Child soldiers - Global report 2008
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  • 2. Girl soldiers and others gathered at aCommunist Party of Nepal (Maoist) eventin Tila, Rolpa district, Nepal.Cover photo © Marcus Bleasdale 2005The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers was formed in May 1998 by leading non-governmental organizations to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers, both boysand girls, to secure their demobilization, and to promote their reintegration into theircommunities. It works to achieve this through advocacy and public education, researchand monitoring, and network development and capacity building.The Coalition’s Steering Committee members are: Amnesty International, Defence forChildren International, Human Rights Watch, International Federation Terre des Hommes,International Save the Children Alliance, Jesuit Refugee Service, and the Quaker UnitedNations Office – Geneva. The Coalition has regional representatives in Africa, theAmericas, Asia and the Middle East and national networks in about 30 countries. TheCoalition unites local, national and international organizations, as well as youth, expertsand concerned individuals from every region of the world. COALIT ION TO STO P T H E U S E O F C H I L D S O L D I E R S
  • 3. ChildSoldiersGlobalReport2008This report covers the period fromApril 2004 to October 2007.
  • 4. Countries/situations where children were recruited
  • 5. or used in hostilities – April 2004 to October 2007
  • 6. First published in 2008 byCoalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers9 Marshalsea Road (4th floor)London SE1 1EPUnited© Coalition to Stop the Use of Child SoldiersISBN 978-0-9541624-5-0Original language: EnglishText and cover design: www.intertype.comPrinted in the United Kingdom by Bell and Bain
  • 7. ContentsWorld Map 2 the Grenadines, St Kitts  Guinea  156Acknowledgements 7 & Nevis, St Lucia  86 Guinea-Bissau  159Preface 9 Central African  Guyana  161Introduction 12 Republic  88 Haiti  162Afghanistan  40 Chad  91 Holy See  165Albania  43 Chile   95 Honduras  166Algeria  44 China  97 Hungary  167Andorra  45 Colombia  99 Iceland  168Angola  46 Comoros   106 India  169Antigua and Barbuda  48 Congo, Democratic  Indonesia  173Argentina  49 Republic of the  106 Iran  176Armenia  51 Congo, Republic of  113 Iraq  178Australia  52 Costa Rica  115 Ireland  181Austria  54 Côte d’Ivoire  116 Israel   184Azerbaijan  56 Croatia   122 Italy  188Bahamas   57 Cuba   124 Jamaica  189Bahrain  58 Cyprus  125 Japan  191Bangladesh  58 Czech Republic  127 Jordan  192Barbados  61 Denmark  128 Kazakhstan  194Belarus  62 Djibouti   129 Kenya  196Belgium  63 Dominican Republic  130 Korea, Democratic People’s Belize  64 Ecuador  131 Republic of  198Benin  65 Egypt  134 Korea, Republic of  200Bhutan  66 El Salvador  135 Kuwait  201Bolivia   67 Equatorial Guinea  136 Kyrgyzstan  202Bosnia-Herzegovina  70 Eritrea  137 Laos  204Botswana  71 Estonia  140 Latvia  206Brazil  72 Ethiopia  141 Lebanon  207Brunei Darussalam  74 Fiji  144 Lesotho  210Bulgaria  75 Finland  145 Liberia  211Burkina faso  76 France  146 Libya  217Burundi  77 Gabon  147 Liechtenstein  218Cambodia  81 Gambia  148 Lithuania  219Cameroon  84 Georgia  149 Luxembourg  221Canada  84 Germany  151 Macedonia   222Cape Verde  86 Ghana  152 Madagascar  223Caribbean (Dominica,  Greece  153 Malawi  224 Grenada, St Vincent &  Guatemala  154 Malaysia  225CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 
  • 8. Maldives 226 Qatar 282 Ukraine 351Mali 227 Romania 283 United Arab Emirates 353Malta 228 Russian Federation 284 United Kingdom 354Mauritania 229 Rwanda 288 United States ofMauritius 230 San Marino 290 America 358Mexico 231 Sao Tome and Uruguay 362Moldova 233 Principe 291 Uzbekistan 363Monaco 235 Saudi Arabia 292 Venezuela 366Mongolia 236 Senegal 293 Viet Nam 368Montenegro 237 Serbia 294 Yemen 370Morocco and Western Seychelles 295 Zambia 371 Sahara 238 Sierra Leone 297 Zimbabwe 372Mozambique 239 Singapore 302 Summary of selectedMyanmar 240 Slovakia 303 internationalNamibia 245 Slovenia 303 treaties 375Nepal 246 Solomon Islands 304 Optional Protocol 378Netherlands 250 Somalia 305 UN Resolution 1612 383New Zealand 251 South Africa 308 Child soldiers 2008:Nicaragua 252 Spain 310 data summary 389Niger 253 Sri Lanka 311 Methodology, termsNigeria 255 Sudan 315 and definitions 410Norway 257 Suriname 321 Glossary and explanatoryOccupied Palestinian Swaziland 322 notes 413 Territory 258 Sweden 323Oman 262 Switzerland 324Pacific Islands (Cook Is, Syria 326 Kiribati, Marchall Is, Taiwan 328 Micronesia, Nauru, Tajikistan 329 Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tanzania 331 Tuvalu, Vanuatu) 263 Thailand 333Pakistan 266 Timor-Leste 335Panama 268 Togo 337Papua New Guinea 269 Tonga 339Paraguay 271 Trinidad and Tobago 340Peru 274 Tunisia 341Philippines 276 Turkey 342Poland 280 Turkmenistan 344Portugal 281 Uganda 345
  • 9. AcknowledgementsThis report covers the period from April data summary chart which appears at the2004 to October 2007. It contains detailed end of the report.information on child soldier recruitment I would also like to thank editorsand use in 197 countries. Where relevant, Maggie Maloney, Sarah Pennington andinformation is provided on disarmament, Philippa Youngman; and Maggie Maloneydemobilization and reintegration programs, and Philippa Youngman for copy-editingand on justice and accountability measures the report. Country entries were researchedto address the problem. and drafted by a team of consultants. They The project and the research were co- were Daniel Alberman, Lana Baydas, Emmaordinated by consultant Donna Guest. The Blower, Marisé Castro, Alison Dilworth,introduction was written by Coalition staff Mary Durran, Marjorie Farquharson,member Lucia Withers, with contributions Sara Hamood, Catherine Hunter, Stevefrom Victoria Forbes Adam and Brian Kibble, Don Lieber, Sarah Maguire,Phillips. Coalition staff members Enrique Anoushka Marashilian, Roland Marchal,Restoy, Lucia Withers and Heloise Ruaudel Ingrid Massagé, Matthew Naumann, Joshand consultant Laura Fine reviewed and Ounsted, Sandrine Perrot, Brian Phillips,revised draft entries for Africa, Asia and Hugh Poulton, Claudia Ricca, Kerry Smith-the Middle East; Martin Nagler and intern Jeffreys and Lars Waldorf.Chantal Scholten compiled large quantities Coalition members in Colombia,of data to support the process. Regional France, Italy, Philippines, Spain and thestaff Dee Brillenburg Wurth, Emma De Vise United States researched and drafted theirand Ryan Silverio provided information, country entries. Information was providedcomments and reviews on entries for by national coalition members and partnerswest Africa, the Great Lakes and south- in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Democraticeast Asia respectively. Ryan Silverio also Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Indonesia,researched and drafted a number of entries. Israel, Lebanon, Occupied PalestinianCarissa Lopez and Heloise Ruaudel were Territory, Thailand, Uganda, the Unitedresponsible for the cover design and States and Venezuela.photographs respectively, and Enrique I am grateful to staff at the Office ofRestoy co-ordinated the translations. the Special Representative of the Secretary-Invaluable administrative support, General for children and armed conflict, tofundraising and financial management UN staff in relevant peacekeeping missions,were provided throughout by Coalition staff and to UNICEF in New York and in fieldmembers Andrew Lowton, Carissa Lopez offices around the world. They providedand Carol Steel. A special debt of gratitude invaluable information, commentary andis owed to Ratna Jhaveri, who spent many support throughout the duration of thishours revising and updating numerous project. Thanks are due in particular tocomplex entries as well as compiling the staff working on Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti,
  • 10. Iceland, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, time and expertise to the project, toNepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri James and Sonia Nesbitt and to numerousLanka, Thailand and Zimbabwe. other organizations and individuals who I would like to thank Salvatore Sagues supported the research and productionand Sara Dezaley for French translations, process.the Permanent Peace Movement for Arabic The governments of Canada, France,translations and Blue Box for Spanish Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway,translations. I thank Martyn Partridge and Sweden and Switzerland provided financialFrancis McInally at Intertype for their invalu- support. Oakdale Trust, the Allan and Nestaable support during the production process, Ferguson Charitable Trust and the Tidesand Beatriz Bellorin and Ian Wren for their Foundation also supported this project.photographic expertise. Their continued support for the work of We are grateful for the long-standing the Child Soldiers Coalition is greatlysupport of Coalition Steering Committee appreciated.members Jo Becker, Rachel and Derek This report is dedicated to childBrett and Martin Macpherson. Thanks are soldiers and their children.additionally owed to Robert Freer, DavidBuchbinder, Linda Dowdney, Francesca Dr Victoria Forbes AdamPizzutelli, Halya Senyk and Maisy DirectorWeicherding, who generously donated London April 20088 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 11. PrefaceChild soldiers. Two simple words. But they impressive and unprecedented number ofdescribe a world of atrocities committed international instruments are in place toagainst children and sometimes by children. support efforts to “stop the use of childCommitted in many different countries soldiers”. They testify to an emerging globaland often hidden from the public eye. We consensus on this damaging practice. Theknow how devastating these experiences Optional Protocol on the involvement ofare for children – thanks to the courage children in armed conflict has been ratifiedand determination of those who have by 120 states; special war crime tribunalsspoken out and called on the international and the International Criminal Court arecommunity to take action on their behalf. becoming a more important means for This Global Report, the third produced bringing the perpetrators of crimes againstby the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child children to justice. The Security CouncilSoldiers, elaborates on progress over the has established a working group to closelypast four years, confirming for example, monitor developments in states where childthat tens of thousands of child soldiers soldiers are used and the UN has devotedhave been demobilized during this period. substantial resources to this problem.But as this meticulously documented Most recently, the Paris Principles andreport shows, tens of thousands more Guidelines on children associated withhave remained in or been newly recruited armed forces and armed groups have beenand used in armed conflicts – primarily by endorsed by 66 governments – they havenon-state armed groups, but also by some pledged to work for the release of all childnational armies. Governments have failed to soldiers from fighting forces, and to supportprevent the use of children by proxy forces programs which genuinely address theand child soldiers who have escaped or complex needs of returning child soldiers.been captured have been used as spies or In short, a rich body of internationalsources of intelligence rather than provided instruments exists. Our challenge is towith rehabilitation and reintegration ensure they are used to maximum Numerous governments persist in This will involve well-coordinated and multi-recruiting under-18 year olds into national faceted actions by a wide range of actors,armies, exposing them to military discipline, the exertion of pressure where it is needed,hazardous activity, bullying, abuse and and sustained funding for programs topossible deployment to war zones. assist returning child soldiers and other There is an urgent need to increase war-affected children. Ultimately, successall our efforts to prevent and eradicate the will depend on addressing root causes andrecruitment and use of children in armed building societies where the rights andconflict. dignity of all children are upheld. The Global Report 2008 shows Last but not least, organizationsthat achieving this goal is far from easy. like the Coalition to Stop the Use of ChildNevertheless, there is reason for hope. An Soldiers have played a vital role in theCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 
  • 12. global movement to definitively end child This Global Report is an importantsoldiering. For ten years the Coalition has record of progress made and the manyserved as an independent global monitor obstacles yet to be overcome. May it inspirefor child soldiers; they have tirelessly us all to renew our efforts so that one day inadvocated for the right of all children to the near future we can shout: “Children areprotection from military exploitation; and free from involvement in war at last!”they have substantially contributed to thepolicy and human rights agenda regardingchild soldiers. Their partnerships with Professor Jaap E. Doekgrassroots organizations working with and Chairpersonfor children in conflict zones have greatly Committee on the Rights of the Childenriched all our knowledge of the realities 2001 to 2007on the ground, and the challenges to be metif we are to achieve our goals.10 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 13. © Private source 2004Ethnic Wa child soldier in the ceasefire group, the United Wa State Army, at a Wa regioncheckpoint, Shan State, northern MyanmarCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 11
  • 14. INTRODUCTIONChild soldiers: progress,but too littleWe feel different because of the way other children look at us; it seemsas if we are not children born from this land. They view us as though wecome from a different place.You cannot be completely happy with all these wounds – both in yourbody and in your mind.1Four years is a long time in a child’s life. trend is more the result of conflicts endingMuch can happen that will touch the rest of than the impact of initiatives to end childtheir lives for good or for ill. Some children soldier recruitment and use. Indeed, wheremay live their lives in situations of peace armed conflict does exist, child soldiersand security. For countless others war will almost certainly be involved. Thecontinues to be all too real. Over this aspect majority of these children are in non-stateof the adult world they have little say and armed groups, but the record of someno control. governments is also little improved. Four years is sufficient for substantial The figures for conflict do notdevelopments in the life of a global reveal the whole picture. The militarymovement. The last Global Report was recruitment of children (under-18s) andpublished by the Coalition to Stop the Use their use in hostilities is a much largerof Child Soldiers (Coalition) in November phenomenon, that still takes place in one2004; since then the movement to end the form or another in at least 86 countriesuse of child soldiers has seen continued and territories worldwide. This includesprogress towards a universal consensus unlawful recruitment by armed groups,against their use in hostilities, witnessed by forcible recruitment by government forces,the fact that over three-quarters of states recruitment or use of children into militiashave now signed, ratified or acceded to the or other groups associated with armedOptional Protocol to the Convention on the forces, their use as spies, as well as legalRights of the Child on the involvement of recruitment into peacetime armies.children in armed conflict. The findings make it clear that, despite On the ground, the consensus would the high level of international attention onappear to be reflected most clearly by the issue, the impact of that attention isa decrease in the number of conflicts in yet to be felt by many children who are, orwhich children are directly involved – from are at risk of becoming, child soldiers. They27 in 2004 to 17 by the end of 2007. The have reinforced the fact that a complexCoalition’s research for this Global Report range of co-ordinated responses by multipleshows, however, that that this downward actors are required to achieve the goal12 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 15. of preventing children’s involvement inarmed conflict, obtaining their release and Overviewsupporting successful reintegration. Thiswill involve a more explicit recognition International efforts continueof child soldiers on the agendas of thoseinvolved in a whole range of initiatives, The international framework to protectfrom conflict prevention, peacemaking and children from involvement in armed forcesmediation through to peace-building and and groups has been reinforced and effortslonger-term development. have focused increasingly on field-level Ultimately, if, over the next four years, implementation.the international community is to make The first important steps towardsgood its promise to protect children from establishing individual criminalmilitary exploitation, the level of political responsibility for those who recruit and usewill, the amount of human and financial children in hostilities have been taken. Warresources, the adherence to established crimes charges relating to the conscription,best practice and the quantity as well enlistment and active participation inas the quality of collaborative effort hostilities of children under 15 years oldand imaginative endeavour must all be have been issued by the Internationalmultiplied. Criminal Court (ICC) against members of armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda. A landmark in international justice was forged by the conviction in 2007 by the Special Court for Sierra Leone of four people on charges that included the recruitment and use of children during the civil war. The pursuit of justice has also been furthered by the work of truth commissions in Sierra Leone, Timor- Leste and recently Liberia, all of which have addressed the issue of child soldiers. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (Optional Protocol) – the most specific prohibition of child soldiers under international law – has now been ratified by 120 states, up from 77 in mid-2004. The United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child began to examine state party reports on the Optional Protocol implementation in January 2005. Their concluding observations are generating an increased momentum towards developing modalities for protecting children from military recruitment and use, as well as providing an insight into further measuresCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 13
