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Human Rights organisations are increasingly using International law and the UN to draw public attention to human rights violations and to put pressure on the oppressors responsible. The civil peace movement can make use of...


More than 15 million children directly affected by violence in 2014

Photo: UN Photo/Loey Felipe

During a Security Council meeting on children in armed conflicts, UN officials urged today protection for the war's youngest victims.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the UN 15-member body that "increasingly, children are snatched from a normal life of school and family, abducted by armed groups and thrown into a life of violence and horror."

He added "from north-eastern Nigeria, to Iraq, from South Sudan to Syria, we have witnessed a wave of such abductions used to terrorize and humiliate entire communities."

He also noted that last year was considered one of the worst ever for children in areas affected by conflict, with up to 15 million children directly affected by the violence.


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."


Example: Committee on the Rights of the Child on the USA

CRC/C/SR.1321 5 June 2008 (Summary record)


Initial report of the United States of America under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict (CRC/C/OPAC/USA/1, CRC/C/OPAC/USA/Q/1 and Add.1, written replies by the United States of America, document without a symbol distributed in English only) (continued)

1. At the invitation of the Chairperson, the members of the delegation of the United Statesof America resumed places at the Committee table.


Example: Committee on the Rights of the Child on Britain


Concluding observations:

Voluntary recruitment

12. The Committee notes that, according to the State party’s declaration under article 3 made upon ratification, the minimum age for voluntary recruitment is 16 years and regrets the fact that the State party indicates that there are no plans to change this.

13. The Committee encourages the State party to consider reviewing its position and raise the minimum age for recruitment into the armed forces to 18 years in order to promote the protection of children through an overall higher legal standard. In the meantime, the Committee recommends that, in recruiting among those persons who have not yet attained the age of18, priority is given to those who are the oldest.


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

Article 1

States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that members of their armed forces who have not attained the age of 18 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.

Article 2

States Parties shall ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 18 years are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces.


by Lothar Krappmann (member, Committee on the Rights of the Child)


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

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.


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