Child soldiers

Source: Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
The paper outlines key developments in international efforts to end the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict and highlights some of the challenges involved in the release and reintegration of children associated with armed forces and groups. February 2010 (pdf). [see more]
Hundred of thousands more children have been recruited, both into governmental armed forces and armed opposition groups. While most child soldiers are aged between 15 and 18, many are recruited from the age of 10 and sometimes even younger. In many countries, both girls and boys are used as soldiers; girls are at particular risk of rape, sexual harassment and abuse. The problem is most critical in Africa and Asia, though children are used as soldiers by governments and armed groups in many countries in the Americas, Europe and Middle East.

There is a growing international consensus against the use of children as soldiers. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (or 'child soldiers’ treaty') was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in May 2000 and came into force on 13 February 2002. Although 111 countries have now signed the 'child soldiers' treaty' recognizing that forcibly recruiting children into war is wrong, only 46 countries have actually made a binding legal commitment to enforce the Optional Protocol.

The UN has also begun to take steps to monitor countries’ records with respect to the use of child soldiers. In November 2002, the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's report to the Security Council identified 23 parties to conflict -not only armed opposition groups, but also government forces- in five country situations that involved child soldiers. While civil society organizations campaigning against the use of child soldiers welcomed the report, it was considered to be limited in that it only looked at countries on the Security Council agenda, leaving out some of the world’s known worst offenders. NGOs also called for follow up action on the UN list naming those parties using children in conflicts.

At the end of January 2003, the UN Security Council adopted the new Resolution 1460 on children and armed conflict calling on the Secretary-General to include information about protecting children in all his country-specific reports.

On the first anniversary of the 'child soldiers’ treaty', the international NGO Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers warned the International community against assuming that the issue of child soldiers could be struck-off simply because their use was now banned by international law, and emphasized that the problem, far from being solved, is still prevalent.
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UPDATES
Monday, February 22 2010
Release and reintegration of child soldiers: One part of a bigger puzzle
(Source: Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers)
Thursday, May 22 2008
Child Soldiers Global Report 2008
(Source: Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers)
Monday, February 18 2008
UN: Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict
(Source: United Nations)

Civil society

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

Watchlist on children and armed conflict

Campaigns

Children in the Ranks: US campaign to limit US military assistance to governments using child soldiers (Human Rights Watch)

International agreements

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict

OAS Resolution 1709 on children and armed conflict

Security Council Resolution 1460 on children and armed conflict (United Nations)

UN approves resolution against child recruitment (UN)

Articles

The Zero

BBC Special report

Pact to end use of children in war (Africa Renewal)

DR Congo: Plight of girl soldiers "overlooked" (Institute for War & Peace Reporting)

Challenging sensational stereotypes (Pambazuka)

UN must protect children in war (IPS)

Not toy soldiers: children in armed conflicts (Third World Network)

NGO reports

Release and reintegration of child soldiers: One part of a bigger puzzle (Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers)

Child Soldiers 1379 Report (Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers)

Child Soldiers Global Reports (Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers)

Human Rights Watch reports

Amnesty International reports

Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 (Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers)

The consequences of child soldiering (Households in Conflict Network)

DRC: Children at war, creating hope for the future (Amnesty International)

Victims, perpetrators or heroes?: Child soldiers before the International Criminal Court (REDRESS)

Declarations

Montevideo Declaration on the Use of Children as Soldiers

Maputo Declaration on the Use of Children as Soldiers

The Capetown Principles

Never again: Children should not fight adults' wars (Children and Armed Conflict Unit)

United Nations

Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict

Children at both ends of the gun

Adult Wars, Child Soldiers: Voices of Children Involved in Armed Conflict in the East Asia and Pacific Region (UNICEF)

UN: Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict (United Nations)

Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict - 2006 (United Nations)

International criminal accountability and children's rights (United Nations University)

Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict 2005

UN Security Council to consider Secretary-General’s proposal for an action plan (United Nations)

Books

Where are the Girls?: Girls in fighting forces in Northern Uganda, Sierra Leone and Mozambique (Rights & Democracy)


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