  • 16. that many governments must take if they Defence Policy (ESDP) operations andare to achieve this goal. mission planning. The African Union (AU) Building on previous actions, the UN renewed its calls for its member states toSecurity Council adopted resolutions 1539 ratify the African Charter on the Rights and(2004) and 1612 (2005) calling for the Welfare of the Child by the end of 2008 andestablishment of a monitoring and reporting to enact relevant implementing legislationmechanism on children and armed conflict. by 2010. The Charter requires state partiesNow set up in around a dozen countries, inter alia to refrain from recruiting childrenthe mechanism is tasked with documenting and to ensure that they do not take directsix categories of grave abuse against part in hostilities.3children, including recruitment and use of On the ground, tens of thousands ofchild soldiers, in the situations of armed child soldiers have been released fromconflict listed in the annexes of the UN armies and armed groups since 2004 asSecretary-General’s regular reports on the long-running conflicts in sub-Saharan Africatopic. A Security Council working group on have ended. A major initiative to gatherchildren and armed conflict was set up in and compile accumulated experience2005 to review reports submitted under from the demobilization, disarmamentthe mechanism and to monitor progress and reintegration (DDR) of child soldiersin the development and implementation around the world culminated in the Parisof time-bound action plans by warring Principles and Guidelines on childrenparties to end their recruitment and use associated with armed forces or armedof child soldiers. The working group has groups (Paris Principles). Endorsed by 66issued conclusions based on the reports, governments at ministerial meetings intransmitted letters and appeals to parties February and October in 2007, includingengaged in violations, and taken a range of many from conflict-affected countries, theother actions on situations where abuses Paris Principles offer guidance on protectingagainst children have been committed. children from recruitment and on providing The first actions by the Security effective assistance to those alreadyCouncil to apply targeted measures against involved with armed groups or forces.individuals specifically for recruiting and The large-scale recruitment andusing children were taken in 2006, when a deployment of children by governmenttravel ban was imposed on an armed group forces in countries such as Burundi, Côteleader in Côte d’Ivoire. A Security Council d’Ivoire, Guinea and Liberia ceased with theresolution the same year sought to subject end of conflicts. More than half of countriesto travel bans and asset freezing leaders worldwide have set the minimum age atin the DRC who recruited or used child which an individual can enter the military,soldiers.2 including for training, at 18. Regional bodies have also continued to In response to international pressurefocus attention on this issue. The European and local initiatives, several armed groupsUnion’s (EU) 2003 Guidelines on children have committed themselves to ending theand armed conflict were given practical recruitment and use of children. Groupsdirection by an implementation strategy in Côte d’Ivoire and Sri Lanka are workingissued in 2006. The same year a checklist with the UN to develop and implementon integration and protection of children time-bound action plans to release childrenwas adopted to ensure that child rights and prevent their recruitment. Ethnic armedand protection concerns are systematically groups in Myanmar have agreed to doaddressed in European Security and likewise.14 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 17. Real protection requires redoubling methods, and the varied environmentsof effort in which they operate militate against generic solutions. Effective strategiesWhile the general direction is positive, the must be multifaceted and context-specific.pace of progress is slow and its impact Above all, they must address root not yet felt by the tens of thousands of Poor governance and its effects, includingchildren in the ranks of fighting forces. The impoverishment, inequality, discriminationinternational framework offers little real and human rights abuses, are all knownprotection for countless others who are at to contribute to the risk that children willrisk of recruitment and use in conflict. be recruited by armed groups. While such The Coalition has documented conditions persist, children will remaininformation on 21 countries or territories vulnerable to involvement in armed forceswhere children were deployed to areas of and groups.conflict between April 2004 and October The number of governments that2007. Within this period conflicts ended in deployed children in combat or othertwo of the 21 – Indonesia and Nepal – and frontline duties in their armed forces hasso too did child soldier use there. Although not significantly decreased since 2004.this is fewer than the preceding four years, Children have been used in armed conflictthe Coalition’s research reveals a number of by government forces in nine situationsdisturbing findings that make it clear that compared with 10 in the previous four-yearthe efforts to date have been insufficient. period. The most notable offender remains The first of these findings is perhaps Myanmar, whose armed forces, engaged inthe most stark. It is this: when armed long-running counter-insurgency operationsconflict breaks out, reignites or intensifies, against a range of ethnic armed groups, arechildren will almost inevitably become believed to contain thousands of children.involved as soldiers. The Central African Children were also reported to haveRepublic, Chad, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan been used in hostilities in Chad, the DRC,(Darfur) are all cases in point. Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. Additionally, Next, efforts to demobilize children Palestinian children were used on severalduring conflict have met with only limited occasions by defence forces in Israel assuccess. Peace remains the main hope human shields. There were reports of childfor securing the release of child soldiers soldier use by Yemeni armed forces infrom armed forces and groups, a fact fighting in 2007. A few under-18s in the UKthat further reinforces the importance of armed forces were sent to Iraq.child protection being integral to peace The flouting of international standardsnegotiations, as well as the need for explicit by governments extends beyond officialprovisions relating to child soldiers in armed forces. Children in at least 14ceasefire and peace agreements. countries have been recruited into auxiliary The impact of efforts to end child forces linked to national armies; into local-soldier recruitment and use by armed level civilian defence groups establishedgroups has been similarly limited. Armed to support counter-insurgency operations;groups in at least 24 countries located in or into militias and armed groups actingevery region of the world were known to as proxies for government forces. In athave recruited under-18s and many have least eight countries children were used asused them in hostilities. Many have proved spies and for other intelligence-gatheringresistant to pressure and persuasion. purposes, placing them at risk of reprisalsTheir widely diverse characters, aims and and ignoring government responsibilitiesCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 1
  • 18. to provide protection and reintegration suffer stigmatization and rejection by theirassistance. families and communities. Universal responsibilities under the Optional Protocol to protect children Governments which used child soldiers against recruitment and to promote the in armed conflict between April 2004 recovery and reintegration of former child and October 2007. soldiers have yet to be fully realized. When Chad former child soldiers flee their country Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) of origin, asylum processes and special Israel measures facilitating their recognition Myanmar as refugees are frequently lacking in Somalia destination countries, as is the provision Sudan & Southern Sudan of adequate services for their recovery and Uganda social reintegration. The legal framework to Yemen criminalize the recruitment and use of child Additionally, the United Kingdom soldiers and to establish extraterritorial deployed under-18s to Iraq where they jurisdiction over such crimes is also far from were exposed to risk of hostilities complete. Finally, many state parties have undermined the spirit, if not the letter,Despite growing knowledge of best of the Optional Protocol by continuing topractices for the disarmament, target under-18s for military recruitment.demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of While a number of states have raised thechild soldiers, lessons learned from past age of voluntary military recruitment withinefforts have continued to be overlooked in the past four years, at least 63 countriesthe implementation of official programs. permitted the voluntary recruitment ofIn many DDR processes the needs of child children by their armed forces; 26 weresoldiers were not prioritized and in some known to have under-18s in the ranks.were entirely overlooked. Reintegration Others introduced children, often at a veryprograms were frequently not tailored to young age, to military culture throughtheir specific needs and have suffered from military training in schools, cadet corps andchronic under-funding. various other youth initiatives. The repetition of mistakes has been Placing children’s rights ahead ofacute in relation to girls. The special needs military needs requires far-reaching shiftsand vulnerabilities of girls affected by in values and attitudes. Until it is acceptedarmed conflict have long been recognized, that childhood extends to 18, and that theyet they are not well served by DDR spirit of the Protocol expects more of statesprocesses. The vast majority of girls than just amending the age of conscription,associated with fighting forces do not children will continue to be at risk ofparticipate in official DDR programs and becoming soldiers, especially in times ofare not catered for in post-demobilization Specialized medical care forphysical injury resulting from rape orsexually transmitted diseases is rarelyavailable. Girl mothers and their children,often born of rape, are known to beparticularly vulnerable, but continue to16 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 19. Governments Additionally, there were reports that Palestinian children have been used on several occasions by the Israeli Defenseand Forces as human shields. In the Philippines children were reported to be in paramilitaryinternational units used to support counter-insurgency efforts. In Yemen, there are unconfirmedlaw: a measure reports that untrained children as young as 15 were given weapons and sent to the front against an armed group in earlyof progress 2007. Additionally, a few British under-18s were sent to Iraq as recently as mid-2005. Although most were swiftly removed, theyAlmost two-thirds of the world’s states were, in the meantime, exposed to risk ofhave ratified the Optional Protocol, and hostilities.others have prohibited the recruitmentand use of child soldiers in domestic lawor regulations. However, the gap between State responsibility at arm’s lengthwhat governments say and what they do The responsibility of governments extendsremains wide. beyond their official armed forces to militias and armed groups which they support orChildren sent to war which act as proxy forces. In Sudan, for example, responsibilityA small number of states persist not only for ending the widespread use in hostilitiesin recruiting children but also in exposing of children by the government-backedthem to the physical and psychological Janjaweed militias rests squarely withdangers of combat. Despite repeated the Sudanese authorities. The Sudanesedenials by the government, there is government’s support for armed groupsevidence that Myanmar continues to recruit in Chad and the Chadian government’slarge numbers of children into its armed backing for armed groups in Sudan alsoforces – often forcibly through intimidation, render these governments responsible forcoercion and violence – and to use them in the recruitment and use of child soldiersa range of combat and non-combat roles. In by these groups. The government in SriChad, children were among those rounded Lanka cannot escape responsibility for theup in hasty manpower drives in 2006 and abduction of children by the Karuna Group,deployed to defend the capital against a breakaway group of the Liberation Tigersarmed groups; in Somalia, the Transitional of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that was linked toFederal Government allegedly recruited government armed forces. Likewise, theand used children during intense fighting government of Côte d’Ivoire is accountablefor control of Mogadishu in late 2006; in for recruitment of children in 2004 and 2005Sudan, children have been used in Darfur by pro-government militias, many of themby the Sudan Armed Forces and in the former child soldiers from Liberia.south of the country by the Sudan People’s Local-level civilian defence groupsLiberation Army (SPLA); and in Uganda, established to support counter-insurgencychildren who escaped from the Lord’s efforts also demand attention. InformallyResistance Army (LRA), or were captured or structured and in some cases unregulatedreleased from it, were pressured to join the by law, such groups include village-levelgovernment defence forces to fight the LRA.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 17
  • 20. self-defence forces in Chad; anti-Maoist periods and subjected to torture or ill-village defence forces in India; self-defence treatment.committees in Peru; civilian volunteer Scores of children, some as youngorganizations and village defence groups as nine, have been detained in Burundiin the Philippines; and local defence on suspicion of collaboration with theunits in Uganda. Often located in remote National Liberation Forces (FNL). Someareas, such groups may escape scrutiny were reportedly severely beaten – oneand accountability for crimes committed, 16-year-old alleged to have been a memberincluding the recruitment and use of of the FNL youth wing was believed to havechildren. been unlawfully killed while in custody. In Israel hundreds of Palestinian children have been held under military provisions; Countries where children were recruited incidents of ill-treatment and torture were and used by paramilitaries, militias, reportedly common. In one case, a 16-year- civilian defence forces or armed groups old boy was held in solitary confinement for linked to, supported by, or acting as 35 days in 2007 and pressured to become proxies for governments. an informant. In the Philippines, detailed Chad Myanmar policies on the treatment of rescued, Colombia Peru captured or surrendered child soldiers Côte d’Ivoire Philippines by the security forces are not always DRC Sri Lanka implemented, and children have been India Sudan detained beyond the officially sanctioned Iran Uganda time-limits and in some cases ill-treated. In Libya both Myanmar and the DRC, child soldiers who have escaped from armed forces have In addition, several thousand children been charged with desertion and sentenced and youth received training in to terms of imprisonment. In the DRC a paramilitary skills in Zimbabwe’s youth few children convicted of military offences militias. remained in prison under sentence of death, in contravention of international law.Child soldiers in detention In Iraq hundreds of children accused of security violations were detained in Multi-In many situations child soldiers associated National Force – Iraq facilities – where therewith armed groups and captured by were reports of abuse – as well as in Iraqi-rungovernment forces have been treated facilities. In its “war on terror”, the Unitedsolely as adversaries rather than as States of America (USA) has designatedchildren. Contrary to the principle that a number of children, some as young aschild soldiers should be treated first and 13, as “enemy combatants” – a status, asforemost as victims in need of support and used by the USA, that is unrecognized inassistance for reintegration, some have international law. Several under-18-year-been detained solely on the basis of their olds were transferred from US custody inalleged association with armed groups, or for Afghanistan to indefinite military detentiondesertion and other military offences while in the US Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay inin armed forces. International standards Cuba. One such individual is Omar Khadr,of juvenile justice and the right to fair trial a Canadian national shot and captured inhave been violated in situations where child a firefight with US forces in Afghanistansoldiers have been detained for prolonged in 2002. He has alleged that he was ill-18 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 21. treated in US custody in Afghanistan and – to promote the development and well-Guantánamo. Six years on he is facing trial being of the child.before a military commission for offences Of the 120 states that have ratified theallegedly committed in 2002 when he was Protocol, almost two thirds have committed15. In its case against him, the prosecution themselves in their declarations to setsuggested that Khadr had become involved the compulsory and minimum voluntarywith al-Qaeda when he was just 10 years old. recruitment ages at 18 or higher. In the past From the start, Omar Khadr and four years the minimum age for voluntaryothers like him should have been treated recruitment into the armed forces hasprimarily as children and as victims. Their been raised to 18 in Chile, Italy, Jordan,treatment should focus on maximizing the the Maldives, Sierra Leone, Slovenia andpotential of the individual for successful South Korea. In Nepal, a law that permittedsocial reintegration. Accountability for any recruitment of under-18s was declared nullcriminal acts that may have been committed and void by the Supreme Court.can be a part of this, but any process to However, a number of states whosethis end must take full account of the age commitment to stopping the use of childof the child at the time of involvement with soldiers is otherwise not in doubt continuean armed group, and not allow the pursuit to assert their need to target 16- andof punishment to blind the prosecuting 17-year-olds for voluntary recruitmentauthorities to the responsibility of others in into their own forces. Some openly insisthis or her predicament. on placing the manpower requirements The use of children – often captured of their armed forces ahead of children’sor escaped from armed forces – as spies or rights. Calls to raise the minimum age ofinformants similarly violates basic human voluntary recruitment to 18 have beenrights principles for the protection of resisted by armed forces in Australia, Newchildren. It also contravenes government Zealand and the United Kingdom, on theobligations to assist in the recovery of child grounds that it would adversely affect thesoldiers and, moreover, exposes children availability of recruits. In the USA, followingto risks of reprisals. Yet this practice is a dramatic fall in the number of under-18sknown to have been carried out by armed joining the military and general recruitmentforces in Burundi, Colombia, the DRC, India, shortfalls, increased enlistment bonusesIndonesia, Israel, Nepal and Uganda during were introduced and minimum educationalthe reporting period. standards for recruits lowered.Recruitment age Government armed forces whichWhile ensuring that under-18s do not take used children as spies, informants ora direct part in hostilities is an essential messengers.component of the pledge to prevent child Burundi Indonesiasoldiering, the Optional Protocol demands Colombia Israelmore. As its Preamble spells out, its goal DRC Nepalis the “continuous improvement of the India Ugandasituation of children without distinction”.This suggests the need for serious reflection Resistance to the spirit of the Optionalon whether the inclusion of under-18s in Protocol in the interests of filling the ranksmilitary forces satisfies the ultimate goal raises questions about the value assignedof the Convention and its Optional Protocol to child protection. Active targeting ofCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 1
