers must have proof of their age and the consent of their parents.

One of the leading supporters of the treaty is Olara Otuunu, U-N Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. From New York, he told VOA English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua why the treaty matters.