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On Wednesday the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas...


Caught in the Crossfire: Child Soldiers in South Sudan Have Few Alternatives

In South Sudan, as in many parts of the world engulfed in conflict, youth are growing up in communities that have been torn apart by war. The film The Good Lie, which tells the story of the lost boys and girls of Sudan, vividly portrays their struggles during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005). Throughout the war, children were actively conscripted, both voluntarily and by force, into the national army and other armed groups. That legacy of recruiting child soldiers has continued into today’s conflict in South Sudan.


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.


Honor Charter “Neutralizing children from Conflict"

Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace adopted what came in the statement of the Honor Charter “Neutralizing children from Conflict" by Building Syrian State Current, issued on 05/10/2014.
The charter requests from the conflict parties to declare their commitment to the following:
1- Avoid targeting areas that are likely to be inhabited by children.
2- Prevent recruiting children under age of 18 and prevent them from any involvement in combat operations or intelligence action.
3- Prevent the participation of children in any kind of political movement, including rallies of pro-opposition and pro-regime, festivals of electoral rhetoric and everything related to political action.
4- Avoid media exploitation for children related issues.
5- Prevent using schools for any political or military purposes, and to facilitate any process related to children’s education


Burma’s child soldiers return home to face a fresh set of challenges

Photo: The Asian American Trafficking Outreach Project

For boys released from the army after being illegally recruited, access to education, jobs and social protection will be difficult

Dressed in white shirts over their green sarongs, dozens of young men poured down the concrete step of the army barracks and across the compound. With parents in tow, they walked towards a line of buses parked beyond the barbed-wire perimeter. Once everyone was seated, the buses moved off. The young men stared out of darkened windows; some looked blank while others, smiling, waved at the grey slab buildings as they receded into the distance.

Recruited illegally as children, the 108 boys were returning home to their families after being formally discharged from the Burmese military. Some had come straight from active service, while others had emerged from hiding or been released from prison, where they were jailed for desertion.


UN condemns recruitment of child soldiers and attacks on schools or hospitals

7 March: By Peter James Spielmann

The Security Council on Friday condemned the recruitment of child soldiers into military forces, guerrilla movements and Islamic militias around the world and demanded an end to attacks on schools and hospitals in conflict zones.

The council unanimously approved a resolution with those demands after hearing testimony from a former child soldier from Sierra Leone, which became notorious for guerrilla groups that amputated the limbs, ears and lips of civilians to leave them as living emblems of fear.

In 2001, when he was 14, Alhaji Babah Sawaneh became the first ex-child soldier to speak before the council, and he spoke again Friday as a campaigner against the practice.

He told the council that he was "one of the children that were forcefully abducted and conscripted into an armed group at the age of 10."


With conflict raging in South Sudan, recruitment of children into armed groups is on the rise

Photo: Eye Steel Film

5 May 2014: UNICEF has received credible reports an estimated 9,000 children have been recruited into armed forces and groups by both sides in the conflict in South Sudan.

These reports are based on observations of children with armed groups, children wearing military uniforms and carrying weapons, and children undergoing military training. Under both international and South Sudanese law, the forcible or voluntary recruitment of persons under the age of 18, whether as a member of a regular army or of an informal militia, is prohibited.


Child Soldiers: Learning from Kony2012?

The issue of child soldiers is back on the global agenda, thanks to two major recent developments. In March, Thomas Lubanga became the first person to be convicted by the International Criminal Court. He was found guilty of forcibly recruiting child soldiers to his Union of Congolese Patriots, known as 'the army of children'. The second, most visible development, was the massive popularity growth of web-based film KONY2012. It aims to raise awareness of the activities of Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord who leads the Lord's Resistance Army, calling for the US military to intervene to bring him to justice. Kony and the LRA are known for their brutality and use of child soldiers. Invisible Children's initiative went viral to become an Internet phenomenon. It amassed over 30 million views in 48 hours, at a rate of up to 1 million per hour, mostly in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America.


"Maybe We Live and Maybe We Die": Recruitment and Use of Children by Armed Groups in Syria

From Human Rights Watch

The 31-page report documents the experiences of 25 children and former child soldiers in Syria’s armed conflict. Human Rights Watch interviewed children who fought with the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front coalition, and the extremist groups ISIS and Jabaht al-Nusra, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, as well as the military and police forces in Kurdish-controlled areas. The report does not, for logistical and security reasons, cover all armed groups that allegedly have used children in Syria, in particular pro-government militias. Using children in armed conflict violates international law.

Read the full report:


Webinar: Militarisation of youth and child soldiers

Dereje Wordofa presents the trend of "militarisation of youth and child soldiers" in Africa, despite the international instruments for human rights.

Dereje Wordofa is Regional Director for Africa at the American Friends Service Committee. He is committed to lasting peace, sustainable development and social justice.

Webinar: Militarisation of youth and child soldiers

Myanmar frees 96 child soldiers from armed forces, but children are still in the military


Myanmar's army has freed 96 children and young people from its armed forces, the United Nations has said. This was the largest single release of child recruits in Myanmar since the country's government entered into an agreement with the UN in 2012 on the issue. The army has released a total of 272 children and youth over the past 18 months, but has not completely stopped its use of children. According to Al Jazeera, no record of verifiable figures exists to prove how many children currently serve in Myanmar's military.

Children in Myanmar have been widely used in armed conflict by both state armed forces and non-state armed groups.


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