Child Soldiers International

Wed
26
Nov
2014
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Photo: U.S. Army Europe Images

Child Soldiers International launches claim for judicial review

Campaigners are taking legal...

Wed
11
Jan

UK: Veterans warn young people about ‘traumatic’ army training

Army training is ‘traumatic’ for young recruits and damages the adolescent mind, according to British infantry veteran Wayne Sharrocks, who features in a series of short films released this week by Child Soldiers International. The films offer young people and their parents a frank alternative to army recruitment materials which, say many veterans, present a sanitised and unrealistic impression of military life. In particular, Wayne Sharrocks wants young people to know that the psychological effects of training can be harmful and permanent.

Fri
06
May

Soldiers at 16: Sifting fact from fiction

Fewer than 20 countries worldwide still allow their armed forces to recruit young people from age 16. The UK is among them; it is the only major military power and the only European state to recruit from such a young age.

Across British society – from children’s organisations to veterans to parliamentary committees – this policy is now being challenged. Most of the public agree that change is due – only one in seven thinks that 16 is an acceptable age to train as a soldier.

Despite this widespread unease, a number of common misconceptions still lead many 16 and 17 year olds to leave their education early and enlist. Here, we examine these ‘myths’ in light of the evidence available (click the link below to see the full report).

Thu
02
Jul

Army rules for under-18s 'unlawful' - the UK

Army regulations are unlawfully requiring soldiers who join up before their 18th birthday to serve a longer minimum period than those who enlist as adults, it has been claimed in the High Court.

A judge heard accusations that the difference in treatment was causing real distress to young soldiers who wished to leave but were prohibited from doing so.

The accusations were made by Child Soldiers International (CSI), a charity that seeks to prevent the use of children in armed conflicts around the world and to protect the welfare of young soldiers.

The charity is asking Mr Justice Kenneth Parker, sitting in London, to declare that provisions of the Army Terms of Service Regulations 2007 are resulting in "less favourable treatment" for under-18s and are unlawful under the European Equal Treatment Directive.

David Wolfe QC, representing CSI, said the minimum service period applied to adult Army recruits was four years.

Mon
22
Jun

War veterans call for rethink on recruitment of 16-year-olds

Former professionals condemn recruitment of teenagers by ‘pushing the notion of a noble military career to children’

A group of British war veterans will launch a campaign this week against enlisting 16-year-olds into the military.

Britain is the only state in Europe or Nato that still enlists minors, a policy criticised by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the parliamentary joint committee on human rights and other groups including Child Soldiers International and British Quakers. The organisation Veterans For Peace (VFP) is demanding change, but the MoD says it depends on 16-year-olds for a quarter of the intake needed to sustain UK forces.

Fri
10
Oct

Exploitation or proud tradition? Britain's child soldiers

Photo: Channel 4

Campaigners launch a new attack on the army's policy of recruiting children as young as 16. But veterans says it is a time-honoured way of offering troubled teenagers a better life. Who's right?

The campaign group Child Soldiers International has lodged a claim for judicial review into Ministry of Defence rules on young soldiers.

The group says you effectively join up for six years if you enlist before the age of 18, instead of four if you join as an adult. Its lawyers say this constitutes unlawful age discrimination and violates European law.

It is the latest in a string of attacks on way the British army treats minors in its ranks. Ultimately, Child Soldiers International and other campaigners want parliament to raise the minimum age of voluntary recruitment from 16 to 18.

Fri
14
Feb

Mind the Gap: Education for minors in the British armed forces: report

Mind the Gap: Education for minors in the British armed forces

Child Soldiers International / Forces Watch -

 The minimum recruitment age for the British armed forces – 16 years – is one of the lowest in the world. The Ministry of Defence has traditionally justified recruiting from this age group by asserting that 16 years reflects the minimum statutory school leaving age.

However, as a result of successive governments’ policies to increase upper secondary education participation rates, over recent decades the number of young people leaving education and entering employment before the age of 18 has decreased significantly. Today, only a very small percentage of young people leave education at 16 (six per cent in 2009/2010). Apart from the Ministry of Defence, the only other institution which seeks to attract and retain this age group is the education system itself. It is with schools and colleges, not other employers, that the Ministry of Defence directly competes to recruit young people.

Thu
13
Feb

Young age at Army enlistment is associated with greater war zone risks: An analysis of British Army fatalities in Afghanistan: report

A young British soldier. Photograph: Shawn Baldwin/EPA

David Gee and Anna Goodman -

The risk of fatality in Afghanistan for recruits who enlisted into the British Army aged 16 and completed training has been twice as high as it has for those enlisting at 18 or above.

The increased risk reflects the disproportionately high number of 16 year olds who join front-line Infantry roles. This is the result of recruitment policies which drive young people with limited academic qualifications into the Army’s most dangerous roles. Those who enlist at 16 are effectively barred from entering many of the less risky support or technical roles due to lack of qualifications. Another probable contributing factor is the longer average career length of 16 year old recruits who successfully complete training, leading to more tours of duty in Afghanistan when compared with adult recruits.

Wed
15
Jan

Child Soldiers International on the kids being trained to kill

Rachel Taylor from Child Soldiers International talks to the host of Going Underground, Afshin Rattansi, about military recruitment age in the UK -- it's the lowest age in the Europe and the MoD doesn't want to change that. First aired 11.11.13

Child Soldiers International on the kids being trained to kill
Fri
10
Jan

OPAC Implementation

Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, speaks at a press conference concerning the upcoming annual treaty event, held 24-26 September, which will focus on the rights of the child.

The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC) came into force on 12 February 2002. It is the core international human rights treaty on child soldiers: it lays out clear standards relating to the recruitment and use of under-18s by state armed forces as well as non-state armed groups which, if fully implemented, provide a strong foundation for long-term prevention of unlawful recruitment and use of children, and for assisting those who have already became involved in armed conflict.

Tue
13
Aug

Army in Myanmar still recruiting children

Photo: Democratic Voice of Burma

Research from Child Soldiers International suggests that the Burmese military is still recruiting children, one year after the Myanmar government made a commitment to the United Nations to stop doing so. Whilst they did release 66 children from the military last month, many more remain. The Tatmadaw (the Myanmar Armed Forces) has continued to recruit since it signed the Joint Action Plan with the UN last year, although in lower numbers than those previously reported.

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