Colombia’s largest guerrilla group has agreed to release all of its soldiers under age 15. It is a move welcomed by child rights groups but it also highlights the continued use of child soldiers in conflicts around the world.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) made the pledge during talks in Cuba aimed at ending its five-decade war against successive governments. The administration of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC now need to decide upon the terms under which the child soldiers will be reintegrated into civilian life.
Travelling the world, getting a free education, and having rent and food payed for sounds like a pretty good deal. The only catch: being used as a tool for an imperial system based on violence and oppression, suffer from PTSD as a likely result, and would then not be helped as your condition would worsen. This kind of deal was exactly what the soldiers recruiting at my school were offering.
Standing proud in their uniforms, the soldiers offered a variety of brochures to students that stopped by their stand. Beside them was a poster that looked like a scene from the latest action movie portraying special forces with assault rifles. To most, there is not much of a problem up to now. But let me tell you a story:
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).
Even if a bullet passes through my chest My mission remains carved in my heart Brothers, let’s follow this path [Roar! Roar! Roar! Roar!] Roar with animal spirit Look to the bravest general of them all Walk from here toward the site of combat
China’s military has released a rap video in order to lure more recruits
Bulgaria, which abolished conscription as of January 2008, is planning legislative amendments that will enable the compilation of a register of people aged 18 to 32 eligible for military service, in a move intended to bolster the country’s military reserve, Defence Minister Nikolai Nenchev confirmed on February 24 2016.
The list of young people, men and women, will be drawn from the records of the Civil Register and Administrative Services directorate, on the basis of proposed amendments to the Defence and Armed Forces Act.
The local Army recruiter is at my classroom door, and I wish he’d stop doing this. He needs to speak to a student in my English class at Jamaica High School.
When I explain that there are designated areas for him to speak with potential recruits, he apologizes. In fact, his etiquette is always spit-shined and gleaming, like something he’s learned at a seminar. He shows me his visitor’s pass, smoothed against a lapel, and apologizes once more. Never again, he says. It’s just that this time it’s important. Could he please have a word with Ernesto?
I like to believe I have the final say on these matters, but Ernesto is already out of his seat and calling the man “sir.” His slouch has been corrected and a hand keeps his jeans from dropping below the waist. They shake hands and a heartbreaking glow washes over his face. I shut the door while they confer in the hallway.
ForcesWatch and Quakers in Scotland have submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament that calls on the Scottish Government to ensure greater scrutiny, guidance, and consultation with parents/guardians on armed forces visits to schools in Scotland, in order to provide transparency and balance, and in recognition of the unique nature of armed forces careers.
Forces Watch, a military reform group, and the Quakers faith group have launched a petition to the Scottish Parliament in favour of increased transparency and scrutiny of armed forces visits to schools.
Previous military data revealed a “disproportionate” 1783 visits to 377 Scottish education institutions across a two year period, with at least a third of visits concerning careers advice.
Through articles, images, survey data and interviews, Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter It documents the seeds of war that are planted in the minds of young people in many different countries. However, it also explores the seeds of resistance to this militarisation that are being sown resiliently and creatively by numerous people. READ MORE