  • 22. children – often from deprived backgrounds is to prove durable when put to the test bywith fewer educational or vocational conflict, crisis or emergency.options – undermines official claims that Military values are often inculcated insuch recruitment is genuinely voluntary. the educational and recreational settings Elsewhere, a stated intention to where children’s physical and intellectualrecruit only those above the age of 18 is formation takes place. At one extreme,undermined by the absence of measures to a “military first” policy is reported todetermine the age of recruits. Registration translate into the equivalent of some 12at birth is the right of every child and is weeks annually of drills and other militarythe first of many essential measures that training for North Korean secondary-schoola state must take to build a framework students. But military culture and trainingof protection around children. Low permeate school life elsewhere. Militarybirth registration is most prevalent in training is compulsory for school children inwar-affected and heavily indebted poor countries including China, Fiji, Kyrgyzstan,countries – precisely those countries where the Russian Federation, United Arabchildren are most at risk of recruitment and Emirates and Venezuela. The presence ofuse by armed forces. cadet corps within schools, for example in The risk of inadvertent under-age Antigua and Barbuda, the United Kingdomrecruitment of children because of low and the USA, may also introduce militarismbirth registration rates was noted in into places of development and learning.countries such as Bangladesh, Botswana, The Optional Protocol permits theEthiopia, Guatemala, Guinea, India, Kenya admission of under-18s into schoolsand Zambia. In Paraguay the lack of birth operated by or under the control of theregistration procedures has facilitated the military, but requires them to operate inforced conscription of children as young accordance with Articles 28 and 29 of theas 12 years old. Elsewhere, for example Convention on the Rights of the Afghanistan and Yemen, inadequate Primary or secondary education is providedverification procedures to determine the in military-run schools in countries such asage of new recruits has meant that under- Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt, Honduras,age soldiers were likely to be serving in Israel, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Peru, thesecurity forces. Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Viet Nam. In some military schoolsA shift in culture is called for children wear military uniforms, live in military-style barracks and are subject toBy late 2007 the UN Committee on the military discipline. Some offer a standardRights of the Child had examined initial school curriculum, while others provide areports from 28 state parties to the narrow education involving hard physicalOptional Protocol. The examinations have drill and weapons handling. It is true that inrevealed much about the attitudes of these many cases these schools fill gaps in statecountries to childhood and how far a state education and children from poor familiesis willing to go to protect children from particularly can stand to benefit. However,under-age recruitment and involvement in states must not be allowed to sidestepconflict. The Committee’s work shows that their obligation to provide every child withthe implementation of the Protocol requires an education consistent with the aimsmore than changes to legislation. Values enshrined in the Convention.have to be entrenched if legislative progress There is also a variety of youth initiatives which may not sit comfortably20 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 23. with the Optional Protocol. The Committee human rights should be considered outsideon the Rights of the Child suggested that the sphere of moral and legal concernNorway’s voluntary youth program, the – regardless of where those abuses haveHome Guard, could not be regarded as taken place. Building on other humangenuinely conforming to the spirit of the rights treaties, the Optional ProtocolProtocol, despite a range of safeguards requires state parties to commit resources,prohibiting practical military training for energies and political will to a recoveryunder-18s. Youth initiatives elsewhere do and rehabilitation agenda for former childnot even incorporate such safeguards. soldiers and to ensure accountabilityIn Australia, Georgia, Sweden, the USA for those who recruit and use childrenand Uzbekistan, for example, a variety of in hostilities. That agenda encompassespatriot camps, cadet corps and military and responsive and responsible asylumsporting competitions and the like involve procedures, international assistance to andmilitary drills, weapons handling and, in co-operation with countries where childrensome cases, the use of weapons. Such have been active participants in armedactivities cast doubt on claims that these conflict, and the establishment of robustprograms motivate young people to be legal protections against the recruitment ofbetter citizens and make a wholly positive children and their use in hostilities.contribution to youth development. When former child soldiers seek Children attending military schools asylum, the values of global responsibilityor participating in such initiatives are, for are put to the test and many states thethe most part, under no formal obligation world over are found lacking. Problemsto enlist. It is nonetheless apparent that identified by the Committee on the Rightsearly exposure to military life can be of the Child include failure to identifyused to facilitate military recruitment. children who may have been recruited orIn Kazakhstan, for example, of the used in hostilities, failure to recognize thisapproximately 4,000 children studying in form of persecution as a basis for grantingmilitary schools in 2005–6, some 65 per refugee status, absence of systematic datacent went on to join the army. In the USA collection, deficient training of immigrationan estimated 40 per cent of students who officials and other relevant professionals,graduate from high school with two or more and inadequate services. In theseyears in the Junior Reserve Officer Training circumstances former child soldiers can beCorp, open to children from 14 upwards, left without support in a strange country.eventually enlist in the military. Children They are also at risk of forcible return and,from 12 to 15 years old, many of them in countries where children seeking asylumorphans, who enter cadet schools in the are detained, such as Italy and Australia,Russian Federation have no legal means of of detention. State parties, many of themreversing either their decision to attend the in Europe, have been put on notice byschool or the undertaking to do vocational the Committee that progress is expectedmilitary work on graduation. towards developing asylum procedures that are sensitive to former child soldiers andA global responsibility putting in place special measures to assist them.The Optional Protocol embraces values The Committee has also closelyof global responsibility that promote the scrutinized domestic laws that explicitlyuniversality of human rights. Neither prohibit the involvement of under-18s invictim nor perpetrator of serious abuses of hostilities and under-age recruitment,CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 21
  • 24. including third-party recruitment of under-18s for military activity. It has given similar Armed groups:scrutiny to laws to establish extraterritorialjurisdiction for crimes of under-agerecruitment and use of child soldiers, confronting theincluding the incorporation into domesticlaw of the relevant provisions of the Rome challengeStatute of the ICC. While many governments have policies While fewer states are recruiting and usingprohibiting the recruitment and use of child soldiers, when it comes to non-statechildren, very few have explicitly prohibited armed groups the news is far less law the violation of these provisions of Despite some examples of progress,the Optional Protocol. Australia, Belgium the bigger picture remains essentiallyand Germany are among a small number unaltered: the recruitment and use ofof countries that have introduced criminal boys and girls by armed groups remainspenalties for individuals who conscript, widespread.enlist or use children under the age of 15 at The uses to which children are put byhome and abroad. In Norway, Sweden and armed groups remained largely unchanged.the USA, such legislation was pending. In In Afghanistan, Burundi, the Central Africanthe case of Norway it was proposed that Republic and Colombia, for example,conscripting or enlisting children under under-18s have been used as combatantsthe age of 18 could be prosecuted as a war and in other front-line duties. Here andcrime – a standard higher than the age limit elsewhere armed groups also employedof 15 contained in the Rome Statute. Where children in a range of support roles fromlegislation exists some states have limited cooking and portering to carrying messagesits application, for example to times of and acting as lookouts and spies. Girls arewar and armed conflict, or to apply only to reported to have been raped and subjectedcrimes committed within the borders of the to other forms of sexual violence andstate against or by its own nationals. The exploitation including by the Revolutionaryenactment of legislation that criminalizes Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), thechild recruitment and use both nationally Armed Forces of the New Forces (FAFN)and extraterritorially is essential in in Côte d’Ivoire, various armed groups inestablishing the legal framework necessary the DRC, and the LRA in northern end impunity for this crime. On occasion, children have been used by Even in states which have yet to militant groups in suicide attacks in Iraq, asbecome parties to the Optional Protocol this well as in the Occupied Palestinian Territoryprogressive standard can be a useful basis until late 2004. This phenomenon has alsofor dialogue about conceptions of childhood recently emerged in both Afghanistan andand why children should not be seen as Pakistan. In situations such as those inacceptable participants in armed conflict Haiti, Kenya and Nigeria, children have beenby either governments or non-state actors. active players in political violence throughIn countries where governments seek to their membership of criminal gangs whosejustify inaction on grounds of inadequate services are intermittently employed byresources, those measures in the Protocol politicians and other actors for politicalmore dependent on political will than cash ends.for their realization can be emphasized.22 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 25. Positive developments government, workshops and advocacy with armed groups conducted by a localAn end to conflicts in Angola, Liberia and non-governmental organization (NGO) hasSierra Leone in the last decade brought a contributed to changing attitudes.halt to the massive recruitment and useof children by armed groups there. Peace Armed groups continue to recruitagreements in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, the childrenDRC, Nepal and Southern Sudan have alsodelivered significant reductions in such Despite progress, the overall picture isrecruitment, if not in all cases a total end to one of armed groups that have ignoredthe practice. international law and standards, that Peace processes aside, the impact of renege on commitments, are resistant tomeasures aimed at preventing and ending pressure and persuasion, or have so farthe recruitment and use of children by proved to be beyond the reach of efforts toarmed groups has been limited, reaching end the involvement of children in conflictonly a few groups and benefiting relatively and political violence.small numbers of children. While the value The examples are many. The LTTEof such measures is undeniable, it must has repeatedly been condemned for itsbe recognized that more needs to be done recruitment and use of children. Yet as Srito bring about demonstrable change in Lanka descends once again into all-outconflict-affected countries. war, the LTTE is reported to be recruiting The UN-led monitoring and reporting and re-recruiting children, albeit in fewermechanism has significantly increased numbers than previously, despite itsavailable data on abuses against children repeated commitments to end the practice.committed by armed groups, as well as The LRA, notorious for abducting andarmed forces, in selected situations.4 The brutalizing thousands of boys and girlsprinciple of engagement with armed groups during the 22-year-long conflict in northernfor child protection purposes is now widely Uganda, has steadfastly ignored appeals toaccepted and has yielded some positive release children even though peace talksresults. Armed groups in Côte d’Ivoire and are taking place. In the DRC, groups loyalSri Lanka have agreed to UN-sponsored to Laurent Nkunda, a former commanderaction plans to end their recruitment of of the Rwanda-backed Congolese Rally forchild soldiers and to demobilize the children Democracy (RCD-Goma), have continued toalready in their ranks. Two armed groups in deploy children in hostilities against variousMyanmar have committed to end the use of other armed groups. Some of the childrenchild soldiers and another has expressed had been recruited from refugee camps inwillingness to enter into discussions with Rwanda. In Colombia, where peace effortsUNICEF. have stalled, several thousand children At grass-roots level, initiatives remain within the ranks of FARC and theaimed at building awareness of children’s National Liberation Army (ELN) with littlerights among armed groups and the apparent prospect of release.communities that surround them have Other groups operating in little-knowndemonstrated potential to impact on the conflicts have largely escaped internationalpolicy and practices of some groups. A scrutiny and action. In Thailand, forcase in point is in relation to ethnic armed example, the separatist group Nationalgroups in Myanmar, where, although Revolution Front-Coordinate (BRN-C),the work of the UN was impeded by the responsible for much of the spirallingCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 23
  • 26. violence in the southern provinces since The limits of existing approachesearly 2004, is reported to use under-18sin various roles including propaganda Existing strategies have been remarkablyand support for military operations. In effective in establishing a broad consensusIndia, despite a reported increase in child that armed forces are unsuitable places forrecruitment by Maoist groups since 2005, children. But it is clear that many armedand persistent reports of child soldier use groups have not joined this consensus. Tensby armed groups in Jammu and Kashmir and of thousands of children have continuednortheastern states, the issue has to date to be recruited and used by such groups,largely escaped national or international and to be put at risk of death, injury andscrutiny. sexual violence. Thousands more remain at risk of recruitment. Changing this reality requires a critical analysis of the limits of Countries where there were child existing approaches and the development soldiers in non-state armed groups. of strategies to address underlying causes as well as symptoms. Afghanistan Lebanon The international legal framework Bhutan Liberia prohibits the recruitment and use of Burundi Myanmar under-18s by non-state armed groups and Central African Nepal criminalizes the recruitment and use of Republic Nigeria under-15s by state and non-state forces Chad Pakistan alike. This framework should underpin any Colombia Philippines strategy. Indeed, some armed groups have Côte d’Ivoire Somalia proved willing to commit to international DRC Sri Lanka standards and a few have acted on such India Sudan commitments by releasing under-18s and Indonesia Thailand ending further recruitment. The threat of Iraq Uganda prosecution of individuals who recruit and Israel/Occupied use children – far more of a reality in 2008 Palestinian than it was in 2004 – should contribute Territory to awareness among members of armed groups of the potential consequences ofSolutions have proved elusive in relation their criminal groups involved in protracted low-level However, some armed groups andconflicts, where child soldiers have been their leaders appear to attach little valuerecruited and used over many years. Such to international law and display littlegroups include the New People’s Army inclination to adhere to it. The military(NPA) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front imperatives of the group and the political,(MILF) in the Philippines. More challenging economic and social factors that drivestill are numerous irregular groups – often conflicts and cause children to enlist – oftenwith obscure goals and opaque command underpinned by local cultural attitudesstructures – that fragment, fracture and towards the age of majority – can outweighshift alliances and whose activities are legal and moral arguments. And, while it isoften as criminal as they are political. Such premature to assess the future deterrentgroups are characteristic of the conflicts in effect of prosecutions by internationalthe Central African Republic and Chad and courts, members of many armed groupsare appearing in Colombia. will, in all likelihood, continue to regard24 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 27. themselves as beyond the reach of child recruitment. Community interventionsinternational justice and remain confident with armed groups have in some casesthat national-level prosecutions are succeeded in obtaining the release ofunlikely. children or reducing levels of recruitment. The public naming of certain armed Wherever possible community involvementgroups in the UN Secretary-General’s should be actively encouraged andregular reports to the Security Council on supported. However, in situations suchchildren and armed conflict has encouraged as Iraq, Sri Lanka and southern Thailand,several groups to renounce the practice and civil society organization and actionco-operate with the UN to prevent it. The are rendered ineffective by insecuritymonitoring and reporting mechanism has and violence. Moreover, where boys areprompted more systematic data collection, considered adults at puberty or wherefocused attention and resources on Islamist doctrine is strong, communityselected situations and created entry points members may not oppose children’sfor dialogue by humanitarian actors. association with armed groups. Undoubtedly more could be achieved. There are no quick or easy solutions.For example, the Security Council could, Armed groups have widely varyingthrough its working group, apply more characters, ideologies, aims, capacities andpressure on parties listed in the annexes to constituencies, and they operate in diverse,the Secretary-General’s report to develop often rapidly changing and frequentlyand implement action plans. It could also insecure environments. Strategies mustbe bolder in its application of measures, take into account that what may beincluding, when appropriate, targeted effective in influencing one group may havemeasures, in particular in relation to little impact on another. Strategies mustthose parties, the majority of which are also reflect the complex web of relations,armed groups, identified in each of the five including regional and international links,annexes so far published. International surrounding such groups. Armed groupscondemnation can have a powerful effect in Chad, the DRC and Sudan, for example,and the threat of sanctions or other enjoy the material or political support oftargeted measures may at least limit the neighbouring governments, some of whichextent of child recruitment. However, are in turn recipients of economic andthe full effect of such measures can only development aid from second governmentsbe achieved when combined with the or donor bodies. Pressure can be exertedconcerted efforts of a whole range of on such governments and donors to usenational and international government what influence they have to encourageand non-government actors working in a compliance with human rights standardsco-ordinated fashion to persuade parties and international humanitarian conflict to end the practice, to monitorand support their implementation of Addressing the root causescommitments and to design and implementpolicies to prevent future recruitment. Efforts to influence the policies and Expectations of the role of behaviour of armed groups should continuecommunities must be similarly qualified. wherever possible and appropriate. DirectCommunities are essential to understanding and indirect engagement, advocacy,why children are recruited and how they targeted measures and prosecutions cancan be protected. Engagement with all have an effect. Greater attention mustcommunities can help build resistance to be paid, however, to questions of whereCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 2
  • 28. children are recruited by armed groups and, Governments and societies that fail tocritically, why. prioritize the promotion and protection of While the conditions facilitating child children’s rights – economic, social andrecruitment persist, as they do in countless cultural, as well as civil and political – sharecountries worldwide, it will remain easy responsibility for driving children into thefor armed groups to exploit children. ranks of armed groups.Many children have few alternatives to, or As with recruitment into armed forces,defences against, joining armed groups. education merits particular attention When hostilities are ongoing, poverty, – schools can be part of the problem as wellsocial dislocation and other environmental as part of the solution. Denied an adequatefactors create conditions of extreme education, school leavers are unequippedvulnerability to recruitment. Children in for employment in the modern world andrefugee camps, the internally displaced, more vulnerable to recruitment by armedchildren separated from their families and groups.children among the rural poor and in urban Schools are convenient sites forslums are at higher risk. Changing conflict recruitment of children, often forced and endynamics may exacerbate the risks. For masse – a deplorable abuse. There is alsoexample, intensified recruitment drives increasing evidence that schools are usedby armed groups have taken place in by armed groups to indoctrinate children,Burundi, Nepal and Southern Sudan prior encourage volunteers and identify suitableto ceasefire and disarmament agreements. candidates for training and recruitment. InProtection strategies should, as a matter both Bangladesh and Pakistan there areof course, target identifiably vulnerable reports that children have been recruitedchildren and respond to changes which may by armed groups from madrasas (Islamicimpact on child recruitment patterns. religious schools). In the case of Pakistan, Action to prevent recruitment should such children have been involved in suicidenot only be triggered by conflict. The attacks both at home and across the borderOptional Protocol requires states to take in Afghanistan. In southern Thailand,all feasible measures to prevent armed schools and mosques are thought to begroups recruiting and using under-18s. The used to indoctrinate children from the agefirst step is to criminalize such practices of six in a version of history and Islam thatin domestic law. Beyond this, durable supports BRN-C’s political and military aimsprotection means changing the conditions and encourages teenage “volunteerism”.that make recruitment possible or virtually Youth summer camps and other out-of-inevitable, as is the case in situations school activities are reportedly organized bysuch as the Central African Republic, Chad armed groups in Lebanon and the Occupiedand Somalia. Ineffective government, the Palestinian Territory, which, while notabsence of legal protections for children necessarily overtly military, can generateand lack of effective institutions to enforce links and loyalties to the armed groups.them, poverty, discrimination, political and The risk of education becoming asocial exclusion, lack of access to education recruitment tool in the hands of armedand vocational training and limited groups is heightened in situations wherelivelihood prospects set the conditions for the public schooling system is inadequate.recruitment. Children are also more likely to In these circumstances, unregulatedbe drawn to armed groups by experiences alternatives offering narrow curricula canof human rights violations or other forms flourish, with, in some cases, sectarian orof violence, including domestic violence. Islamist content. In Indonesia, an innovative26 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 29. approach is being taken to tackle theproblem in Central Sulawesi where the Disarmament,armed Islamist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)had significant influence in certain religiousboarding schools. The authorities are demobilizationembarking on an experiment to establisha model religious school to encourage andstudents away from radical schools andreduce their vulnerability to recruitment reintegrationby militant groups.5 While it is too early tojudge its success, and despite questions Several major disarmament, demobilizationover the transparency and equity of the and reintegration (DDR) programs for adultsprogram, this type of approach merits and children have drawn to a close in the pastconsideration. four years, resulting in the release of tens of While governments have primary thousands of children. Many thousands moreresponsibility for ensuring child protection have escaped, been captured or have foundand preventing their recruitment into their own way home. Efforts have continuedarmed groups, it should be a priority for all to release children from fighting forces andthose engaged in human rights protection, to support their reintegration in countrieshumanitarian work, development, conflict such as Afghanistan, Colombia and Sri Lanka,prevention and post-conflict peace-building. where hostilities are ongoing. New DDRIt should feature explicitly in the mandates initiatives for children have been established,of all involved. It is only through collective including in the Central African Republicendeavour that robust and durable barriers and Chad. Overall, however, DDR efforts arewill be erected that effectively protect inadequate, and many children have failed tochildren from being recruited into armed receive the assistance needed to successfullygroups. return to their families and communities. The majority of DDR programs in the last decade have been carried out in sub-Saharan Africa with support from peacekeeping operations. From these and other experiences, a wealth of knowledge exists on the identity of girls and boys in fighting forces, and their needs and priorities when returning to civilian life. While the Paris Principles encapsulate much that has been learned over recent years about how to achieve successful DDR for children, this knowledge has yet to be fully applied. Demobilization during conflict Demobilization of child soldiers during conflict presents the greatest of challenges. Despite the best efforts of UN agencies, NGOs and others, large-scale releases ofCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 27
  • 30. children from armed forces or groups have child recruitment in 2005 to bolster fightingrarely taken place before hostilities end. strength and negotiating power prior to their Difficulties in gaining access and integration into the army of Southern Sudan.lack of security pose major obstacles to These and other difficulties should notreleasing child soldiers during conflict. The prevent efforts to release children from armedmurder in July 2006 of an NGO worker in groups or to deploy international humanthe DRC – killed while seeking the release rights monitors if no other protection is likelyof child soldiers in North Kivu – highlighted to be effective. However, reality dictatesthe risks for human rights defenders. In that an end to conflict will produce the mostChad and Colombia continued fighting has concrete results, reinforcing the urgent needprevented children from returning to their for peaceful settlements and the inclusion offamilies. Many have been forced to remain specific DDR provisions for child soldiers inin transit centres or institutional care for peace agreements. Exemptions from futuremonths after being released. conscription of those who served as children The record suggests that when armed should also be included in such texts.conflict persists, political and militaryimperatives are likely to dictate the ebb Girl soldiers – still excludedand flow of recruitment, but consistentlyapplied pressure can bring about some There is wide recognition of the involvementimprovement. In Sri Lanka, an action plan of girls in fighting forces, in combat andin 2003, the threat of targeted measures non-combat roles and as victims of sexualand ongoing dialogue with the LTTE have slavery, rape and other forms of sexualresulted in reduced rates of recruitment violence. Repeated Security Counciland release of under-18s. Nevertheless, resolutions have highlighted the need torecruitment patterns were at least in part take into account the special needs anddetermined by conflict dynamics and the vulnerabilities of girls affected by armedLTTE’s own training cycles. Difficulties in conflict, including girls involved in fightingverifying the situation of those released forces.6 The importance of considering thehave also persisted. In Chad, where requirements of girls during DDR processesan estimated 7,000 to 10,000 children was explicitly reaffirmed by the Parisremained in armed forces and groups by Principles in 2007.October 2007, an agreement by the Chadian The existence of girl soldiers becamegovernment to release children from the evident in the aftermath of armed conflictsnational army resulted in the release in Angola and Mozambique in the 1990s,of several hundred children. However, and girl soldiers have been present infurther releases have been hampered by virtually every non-international conflictobstructions to UNICEF’s access to most since. Yet figures from national DDRmilitary installations. Recruitment by all programs reflect extraordinarily low figuresfighting forces has continued, fluctuating for girls’ participation, with average levelsaccording to military needs. of between 8 and 15 per cent of those girls. In other situations armed groups In Liberia some 3,000 girl soldiers werehave placed unacceptable conditions on officially demobilized through the formalthe release of children. In the DRC, for DDR process that ended in Novemberexample, Ituri-based armed groups have 2004. However, as many as 8,000 wererefused to release children unless demands excluded or did not register and receivedfor amnesties are met by the government. no subsequent support. A similar situationMilitias associated with the SPLA increased occurred in the DRC, where only 3,000 girls28 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 31. (about 15 per cent of the total number of the demobilization stage, many girls remaingirls estimated to have been involved in outside the orbit of reintegration support.the conflict) were officially demobilized It is recognized that returning girlby the end of 2006 as the national DDR soldiers have multiple needs, includingprogram drew to a close. Thousands of girls specialized medical care for physicalwho returned home informally received no injury resulting from rape or infectionreintegration support. from sexually transmitted diseases and psychosocial support to address the reality Government armed forces known to have of rape and the further trauma of rejection had children in their ranks. by family or community. Returning girls may equally need support over whether Armenia Jordan to leave or remain in relationships formed Australia Luxembourg in the ranks. Girl mothers and babies who Austria Myanmar are born of rape in situations such as the Bangladesh Netherlands DRC, Liberia and Uganda are especially Barbados New Zealand vulnerable to rejection. Bolivia Paraguay The needs of girl soldiers must be Canada Russian Federation seen within broader contexts of entrenched Chad Somalia and complex gender discrimination and Cuba Sudan inequalities. These precede armed conflict, Democratic Uganda facilitate human rights abuses against Republic of the United Kingdom women and girls during hostilities and Congo United States persist in its aftermath. Attention must Germany of America be paid to the fact that some girl soldiers Guatemala Yemen enlist to escape sexual abuse, enforced Ireland marriage or a life of domestic servitude. The context-specific characteristics of genderThe reasons why girls have not participated discrimination, sexual exploitation andin formal DDR processes are complex. Girls abuse require careful analysis to identifyin many conflicts in Africa have been held the particular vulnerabilities of girls and theback, as they perform useful support roles types of discrimination in the communitiesor are regarded as “wives”. The LRA, for to which they return. Awareness of theseexample, has refused to release some 2,000 realities has to be matched by programs towomen and children on the grounds that identify girls through less formal channelsthey are wives and children of fighters. Girls and to support their reintegration withoutthemselves may not wish to be identified returning them to further stigmatization,as child soldiers for fear of rejection by violence or exploitation.families and communities, having beendeemed to have “lost value” through Addressing the needs of childreninvolvement in sexual activity. As a result, during DDRmany have returned to their communitiesinformally with their complex medical, An oft-repeated error has been the failure topsychosocial and economic needs unmet. acknowledge and act on the well-established The military orientation of many DDR fact that many children do not register forprograms – entailing formal registration formal DDR programs. Fearing stigmatization,and identification as part of a fighting force thousands of child soldiers – particularly– itself presents a major obstacle to the girls – choose not to reveal their identity asparticipation of girl soldiers. Overlooked at soldiers by registering for DDR. The problemCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 2
  • 32. can be compounded by local dynamics. In generated by giving children cash packages,Colombia, for example, restrictive criteria for demobilized children were reportedlyaccessing the government-run DDR program provided with cash payments designed forhas effectively excluded many former child adult combatants. NGOs noted communitysoldiers, including many of those discharged resentment of returning child their commanders or who escaped and In Nepal and elsewhere it is necessaryfound their own way home. In the DRC, for all actors involved to examine why agreedanecdotal evidence from 2007 suggests that principles for children’s DDR have continuedsome child soldiers were abandoned en route to be overlooked and to develop mechanismsto demobilization centres by commanders to ensure that this is avoided in future.fearing prosecution for child recruitment.Children who fought across borders are Long-term support for reintegrationespecially vulnerable. For example, of some2,000 Guinean children believed to have The reintegration of child soldiers is abeen involved in armed conflict in Liberia only long-term process which aims to give29 were formally demobilized and repatriated returning child soldiers viable alternativesto Guinea. to involvement in armed conflict and to Experience has additionally shown that help them resume life in the community.the reintegration needs of both girls and Elements of reintegration are wellboys are best served by programs based understood and include family reunificationin communities, which aim to support a (or alternative living arrangements ifwide range of war-affected children. Such reunification is not possible), psychosocialprograms can militate against further support, education, vocational trainingstigmatization and resentment of child and income-generation projects. Yetsoldiers and, by addressing broader needs, sustained funding for long-term support iscontribute more effectively to post-conflict rarely available. Lack of funding combinedrecovery of the children, their families and with poor planning and a tendency tocommunities. This lesson has not, however, privilege demobilization over longer-termbeen consistently applied. reintegration objectives, have continued As peace or ceasefire agreements are to undermine children’s prospects ofnegotiated, the pressure to end hostilities successfully returning to civilian life.and disarm combatants drives the pace and An artificial division of labour andsubstance of DDR planning, and short-term funding between the emergency phase,solutions derived from adult DDR have post-conflict recovery and development canon occasion prevailed over longer-term contribute to failed reintegration. Fundingcommunity-based programs. For example, for national DDR programs has typicallybest-practice principles for children’s DDR been provided for immediate post-conflictwere apparently overlooked in Nepal, demobilization and short-term reintegrationwhere hundreds of child soldiers remained support, normally for a one-year cantonments for over a year after a While child protection agencies havepeace agreement between the government provided localized support for reintegrationand the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) programs beyond the initial DDR process,(Maoist). Community-based programs funding for longer-term support is rarelywere too few and too late to assist all the available on the scale it is needed.children associated with the CPN (Maoist) Inadequate provision for long-termarmed wing. Despite lessons learned from reintegration has been reported fromLiberia and Sudan on the sort of problems Afghanistan, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia30 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 33. and Southern Sudan. In Guinea about 350 and results in DDR programs that do notmembers of government-backed civilian include provisions for children.militias (adults and children) active in 2000– In the Central African Republic, for1 had completed training by 2004 as part example, only 26 children (almost all boys)of a demobilization program. Thousands were among over 7,500 combatants whoof others, many recruited as children, had went through a three-year DDR programnot benefited from the program because that ended in early 2007, despite it beingof lack of funds. In the DRC, the impact known that larger numbers of children hadof delayed, unpredictable and short-term participated in the armed conflict there. Infunding, combined with poor planning and Indonesia, the DDR program that followedmismanagement, resulted in some 14,000 the 2005 peace agreement in Aceh made noformer child soldiers being excluded from provision for the release and reintegration ofreintegration support. By the end of 2006, child soldiers, despite evidence that childrensome four years after the start of the were actively involved in both the Indonesianprogram, close to half of the total 30,000 armed forces and the armed oppositionchildren demobilized had not received group, the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).reintegration assistance and international Elsewhere, the failure of governmentsfunding had virtually ceased. to acknowledge the problem, or in some If the reintegration needs of former cases their outright denial, means that therechild soldiers are to be seriously addressed, is no provision to assist the release of orthese well-documented lessons must be support for former child soldiers. In Myanmar,learned. More resources should be directed despite the establishment of a Committeeat community-based programs which for the Prevention of Military Recruitment ofare sensitive to the needs of returning Under-age Children and other government-child soldiers but designed to benefit all proclaimed initiatives to stop recruitment,conflict-affected children. In relation to the authorities have so far not permittedgirls, carefully designed gender-specific independent verification of how manyoutreach programs, to include provision for children reside within the ranks of its armedthe babies and children of girl soldiers, and forces. Additionally, no DDR arrangementsbacked by dedicated financial resources, exist for children associated with armedmust be integral to DDR programming from groups in Myanmar. In countries such asthe start, along with funding for sustained India, Thailand and Uganda, despite reportedreintegration to address their complex recruitment and use of children by armedphysical, psychosocial and economic needs. groups, there is no official support for release and reintegration of children. Support, whereChild soldiers: a blind spot in DDR it exists, is provided by NGOs. Evidence suggests that children areDespite the accumulated knowledge, the likely to be involved in armed conflictconceptualization of fighting forces as when it exists. This should be reflected incomprising adult male combatants has DDR planning from the outset. All futurecontinued to result in the design of DDR DDR efforts must be closely monitored byeligibility criteria that exclude girls and those involved, including governments,children who do not carry arms. This reveals a donors and international bodies involvedlack of awareness by adult DDR planners that in designing and implementing programschildren (both boys and girls) were involved to ensure that agreed and well-testedin particular conflicts in a multitude of roles principles are applied.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 31
  • 34. Ending of which have addressed the issue of child soldiers. In so doing they have given children and young people a platform to tellimpunity their own stories and have contributed to a broader understanding of the experiences of child soldiers, of how to assist theirThe international community’s commitment recovery and of how to protect children into taking action against individuals who the future.recruit and use child soldiers has beenclearly demonstrated through the effortsof the ICC and the Special Court for Sierra The importance of nationalLeone. investigations and prosecutions The inclusion of charges of forcible The ICC and other ad hoc internationalrecruitment and use of children in the first or hybrid courts (combined national–ever arrest warrants issued in 2005 by international courts) will continue to playthe ICC – against senior members of the an important role in situations whereLRA – gives due recognition to one of the national authorities lack the capacity ordefining crimes committed in the course will to prosecute war crimes and otherof the Uganda conflict. The first ICC trial, grave violations of human rights. However,that of the Congolese armed-group leader, if prosecutions are not to be limited to aThomas Lubanga Dyilo, on charges of few individuals in a handful of countries,enlisting, conscripting and using children national-level processes in domestic courtsunder the age of 15 for active participation must be encouraged and hostilities, marks the beginning of the Justice-sector reform in the contextjourney towards justice for former child of international peace-building efforts hassoldiers there. received increasing attention in recent Convictions by the Special Court years. However, examples of national-levelfor Sierra Leone in June 2007 of three prosecutions in relation to child soldiersmembers of the Armed Forces Revolutionary are rare. In one of only two cases where aCouncil (AFRC) represented the first ever national trial is known to have taken placeconvictions before an international court it proved unsatisfactory. Observers of theon charges relating to the recruitment 2006 military trial in the DRC of the formerand use of children. A fourth guilty verdict armed group leader Jean-Pierre Biyoyo forwas handed down to a member of the de facto child recruitment reported thatgovernment-backed Civilian Defence Forces the tribunal was unable to guarantee the(CDF) in August the same year, while the physical or psychosocial protection of childtrial of members of the Revolutionary victims or witnesses, and that childrenUnited Front (RUF) for crimes including present at the hearings were exposed tothe enlistment of children was ongoing. risk.7 On a positive note, in the ongoing trialThe Special Court’s prosecution of Charles in the DRC of a former commander of a localTaylor, the former Liberian president and defence group (Mai-Mai) on charges thatthe principal backer of the RUF, is another include the recruitment of children, variousdeparture, marking the first time a former measures are reported to have been put inhead of state has been brought to trial for place to assist children participating in thethe crime of recruiting children. trial while protecting their identities. Abuses committed against children National-level trials in countrieshave also emerged as a matter for where already weak justice systems haveconsideration by truth commissions, several32 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 35. been further degraded by conflict require penalties – in no circumstances should thesubstantial technical and financial support death penalty be applied. As yet there is noif international standards are to be met. guarantee that these conditions will be met.This is particularly so if children, includingformer child soldiers, are involved in The scope of prosecutionsproceedings. Political will is equally important. Prosecutions should not, by focusingAmnesties or deals struck to reward solely on the recruitment and use of childindividuals with positions in the government soldiers, exclude other crimes committedor armed forces can undermine efforts to against children. Such an approachtackle impunity. In Colombia, for example, risks stigmatizing child soldiers andthere were fears that legislation protecting ignores the wider abuses experiencedformer government-backed paramilitaries by children in conflict situations. It is onfrom disclosing information about their these grounds that some have questionedactivities could protect members of the the exclusive child-soldier focus of theparamilitaries from being held accountable ICC’s charges against Thomas Lubanga.for their crimes, including child-soldier After all, the Union of Congolese Patriotsrecruitment and use. Amnesties for crimes (UPC/L), the armed group he led, isunder international law should be opposed widely acknowledged to have committedin all circumstances. numerous other serious crimes against Issues of domestic capacity and children, as well as adults, includingpolitical will are central to the viability murder, torture and sexual violence. Aof the agreement on accountability and broader range of charges is contained inreconciliation signed in June 2007 by the the subsequent ICC indictments against twoUgandan government and the LRA and other Congolese suspects, Germain Katangaelaborated in a February 2008 annex and Matieu Ngudjolo that agreement. Under the terms Child soldiers frequently experience aof the agreement a special division of profoundly traumatizing array of abuses,the Ugandan High Court will prosecute including ill-treatment and torture, rape andthose responsible for war crimes or other other sexual violence. Many other childrenwidespread or systematic crimes against suffer similar abuses in armed conflict.civilians. Proposed as an alternative to The full spectrum of child victims andthe prosecution of LRA leaders by the ICC, the abuses they endure, including sexualwhich the LRA has consistently cited as violence, must be addressed by justicean obstacle to peace, a nationally based processes.process could have some benefits. If theparties to the conflict prove genuinely Truth commissions and other non-committed to pursuing accountability, judicial approachesthe agreement offers the prospect of Truth commissions, now an establishedboth peace and justice. Critically, it could element of transitional justice, havealso pave the way for the release of the increasingly recognized the importanceestimated 2,000 women and children of addressing children. Intended tobelieved to remain in LRA camps in the complement rather than provide aneastern DRC and southern Sudan. However, alternative to trials, the non-judicial, lessif domestic trials are to complement the formal, more participatory nature of truthICC credibly, they must satisfy international commissions is seen to be particularlyfair trial standards and apply appropriate suited to the involvement of childrenCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 33
  • 36. and to addressing crimes that have been on the circumstances that led to thecommitted against them. The courtroom systematic and widespread use by fightingcan be an intimidating forum for children forces of girls and boys from Liberia andand few can participate in formal justice neighbouring countries.processes. Their stories are frequently The mandates of truth commissionsnot told, at least not in their own words, should make specific reference to theand their experiences are often not investigation of abuses against children,well documented or understood. Truth including, where appropriate, the issue ofcommissions also look to the causes child soldiers. Those working with childrenand consequences of abuses, and can affected by armed conflict or on relatedrecommend reform and economic and social issues should be consulted from the outset.measures aimed at repairing damage that At the same time, careful considerationcan also address broader notions of justice. should be given to whether and how Several truth commissions have former child soldiers should participatedevoted chapters to children in their final in consultations around the design andreports. The Truth and Reconciliation implementation of a truth commissionCommission for Sierra Leone was, however, and in providing information to it. Specificthe first with an explicit mandate to pay efforts and special arrangements are“special attention” to the experiences of needed to ensure that the voices of girlschildren during the conflict8 and the first in who have been associated with fightingwhich children participated. Its final report, forces are heard and their concernsreleased in October 2004, testified to the addressed.legion of legal, institutional and policy The role of other non-judicialfailures that had combined to make children accountability mechanisms in addressingvulnerable, and directed a spotlight on impunity also merits further consideration.where reform efforts should be focused. For example, in the context of security and Subsequently, the report of the broader institutional reform, vetting shouldCommission for Reception, Truth and remove from the armed forces (or otherReconciliation for Timor-Leste, that public office) individuals responsible forinvestigated human rights violations recruiting and using children. As part ofcommitted in Timor between 1974 and 1999, broader institutional reform efforts, vettingrevealed previously little-known information for these and other crimes can contributeabout the extent of the involvement of towards preventing further abuses.Timorese children, in particular in the Similarly, within deliberations on the designIndonesian occupying forces and its of reparations programs, consideration ofassociated paramilitary and militia groups child soldiers within the broader category of– crimes for which no one has been held child victims should be included.accountable. The Truth and Reconciliation Ensuring children’s best interestsCommission of Liberia began its workin June 2006 with a specific mandate Those designing and implementingto address the issue of child soldiers. accountability strategies must be alertAlready several former child soldiers have to the impact of justice processes on thetestified to the Commission, and special broader security and protection needschildren’s hearings are planned. Its work of current or former child soldiers. Goodrepresents an important opportunity practice on the involvement and protectionfor national and international reflection of child victims and witnesses in war crimes34 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 37. Countries where the minimum age for voluntary recruitment was under 18 including for training purposes or as cadets. Armenia France Netherlands Australia Germany New Zealand Austria Guinea-Bissau Pakistan Azerbaijan Guyana Papua New Guinea Bangladesh Hungary Paraguay Barbados India Peru Belarus Iran Philippines Bolivia Ireland Poland Brazil Israel Russian Federation Brunei Darussalam Jamaica Sao Tome and Principe Burundi Kazakhstan Seychelles Cameroon Kenya Singapore Canada Korea, (Democratic Tanzania Cape Verde People’s Republic of ) Tonga Chad Kyrgyzstan Trinidad and Tobago China Lebanon Turkmenistan Cuba Libya United Kingdom Cyprus Luxembourg United States of America Dominican Republic Malaysia Viet Nam Ecuador Malta Zambia Egypt Mexico El Salvador Moldovatrials and truth commissions is emerging, prospects for social reintegration mustand important initiatives to capture and also be addressed. Again, this relationshipbuild on them are under way.9 But there is insufficiently understood, but theare specific considerations in the case responsible promotion of justice initiativesof child soldiers that have yet to be fully requires a full understanding of theiracknowledged or properly addressed. impact, short- and long-term, on all victims, The physical security of children is of including child soldiers.paramount concern. This applies particularly In addition to questions around theto children who are still in the ranks of benefits and risks of former child soldiersarmed groups or forces when prosecutions participating in court proceedings or truthor other accountability processes are commissions, there are broader issues topending. The dilemmas are evident in be explored. These include whether andUganda, where the ICC indictments against how accountability processes help childrenLRA leaders have been seen by some as to make sense of their experiences, torepresenting an obstacle to the signing of a what extent their expectations of justicepeace deal and thereby delaying the release are fulfilled, and whether trials, truth-of children still in the ranks of the LRA. seeking or other accountability mechanisms The effects of accountability processes promote understanding and acceptanceon children involved in conflict and their of former child soldiers by communities.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 3
  • 38. Through understanding how accountability Moreover, it is reasonable to ask whetherprocesses affect the lives of child soldiers absolving children of responsibility for(many of whom are young adults before crimes they have committed is necessarilysuch processes begin) and the communities in the best interests of the child. In ataround them, the potential for justice least some cases, where the individualmechanisms to contribute positively to their was clearly in control of their actions,reintegration can be maximized and risk of and not coerced, drugged, or forced intoharm kept to a minimum. committing atrocities, acknowledgement and atonement, including in some instancesChildren and criminal responsibility prosecution, might be an important part of personal recovery. It may also contribute toAccountability for serious crimes committed their acceptance by families, communitiesby child soldiers remains a contentious and society at large.issue. While the ICC does not have Protecting the rights of former childjurisdiction over under-18s and other soldiers in justice processes and improvinginternational tribunals have chosen not their chances of successful reintegrationto apply it, the question remains whether require the issue of criminal accountabilitychildren should generally be exempt from to be confronted. A clear distinction musthaving to account for human rights abuses be drawn between this exploration ofcommitted in their capacity as members of accountability and the pursuit of nationalan armed force or group. security agendas that ignore juvenile justice Truth commissions in Sierra Leone standards and the best interests of theand Timor-Leste have addressed the issue child. The framework for the accountabilityof child perpetrators. The Sierra Leone discussion and appropriate action alreadycommission treated all children equally, as exists in the international standards onvictims of war, but also examined the “dual juvenile justice, with their emphasis onidentities” of child soldiers as both victims objectives of rehabilitation and restorativeand perpetrators. It emphasized that it justice, and the accumulated best practicewas not seeking to explore guilt, but to from this field. In addition, the experienceunderstand how children came to carry out of former child soldiers, including thoseviolations, what motivated them, whether who have participated – as victims, asthey had the capacity to understand their perpetrators or as both – in transitionalactions, and how such crimes might be justice processes, whether judicial, non-prevented in the future. judicial or traditional/customary, must Recognizing that child soldiers inform the debates. The views of victims,are first and foremost victims of grave as well as of members of communities toabuses of human rights, and prioritizing which child soldiers have been or will bethe prosecution of those who unlawfully returned, must also be taken into account.recruited and used them, is essential. Truthcommissions in particular can contributeto understanding the full impact of thiscrime and to the design of more effectivestrategies to assist former child soldiers inmaking their way back into society. However, victims who have sufferedabuses at the hands of a child soldier alsohave a right to justice and reparations.1036 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 39. Benchmarks for monitored in their implementation of such plans. • The inclusion in all ceasefire andchange peace agreements of provisions for the immediate disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers.In four years’ time the Optional Protocol • The inclusion of provisions for childrenwill have been in force for a decade. The in the design of official DDR programsnext four years cannot be allowed to and the consistent application of thego by without more progress to show. Paris Principles in the implementationThe ultimate judges of that progress of all DDR initiatives, taking accountwill be children whose lives are blighted of context-specific needs and their involvement in conflict and for The inclusion as a matter of coursewhom international attention is of little of specialized culturally appropriatecomfort unless it changes their individual programs for girls, and the building intocircumstances for the better. As the children donor planning of long-term financialquoted at the beginning of this introduction support for reintegration.indicate, the damage resulting from the • The establishment by governments inexperience of being a child soldier may countries with child soldiers (but nonever be fully repaired. However, much can peacekeeping operation) of programs tobe done to lessen it. A great deal can also identify and release such children andbe done to prevent other children from ever support their reintegration.suffering the same experience. • The development of multi-faceted, The task is most urgent in situations multi-agency strategies to prevent childof armed conflict, but if the recruitment and recruitment and use by armed groups,use of child soldiers is to be definitively involving legal, institutional, social,ended there must be global recognition economic and cultural measures in allthat armed forces are no place for a child. high-risk situations including countriesOn this basis, the Coalition is opposed to affected by conflict and those wherethe military recruitment or use of any girl or armed groups operate or where conflictboy under the age of 18. The benchmarks is possible.against which the progress over the next • The explicit criminalization in domesticfour years towards this goal will be judged law of underage recruitment (i.e.include: conscription and enlistment) and use• A complete end to the use of children of any persons under the age of 18 in hostilities in any capacity by to participate in hostilities and the government armed forces and by establishment of universal jurisdiction any forces linked to or supported by for such crimes. governments including auxiliaries, • Progress towards the systematic militias and civilian defence investigation and prosecution by organizations. national and international courts of• A significant increase in the numbers individuals suspected of recruiting of non-state armed groups that have and using children in armed forces and developed action plans to prevent the groups. Where relevant this crime would recruitment of under-18s and the release also be addressed by other transitional of children within their ranks; these justice processes, including truth armed groups are being supported and commissions, reparations and vetting.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 37
  • 40. • The establishment of effective measures 10 See, for example, Report of Diane Orentlicher, independent expert to update the Set of for refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant Principles to combat impunity, Updated Set of children in destination countries to Principles for the protection and promotion of protect those who may have been human rights through action to combat impunity, and Addendum: Updated Set of Principles for recruited or used in hostilities. the protection and promotion of human rights This includes ensuring their early through action to combat impunity, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2005/102/Add.1, 8 February 2005; and identification and providing them with UN Declaration of Basic Principles of justice for culturally and child-sensitive assistance victims of crime and abuse of power, UN Doc. for their physical and psychological A/RES/40/34, 29 November 1985. recovery and their social reintegration.• A significant increase in the number of countries that have abandoned domestic provisions that allow children to be legally recruited into the armed forces at the age of 16 or 17 and have adopted a “straight-18” standard for all forms of military recruitment.1 Quotations from two boy (15 and 17 years old) former members of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, “Returning Home – Children’s Perspectives on Reintegration: A Case Study of Children Abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Teso, Eastern Uganda”, February 2008.2 Security Council Resolution 1698 (2006).3 Call for Accelerated Action on the Implementation of the Plan of Action Towards Africa Fit for Children (2008–2012), Second Pan-African Forum on Children: Mid-Term Review, 29 October–2 November 2007, Cairo, Egypt.4 The monitoring and reporting mechanism is established in situations that feature in Annex I or II of the Secretary-General’s reports on children and armed conflict. Annex I countries (situations of armed conflict on the agenda of the Security Council) are subject to the monitoring and reporting mechanism. Annex II countries (situations of armed conflict not on the agenda of the Security Council) are only subject to it if the relevant government agrees to participate voluntarily.5 International Crisis Group, “Indonesia: Tackling Radicalism in Poso”, 22 January 2008.6 Security Council Resolutions 1314 (2000), 1325 (2000), 1379 (2001), 1460 (2003).7 See Redress Trust “Victims, Perpetrators or Heroes? Child Soldiers before the International Criminal Court”, September 2006, www.redress. org. Jean-Pierre Biyoyo subsequently escaped from prison and returned to Bukavu as part of an official DRC armed forces delegation.8 Truth Commission Act 2000, Part III (2(b)).9 See, for example, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Expert Discussion on Transitional Justice and Children, 10–12 November 2005, Background Documents and Outcome Document.38 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 41. © Jonathan HyamsFormer girl soldier, abducted by the LRA, sitting with two of her children in the army’sChild Protection Unit before being handed over to a reintegration organization, Gulu,northern Uganda, 2007CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 3
  • 42. from operations by the Taleban and other armedA FGHANI STAN groups. In 2006 more than 4,000 people were reported to have died as a result of the conflict,Afghanistan one third of them civilians.4 There was a sharp increase in 2006 in civilian deaths from insurgentPopulation: 29.9 million (15.8 million under 18) attacks, including deliberate attacks on civilianGovernment armed forces: 50,000 targets.5 President Karzai, the AfghanistanCompulsory recruitment age: no conscription Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC),Voluntary recruitment age: 18 the UN and non-governmental organizationsVoting age: 18 (NGOs) all expressed concern over civilianOptional Protocol: acceded 24 September 2003 casualties resulting from coalition forces andOther treaties ratified (see glossary): NATO/ISAF operations.6 ISAF publicly stated that civilian casualties were its single biggest failureCRC, ICC in 2006 and measures would be taken to reduceThere were anecdotal reports of under-18s them.7 There was a significant increase in suicideserving in the armed forces. There were attacks in 2006 and 2007 which were reportedreports of the use of children as suicide to have been carried out by anti-governmentbombers by anti-government elements elements, including al-Qaeda, the Taleban andincluding the Taleban, and of both forcible Hizb-e Islami. A study by UNAMA concluded that the bombers “appear to be young (sometimesand voluntary recruitment by the Taleban children), poor, uneducated, easily influencedof children in southern provinces and parts by recruiters and drawn heavily from madrasasof Pakistan. (Islamic religious schools) across the border in Pakistan”.8 There was a sharp rise in attacks on teachers,Context students and schools in the first half of 2006. InPresidential elections were held in October 2004 2006 over 200 schools were burned, attackedand Hamid Karzai was subsequently declared or partially destroyed, at least 15 teachers killedpresident. National Assembly elections were held and some 200,000 students affected by schoolin September 2005. Early in 2006 the Afghan closures.9 Although reduced from earlier levels,government and the international community there were still many attacks on schools andcommitted themselves to the Afghanistan threats to teachers and students in 2007.10Compact, a strategic framework for the rebuilding In 2006 the government launched a Nationalof Afghanistan. Close to 50,000 international Strategy for Children at Risk. Designed by thetroops remained in Afghanistan: 39,500 under Ministry of Martyrs, Disabled and Social Affairs,the NATO-led International Security Assistance with the support of UNICEF and other partners,Force (ISAF) and nearly 10,000 under the US-led it was intended to improve care for vulnerablecoalition forces.1 The UN Assistance Mission children and their families.11in Afghanistan (UNAMA) continued to providesupport to the government including on the Governmentpeace process, the implementation of theAfghanistan Compact, and human rights. National recruitment legislation and Resurgent Taleban forces challengedgovernment control in many of the southern practiceprovinces and gained full control in some Afghanistan’s declaration on acceding to thedistricts. In other areas commanders against Optional Protocol stated that “according towhom there were credible allegations of grave the Decree No. 20 dated 25 May 2003 on thehuman rights abuses and who controlled armed voluntary enrolment to the Afghan National Armymilitias became further entrenched, and some … the minimum age for recruitment of Afghanwere elected to parliament.2 Citizen to an active military service is limited by Weak government and an increase in the age of 22 to 28. All recruitments of personnelinsurgency, in particular in the southern in the Afghan National Army is voluntary and isprovinces, diverted time and resources from not forced or coerced”.12 A presidential decreedevelopment and reconstruction programs and (No. 97) issued in December 2003 amended theled to disillusionment among many Afghans, minimum age of recruitment into the ANA to 18.which was reported to have fuelled recruitment There was anecdotal evidence of the recruitmentto and support for armed groups.3 of under-18s by the ANA and unconfirmed reports There were concerns over the increasing of under-18s falsifying their identification recordsnumber of civilian casualties resulting both to join.13from operations against insurgents by coalition The minimum recruitment age for the Afghanforces and the Afghan National Army (ANA) and National Police (ANP) was 18. There were reports that ill-equipped and under-trained ANP were40 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 43. used inappropriately as a fighting force to tackle documented the cases of children aged 15 andinsurgency.14 In September 2006 a presidential 16 who had been tricked, promised money anddecree officially established the Afghan National forced into becoming suicide bombers.25Auxiliary Police (ANAP) in a scheme covering In April 2007 the Taleban released a video124 districts in 21 mainly southern and eastern of a 12-year-old boy beheading a Pakistani man A—Eprovinces. ANAP recruits were reportedly accused of spying. Asked why they used a boy, aprovided with only ten days’ training and given Taleban official was reported as saying, “We wantweapons and a salary equivalent to ordinary to tell the non-Muslims that our youngsters arepolice. Concerns were raised that the ANAP also Mujahideens [holy warriors] and fight with usscheme conferred an official status on privately against you … These youngsters will be our Holyowned and operated militias and that there were War commanders in the future and continue theinadequate command and control structures jihad for freedom. Islam allow boys and womenin place to supervise them.15 A reportedly lax to do jihad against occupying non-Muslim troopsapproach to recruitment and vetting meant that and their spies and puppets.”26it was impossible to rule out the recruitment of In 2006 it was widely reported that theunder-18s into the ANP and ANAP. There were Taleban Rule Book (issued by the Talebanreports of the “informal” recruitment of children command during Ramadan in 2006) includedby ANP commanders to perform duties in police as its Rule 19 that “Mujahideen are not allowedcheck posts in Kandahar province.16 to take young boys with no facial hair onto the battlefield or into their private quarters.”27 Children had been detained by US forcesArmed groups at Bagram airbase in the past,28 but it was notA number of armed groups were involved in possible to verify whether children continuedinsurgency including tribal factions, criminal to be detained there. There were concernsnetworks and groups ideologically opposed to at the apparent absence of any mechanismsthe government, including the Taleban and the among international and national armed forcesHizb-e Islami. Most armed groups had been to determine the age of detainees.29 Detaineesresponsible for the recruitment of child soldiers were generally transferred by NATO forces to theduring the previous period of conflict.17 National Directorate of Security (NDS) but access There were reports of both forcible and to those detainees was severely restricted.30voluntary recruitment by the Taleban of childrenin southern provinces and parts of Pakistan,18 aswell as reports of the increasing use of children Disarmament, demobilizationby the Taleban as messengers, couriers and and reintegration (DDR)fighters.19 There were unconfirmed reports thatthe Taleban had issued a statement early in A community-based demobilization and2007 claiming that they did not recruit or use reintegration program, established by UNICEF inchildren, in response to allegations by NATO collaboration with NGOs, the Ministry of Labourforces that they were using children as human and Social Affairs, and the National Commissionshields in provinces in the south. National and for Disarmament, Demobilization andinternational agencies were reportedly unable to Reintegration, which was launched in Februaryindependently verify the allegations of the use of 2004, continued to facilitate demobilizationchildren as human shields.20 through the support of the local demobilization In June 2007 it was reported that a 12-year-old and reintegration committees in their respectiveboy wearing an explosive vest had been picked communities. As of June 2007 reintegrationup by ISAF forces in Ghazni province. He had support was being provided in 29 provinces to areportedly been instructed by armed insurgents total of 12,590 war-affected and at-risk children,to target an ISAF patrol in the area.21 In the same including 5,042 former child soldiers, combiningmonth ISAF claimed to have defused an explosive information education, skills training, life skillsvest placed on a six-year-old who had been told and psychosocial support.31to attack army forces in Ghazni province.22 Inresponse, a Taleban spokesman denied the use Developmentsof child soldiers, saying it was against Islamicand humanitarian law and that the report was At a February 2007 ministerial meeting in Paris,propaganda.23 In July 2007 it was reported that Afghanistan and 58 other states endorsed thea 14-year-old boy from Pakistan was detained Paris Commitments to protect children fromwearing an explosive vest to target a provincial unlawful recruitment or use by armed forcesgovernor of Khost province. He claimed to have or armed groups and the Paris Principles andbeen forced at gunpoint by the Taleban, while guidelines on children associated with armedat a madrasa in Pakistan, to put on the vest and forces or armed groups. The documentsattack the governor. He was publicly pardoned reaffirmed international standards andby President Karzai and reportedly returned to operational principles for protecting and assistingPakistan.24 A study by UNAMA of suicide attacks child soldiers and followed a wide-ranging globalCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 41
  • 44. consultation jointly sponsored by the French 25 UNAMA, above note 8, refers to the cases ofgovernment and UNICEF. Amir, aged 15, and Ghulam, aged 16, who were interviewed by UNAMA staff in detention, held on charges of involvement in suicide attacks.1 Report of the UN Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications 26 “Taliban video of boy executioner causes anger”, for international peace and security, UN Doc. Reuters, 26 April 2007, at A/62/345-S2007/555, 21 September 2007. 27 Henry Schuster, “The Taliban’s rules”, CNN,2 International Crisis Group (ICG), Afghanistan’s 7 December 2006. New Legislature: Making Democracy Work, Asia 28 See, for example, Amnesty International Report No. 116, 15 May 2006, www.crisisgroup. (AI), USA: Human dignity denied: Torture org. and accountability in the war on terror (AMR3 ICG, Afghanistan’s Endangered Compact, Asia 51/145/2004), 27 October 2004. Briefing No. 59, 29 January 2007. 29 Confidential source, September 2007.4 Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human 30 The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Rights on the situation of human rights in Commission (AIHRC) and five countries Afghanistan, UN Doc. A/HRC/4/98, 5 March contributing troops to NATO forces (Canada, 2007. Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and the5 Human Rights Watch (HRW), The Human United Kingdom), were party to memorandums Cost: Consequences of Insurgent Attacks in of understanding which ensured that a list Afghanistan, April 2007. of detainees handed over to the National Directorate of Security (NDS) would be provided6 See, for example, Report of the High to the AIHRC. However, as of September 2007 Commissioner for Human Rights, above note these lists did not contain information about 4, and “Backlash from Afghan Civilian Deaths”, the age of the detainees. AIHRC access to NDS Time, 23 June 2007. detainees was limited. Confidential source,7 Report of the Secretary-General on the September 2007. situation in Afghanistan and its implications 31 Confidential source, August 2007. for international peace and security, UN Doc. A/61/799–S/2007/152, 15 March 2007.8 UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan (2001–2007), September 2007, Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, above note 4.10 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 1.11 US Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2006.12 Declaration on accession to the Optional Protocol, US Department of State, above note 11.14 ICG, Reforming Afghanistan’s Police, Asia Report No. 138, 30 August 2007.15 Ibid.16 Confidential source.17 UNICEF, Rapid Assessment on the Situation of Child Soldiers in Afghanistan, July 2003, cited in Child Soldiers: Global Report 2004.18 “Afghanistan: Civilians paying the price in Taliban conflict”, IRIN, 16 July 2007; “Recruiting Taleban ‘child soldiers’”, BBC News, 12 June 2007.19 Confidential source.20 Confidential source, August 2007.21 Confidential source, June 2007.22 “Nato accuses Taliban of using children in suicide missions”, Guardian, 23 June 2007.23 “Six-Year-Old Afghan Boy Foils Taliban Plot to Use Him in Suicide Attack on Americans”, Associated Press, 25 June 2007.24 “Boy forced by Taliban to become would-be bomber is pardoned”, Guardian, 16 July 2007.42 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 45. London stated that the Optional Protocol on theA LBANIA involvement of children in armed conflict was under evaluation and that Albania would “soon”Republic of Albania adhere to it.7 However, by October 2007 Albania had not yet done so. A—EPopulation: 3.1 million (1.0 million under 18)Government armed forces: 11,000 1 Communication from embassy of Albania,Compulsory recruitment age: 19 London, 10 April 2007.Voluntary recruitment age: 18 2 Law No. 9487 of 6 March 2006, Article 1, www.Voting age: 18 Protocol: not signed 3 Communication from embassy of Albania,Other treaties ratified (see glossary): London, June 2004.CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 4 Ministry of Defence, 5 Communication from embassy, above note 3.There were no reports of under-18s serving 6 Committee on the Rights of the Child,in the armed forces. Consideration of report submitted by Albania, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/ Add.249, 31 March 2005.Government 7 Communication from embassy, above note 1.National recruitment legislation andpracticeThe constitution required all citizens toparticipate in the defence of the state.Conscientious objectors were required to performalternative service (Article 166). Under the 2003 Law on Military Service inthe Republic of Albania, the minimum age formilitary duty was 19 although in cases of generalor partial mobilization by law or by presidentialdecree the age could be lowered to 18. Thelength of duty was 12 months or only one monthfor university graduates.1 Under a law passed in2006, university graduates were exempted fromcompulsory service.2 The minimum age for voluntary service was18.3Military training and military schoolsMilitary training was offered at the Academy ofDefence “Spiro Moisiu”, the Military University“Skenderbej”, and an academy for non-commissioned officers. The Academy of Defencewas the armed forces’ highest military teachingand scientific institution, and trained militaryleaders for all levels of command in the threearmed services.4 There was no military training within thegeneral education system, and no dedicatedmilitary educational establishment for under-18s or youth organizations with a militaryorientation.5DevelopmentsInternational standardsIn January 2005 the Albanian delegation informedthe UN Committee on the Rights of the Childof Albania’s intention to ratify the OptionalProtocols, and the Committee urged Albania todo so.6 In April 2007 the Albanian embassy inCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 43
  • 46. A LGERIA Government National recruitment legislation andPeople’s Democratic Republic of Algeria practicePopulation: 32.9 million (12.0 million under 18) The legal basis for conscription into the regularGovernment armed forces: 137,500 armed forces remained the National ServiceCompulsory recruitment age: 19 Code. Algerian men were liable for 18 months’Voluntary recruitment age: unclear compulsory conscription between the ages of 19Voting age: 18 and 30, and an additional six months’ service asOptional Protocol: not signed a reservist up to the age of 50. Some 375,000Other treaties ratified (see glossary): young men were estimated as reaching militaryCRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWC service age annually.7 Evading conscription was punishable by a five-year prison sentenceAlthough the voluntary recruitment age in accordance with Article 254 of the Algerian Military Justice Code.8remained unclear, children did not appear The minimum age for voluntary recruitmentto have been recruited into government into the armed forces or paramilitary forces wasarmed forces. unclear.9Context Armed groupsAlgeria continued to be affected by the legacy of Paramilitaries and militiasviolent internal conflict of the 1990s which, by As part of its National Reconciliation initiativethe end of 2006, had claimed over 200,000 lives. the government began dismantling government-A process of National Reconciliation was under allied paramilitary groups and local militias. Inway, under which the government introduced May 2004 the Algerian government endorsed theamnesty measures, exemptions and impunity demobilizing of half the 300,000 members of thefor past human rights abuses by government Legitimate Defence Force (GLD), the self-defenceforces and former armed group members.1 militias established in 1997 under ExecutiveFighting between armed groups and government Decree.10security forces persisted and violence continuedthroughout 2007.2 The government continued its Armed opposition groupsmilitary campaign against armed groups which itclaimed were aligned with al-Qaeda, and carried In May 2007 the purported leader of al-Qaedaout search operations in which alleged armed in the Islamic Maghreb released a recordedgroup members were killed. There were concerns statement urging the youth of Algeria to jointhat women and children related to armed group “the growing rank of martyrs”.11 It was not knownmembers were also killed.3 whether armed groups recruited or used under- The Salafist Group for Preaching and 18s.Combat (Groupe Salafiste de Predication et deCombat, GSPC), an offshoot of the now defunct DevelopmentsArmed Islamic Group (Groupe islamique armé,GIA), announced in September 2006 that it In October 2005 the UN Committee on the Rightshad joined forces with al-Qaeda and at the of the Child expressed serious concern over thestart of 2007 officially renamed itself as the alleged cases of persons under 18 years of ageal-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb. being used by government-allied paramilitaryThis was accompanied by increased attacks forces and armed political groups, and overagainst commercial and military targets in deficiencies in the birth registration system for2007.4 Following the April 2007 suicide bomb children belonging to nomadic minorities. Theattacks claimed by the GSPC in Algiers, in which Committee expressed deep concern over thesome 30 people were killed, an estimated 80 situation of Western Saharan children living inAlgerian men, many of whom were thought to refugee camps in Algeria.12have received training in Iraq, were arrested by A bill on child protection (Code de protectionAlgerian authorities.5 de l’enfant) was introduced and was expected According to press reports, there were to harmonize existing laws pertaining to theincidents in 2006 involving the kidnapping and protection and promotion of child rights.13rape of girls by armed groups. In May 2006 thebodies of 22 children were found in the province 1 “Algeria”, Amnesty International Report 2007.of Jijel. They were alleged to have been used as 2 “Algeria violence death toll jumps in Septemberhuman shields by the GSPC.6 – reports”, Reuters, 1 October 2007. 3 “Algeria”, above note 1.44 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 47. 4 “Al Qaeda: profile in north Africa”, BBC News, 11 December 2007; “Violence ahead of Algeria AND O R R A polls”, BBC News, 14 May 2007.5 “Echoes of past as Algeria probes Iraq bomb Principality of Andorra link”, Reuters, 25 April 2007. A—E Population: 67,000 (12,000 under 18)6 US State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Algeria, 6 March 2007, http:// Government armed forces: none Compulsory recruitment age: not applicable7 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), “Algeria”, World Voluntary recruitment age: not applicable Factbook 2007, Voting age: 188 UK Home Office, Border and Immigration Agency, Optional Protocol: ratified 30 April 2001 Country of Origin Information Report, Algeria, 2 Other treaties ratified (see glossary): November 2007, CRC, ICC9 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of report submitted by Algeria, The defence of Andorra was the Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/ responsibility of France and Spain; Andorra Add.269, 12 October 2005. had no armed forces.10 Hugh Roberts, Demilitarizing Algeria, Carnegie Paper No. 86, Carnegie Endowment, May 2007, Government11 “Algeria bombing video released”, Al Jazeera, 8 May 2007, National recruitment legislation and12 Concluding observations, above note 9. practice13 Ibid. Andorra had no armed forces; neighbouring France and Spain had responsibility for its defence.1 There was no possibility that Andorran citizens would be recruited into the French or Spanish armed forces.2 Only the Andorran police and customs services were authorized to carry arms, and the minimum ages for recruitment into these services were 19 and 18 respectively. A special unit of forest wardens employed by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment, who on occasion provided back-up for the police and the fire brigade, was also permitted to carry weapons in strictly limited circumstances. Those recruited to serve as forest wardens were between the ages of 18 and 35.3 Developments Following its examination in January 2006 of Andorra’s initial report on the Optional Protocol, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that the Andorran government adopt provisions that would allow extraterritorial jurisdiction for the crime of conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 into the armed forces or armed groups, or compelling their active participation in hostilities.4 1 UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Country Profile: Andorra, 2 Report of the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child/Liaison Unit, Child Rights Information Network, 3 Initial report of Andorra to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Optional Protocol, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/AND/1, 14 July 2005. 4 Report of the NGO Group, above note 2.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 4
  • 48. into the armed forces.7 Political and militaryA N GOL A tension continued and in May 2007 sporadic small-scale attacks by FLEC forces that hadRepublic of Angola remained active increased.8 On 1 August 2007 they changed their name to the Liberation FrontPopulation: 15.9 million (8.5 million under 18) of the State (as opposed to ‘Enclave’) of Cabinda.Government armed forces: 107,000Compulsory recruitment age: 20Voluntary recruitment age: 18 for men, 20 for Governmentwomen National recruitment legislation andVoting age: 18 practiceOptional Protocol: acceded 11 October 2007 Under the constitution it was the right andOther treaties ratified (see glossary): highest duty of every citizen to defend theCRC, GC AP I, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWC country, military service was compulsory, and the manner in which it was fulfilled was establishedChild soldiers were used extensively by law. Under Law 1/93, military service wasduring the 27-year civil war by both compulsory for all men aged between 20 andgovernment armed forces and the armed 45. Women over 20 could also volunteer to join.opposition group UNITA (União Nacional Recruitment started at 18, with registration underpara a Independência Total de Angola, the military census. Those who failed to register were subject to unspecified sanctions, which inNational Union for the Total Independence practice amounted to the payment of fines.of Angola), and were also used by the Under Article 8.3 of Law 1/93, the Nationalarmed separatist Cabinda Liberation Assembly was empowered to decree theFront (Frente de Liberação do Enclave de military call-up of citizens from the age of 18 in the case of a national emergency and at theCabinda, FLEC). There were no reports of request of the Council of Ministers. The lawunder-18s currently being recruited into also stipulated that military service was for twothe armed forces. years, but the National Assembly could extend or reduce the term by a year if needed and if “conditions of service permit”. The law providedContext for conscientious objectors to perform civilianStability increased following the April 2002 service. Decree No. 40/96 of 13 December 1996,signing of the Luena Peace Accords by the on the application of military service, establishedgovernment and UNITA. An estimated 4.5 million a minimum age of 18 for the voluntarypeople were internally displaced during the recruitment of men.conflict and some 450,000 fled to neighbouring Recruitment into the armed forces wascountries.1 By December 2006 a UN refugee suspended during 2002 and 2003 but resumedrepatriation program had resulted in the return in 2004.9 Former child soldiers were exempt fromof over 400,000 refugees,2 but an estimated compulsory military service, although they could100,000 people remained internally displaced.3 still be recruited on a voluntary basis.10 Low-intensity fighting continued in the oil-richprovince of Cabinda between government forces Child recruitment and deploymentand armed factions of the FLEC.4 In August 2004 From late 2002 there were no reports of childrenFLEC-FAC (Forças Armadas de Cabinda, Cabindan being recruited into the armed forces or beingArmed Forces) and FLEC-Renovada (Renewed) used by the armed forces in the fighting inmerged, and with the Catholic Church and civil Cabinda.11society groups formed the Cabindan Forumfor Dialogue (Forum Cabindés para o Diálogo,FCD). FCD-led negotiations with the government Armed groupsresulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Both FLEC-FAC and FLEC-Renovada had recruitedUnderstanding for Peace and Reconciliation for children during the war, some as young as eight,the province of Cabinda in August 2006. However, and at least 30 per cent of them were girls.12 Morethe agreement was rejected by a majority of the recent information on the recruitment of childrengroups in the FCD.5 by FLEC was not available. The memorandum provided for specialstatus for Cabinda and an amnesty for militarycrimes and crimes against the security of the Disarmament, demobilizationstate committed in the context of the armed and reintegration (DDR)conflict in that province.6 It also provided for thedemobilization and integration of FLEC troops The demobilization and reintegration of former UNITA fighters was completed by December46 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 49. 2005, by which time almost 100,000 combatants Angolan authorities denied the reports, buthad been demobilized. Thousands benefited from confirmed that the government had agreed to agovernment programs of social reintegration, request by the DRC to help train its police andparticularly in agricultural projects. In March army.222007, 30,000 soldiers in the armed forces were A—Ealso demobilized. 13 In total, around 300,000government and former UNITA soldiers had been International standardsdemobilized since the first peace agreement of Angola acceded to the Optional Protocol on theMay 1991.14 involvement of children in armed conflict on 11 The quartering (provision of lodgings) of FLEC October 2007. The accompanying declarationsoldiers was declared completed in November stated that “the inclusion of persons in the2006 with the cantonment and disarming of Angolan Army, as appropriate, is done upon theirbetween 500 and 1,800 soldiers.15 There were reaching 20 years of age, and the minimum ageno reports that child soldiers were among them. for voluntary enlistment is 18 years”.23Ammunition and hundreds of weapons weredecommissioned and destroyed in January 1 World Bank, “Angola: Emergency Demobilization2007 when FLEC’s military organization was and Reintegration Project, February 2003”,formally dismantled. Of its members, 615 were Report No. PID 11534, www into the Angolan armed forces, 113 2 Embassy of the Republic of Angola in the Unitedjoined the Angolan National Police and 131 were Kingdom, Angola News, No. 120, Decembereither retired or returned to civilian life.16 No 2006–January 2007.information was provided on specific packages 3 US State Department, Country Reports on Humanfor the social reintegration of those demobilized. Rights Practices, Angola – 2006, Bureau of The “Post-war Child Protection Strategy” Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, 6 Marchadopted by the government in 2002 ended in 2007.2006. The program involved the reintegration into 4 Human Rights Watch (HRW), “Angola”, Humansociety of more than 3,000 children, including Rights Watch World Report 2005.former child soldiers. The children received skills 5 Semánario Angolense, 4 September, assistance with civil registration andaccess to social assistance.17 6 Ibinda, 26 October 2006, Despite attempts by the police to collect 7 Amnesty International Report 2007.weapons left over from the war, the number 8 Jornal Apostolado, 30 July 2007.of weapons in civilian hands as of March 2006 9 Order issued by the Minister of Defence, read onwas estimated at between 2.5 and 4 million.18 Rádio Nacional de Angola on 5 January 2004 andLandmines remained a threat, particularly to quoted by the BBC.children, who continued to be killed and maimed, 10 Minister of Social Welfare, Mesa Redonda sobrealbeit to a lesser extent in recent years. Non- os desafíos da Protecção da Crianza, no Processogovernmental organizations working on mine de Reintegração, 7 March 2003.clearance estimated that there were 500,000 11 HRW, Forgotten Fighters: Child Soldiers inlandmines still to clear.19 On 31 May 2007 the Angola, April 2003.government announced that it had completed the 12 Institute of Security Studies, Country Profiles:destruction of its 83,557 stockpiled landmines in Angola, 8 November 2002, with the Ottawa Convention.20 13 Jornal de Angola, 8 December 2005; Agora, 24 March 2007; and Angola News, above note 2, No.Developments 123, April 2007. 14 A Capital, 28 April–5 May 2007.Angola presented its initial report to the UNCommittee on the Rights of the Child on 4 June 15 Figures vary. For instance, Jornal de Angola, 52004. In considering the report, the Committee October and 11 November 2006, and Angolawelcomed Angola’s efforts to strengthen the Press Agency, 10 November 2006, refer to 500 soldiers. Another report by Jornal de Angola onprotection of children’s rights. It also welcomed 28 November 2006 refers to 1,804 soldiers.the ratification in 2001 of the ILO Minimum AgeConvention 138 and the ILO Worst Forms of 16 Angola News, above note 2, No. 120, DecemberChild Labour Convention 182 and of the African 2006–January 2007.Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child 17 Confidential source, February July 2003. The Committee expressed concern 18 IRIN, 13 March 2006, quoting the Pretoria-basedabout the inadequate attention given to the Institute of Security Studies.plight of child soldiers, especially girls, in the 19 US State Department, Country Reports oncontext of the disarmament, demobilization and Human Rights Practices, Angola – 2005, Bureaureintegration of combatants.21 of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, 8 In June 2004 it was widely reported that March 2006; Initial report of Angola to the UNAngolan troops had been deployed in the Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc.Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The CRC/C/3/Add.66, 10 August 2004.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 47
  • 50. 20 Angola News, above note 2, No. 120, December 2006–January 2007; EFE (Spanish Press Agency), ANTIG UA A N D 31 May 2007.21 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of report submitted by Angola, BARB U DA Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/ Add.246, 1 October 2004. Antigua and Barbuda22 Radio France Internationale (RFI) on 8 June 2004, Population: 81,000 (27,000 under 18) quoted by the BBC; AFP, 25 June 2004. Government armed forces: 17023 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription of the Child on the involvement of children in (see text) armed conflict, Voluntary recruitment age: 18 Voting age: 18 Optional Protocol: not signed Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 There were no reports of under-18s in the armed forces. Government National recruitment legislation and practice There was no conscription into the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force, and no legal basis for compulsory military service during states of emergency.1 Under the 1981 Defence Act, nobody under the age of 18 could be enlisted into the regular armed forces, but the Governor-General had powers to call up men for national service and to set the age at which they could be called up.2 The 1981 Act was amended by the Defence Act 2003, No. 10 of 2006.3 Military training and military schools The armed forces managed National Cadet Corps units in secondary-schools, providing physical training, basic military skills, discipline and academic and technical guidance, and promoting national service and patriotism. The government announced in September 2006 that it was considering making enrolment in the corps compulsory for every student in the first and second years of secondary-school.4 Developments In November 2004 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Antigua and Barbuda ratify the Optional Protocol.5 1 1967 Emergency Powers Act, Chapter 147, www. 2 1981 Defence Act, Chapter 132, Sections 15(2) and 161. 3 International Labour Organization, (natlex database).48 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 51. 4 Prime Minister W. Baldwin Spencer, speech at the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force 25th ARG E N T I N A Anniversary Banquet, 2 September 2006, www. Argentine Republic5 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, A—E Consideration of initial report submitted by Population: 38.7 million (12.3 million under 18) Antigua and Barbuda, Concluding observations, Government armed forces: 71,700 UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.247, 3 November 2004. Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription (see text) Voluntary recruitment age: 18 Voting age: 18 Optional Protocol: ratified 10 September 2002 Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 There were no reports of under-18s in the armed forces. Government National recruitment legislation and practice Compulsory military service had been replaced by voluntary enrolment in 1994, although the government retained powers to restore conscription in an emergency.1 Volunteers to the armed forces were on renewable two-year contracts.2 They had to be 18–24 years old and to have seven years of basic education. Those under 21 were required to have parental consent.3 If the number of volunteers failed to meet the quota of recruits for a particular year, Congress could authorize the conscription for up to 12 months of citizens who turned 18 that year.4 In such circumstances, conscientious objectors could carry out an alternative form of social service. In an armed conflict, the whole population had to support the war effort with non-military service.5 In June 2006, Decree 727 regulating the National Defence Law established a clearer line of civilian command over the armed forces and in the development of defence policies.6 The armed forces could respond to external threats only and were excluded from internal security operations related to drug trafficking and terrorism. Military training and military schools Each branch of the armed forces had its own primary, secondary and training schools. The army had seven primary and secondary-schools around the country, which offered the national curriculum as well as military instruction.7 Candidates for officer training at the National Military College had to have completed secondary education and were usually about 17 or 18 years old. They needed parental consent if they were under 21. Women could take courses that included artillery, engineering,CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 4
  • 52. communications and logistics. Students were 12 Comando de Educacion y doctrina, www.coedoc.allowed to leave the college without penalty.8; see also Global Report 2004, Candidates to the Military Aviation School above note 6.had to be aged 16–22 and to have completedtheir secondary education. Officers graduatedafter four years as second lieutenants (alférez).9 Those seeking to enrol at the Military NavalSchool had to be at least in their final secondaryschool year (typically aged 17) and have parentalconsent if under 21.10 Candidates to the non-commissioned officers’air force school had to be aged 16–22, haveparental consent if under 21 and have completedtheir secondary education. Graduates receivedthe rank of corporal (cabo) after two years’training.11 Boys and girls aged 11–15 could enrol inmilitary high schools (liceos militares) run by thearmed forces. The schools provided a generaleducation, with military instruction for studentsin their last two years.12DevelopmentsIn October 2007 Argentina endorsed the ParisCommitments to protect children from unlawfulrecruitment or use by armed forces or armedgroups and the Paris Principles and guidelineson children associated with armed forces orarmed groups. The two documents, which werepreviously endorsed by 59 states at a February2007 ministerial meeting in Paris, reaffirmedinternational standards and operationalprinciples for the protection of and assistance tochild soldiers, following a wide-ranging globalconsultation jointly sponsored by the Frenchgovernment and UNICEF.1 Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Programa Seguridad y Ciudadanía, Reporte del Sector Seguridad en América Latina y el Caribe, Informe Nacional: Argentina, August 2006, FLACSO, above note 1.3 Ejército Argentino, Servicio Militar Voluntario, Soldado voluntario, Ley del Servicio Militar Voluntario, No. 24429, Articles 19, 20 and 21.5 Ley de Defensa Nacional, No. 23554.6 FLACSO, above note 1; see also Child Soldiers: Global Report 20047 FLACSO, above note 1.8 Colegio Militar de la Nación, Preguntas frecuentes, Escuela de Aviación Militar, Incorporacion y educacion, Escuela Naval Militar, Escuela de Suboficiales de la Fuerza Aérea, Información General, Condiciones y Programas de Ingreso, CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 53. the judge who ordered their release was removedA RMENIA from his post.6 The three soldiers submitted an application to the European Court of HumanRepublic of Armenia Rights, complaining of ill-treatment during questioning and unlawful detention. The Court’s A—EPopulation: 3.0 million (819,000 under 18) decision as to the admissibility of the case wasGovernment armed forces: 43,600 still under consideration at the end of OctoberCompulsory recruitment age: 18 2007.7Voluntary recruitment age: 18; 16–17 as a cadet The Law on Alternative Service, which gaveVoting age: 18 legal recognition to conscientious objection,Optional Protocol: ratified 30 September 2005 entered into force in July 2004.8 A governmentOther treaties ratified (see glossary): order of 9 July 2006 made available just 45 places for alternative service and a further 300 non-CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182 armed military positions.9 Many conscientiousThere were no reports of under-18s on objectors, mainly Jehovah’s Witnesses, refused to enlist for alternative service on the groundsactive duty in the armed forces, but cadets adets that it was controlled by the military and not aunder 18 in military higher education were fully civilian alternative.10 In 2006, 40 Jehovah’sconsidered to be military personnel. Under . Witnesses were convicted for their refusal to doa pilot scheme children as young as 11 military service and by May 2007 over 70 were in prison.11received weapons training in school. The army of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), which was not internationally recognizedContext as an independent state, was estimated at 18,500–20,000, of whom over half wereNegotiations with Azerbaijan continued under reportedly citizens of Armenia and includedthe auspices of the Organization for Security and Armenian army conscripts.12Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to end the disputeover the status of the enclave of Nagorno- Military training and military schoolsKarabakh.1 The government insisted that the Military training was compulsory for school ilitarypeople in the enclave had to be guaranteed the students aged about 16–18. Boys and girls inright to exist within safe borders and that a link grades 8 and 9 in weekly classes learned how towith Armenia had to be maintained.2 handle automatic weapons. Girls could begin a nursing course from grade 9.13Government In 2006 in one school in a poor suburb of Yerevan, the capital, military training startedNational recruitment legislation and much earlier. A class of 18 boys and six girlspractice aged 11 and 12, many of whom were orphans, were chosen to pilot military training for pre-Military service was regulated by the 1998 Law on adolescents, with the stated aim of improvingMilitary Duty and the 2002 Law on Performance school discipline. They were taught by a formerof Military Service. Conscription was provided for paratrooper to march, handle automatic weaponsin the constitution. The 1998 Law on Military Duty and use combat skills. The Ministry of Education .(Article 11.1) stated that male citizens between and Science reportedly planned to extendthe ages of 18 and 27 were liable for call-up the course to 11 other “special schools” within peacetime. In 2005 the law was amended disadvantaged pupils around the country, andto oblige graduates of military educational to allow children who wanted military careers toinstitutions to sign up for professional military transfer to those schools.14service or else to refund the costs of their Military training after secondary-school waseducation.3 provided through officer training at the Vazgen There were reports of physical and mental Sarkizyan Military Institute, the Military Aviationabuse, murder and rape of army conscripts.4 Institute, and the Military Medical Faculty ofThree soldiers who in 2005 had been convicted Yerevan Medical University. Cadets could beof killing two fellow conscripts in December accepted for military higher education from the2003 had their sentences increased in May year they turned 17. During their studies, they2006 from 15 years’ to life imprisonment by the were considered to be military personnel, withCourt of Appeal. One of them stated that military all the corresponding rights and duties.15 Theinvestigators beat him and threatened him with inclusion of under-18s among this group was notrape, coercing him into signing a confession in explicitly mentioned in Armenia’s declaration onwhich he named the two others as accomplices.5 ratifying the Optional Protocol.The three, who had consistently maintainedtheir innocence, were released by the Court ofCassation in December 2006. Shortly afterwardsCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 1
  • 54. Developments AUST R A L I AInternational standards AustraliaArmenia ratified the Optional Protocol inSeptember 2005, stating in its declaration that Population: 20.2 million (4.8 million under 18)under Armenian law citizens under 18 could not Government armed forces: 51,600be called on for either obligatory or contractual Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription(voluntary) military service.16 Voluntary recruitment age: 17 In January 2006 Armenia ratified the ILO Voting age: 18Minimum Age Convention 138 and the ILO Worst Optional Protocol: ratified 26 September 2006Forms of Child Labour Convention 182. Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 182* Titles of non-English-language sources have beentranslated by the Coalition. As of mid-2007, there were nearly 5001 “Armenian, Azerbaijan Envoys Meet over Armenian, Nagorno-Karabakh”, Radio Free Europe/Radio under-18s serving in the armed forces, Liberty (RFE/RL), 14 March 2007, including girls.2 Armenia Country Profile, BBC News, 4 March 2007. Context3 Confidential sources, April 2007.4 “Violence in the Ranks: Army conscript says Violence Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel he was raped by comrades”, ArmeniaNow, 17 participated in a major government crackdown, February 2006, which included forced medical examinations for children, on reported widespread child abuse5 Human Rights Watch World Report 2007. among Aboriginal communities in 2007. This6 Gayane Abrahamyan, “Free at last: struggle to in turn prompted fears among the community prove soldiers’ innocence ends with surprise members of a return to former assimilation victory in court”, ArmeniaNow, 12 January 2007. policies that saw a “stolen generation” of7 Arayik Zalyan, Razmik Sargsyan and Musa children forcibly removed and placed with non- Serobyan v. Armenia (Application Nos 36894/04 Aboriginal families.1 and 3521/07), European Court of Human Rights, In July 2005 the government abandoned admissibility hearing 11 October 2007, www.echr. its policy of detaining child asylum seekers in high-security facilities, but unaccompanied8 Marc Stolwijk, The Right to Conscientious children continued to be detained under guard, Objection in Europe: A Review of the Current and criticism of the government’s asylum and Situation, Quaker Council for European Affairs, immigration policies continued.2 April 2005, Confidential sources, above note 3.10 Emil Danielyan, “New alternative service falls flat Government in Armenia”, Eurasianet, 10 March 2006, www. National recruitment legislation11 International Helsinki Federation, Human and practice Rights in the OSCE Region: Armenia, 27 March There was no conscription in Australia, but the 2007, (IHF reports); Felix Corley, 1903 Defence Act allowed for its introduction in “Armenia, 72 religious prisoners of conscience time of war by a proclamation approved by both is new record”, Forum 18 News Service, 2 May houses of parliament (Section 60). The minimum 2007, conscription age was specified as 18 (Section12 International Crisis Group (ICG), Nagorno- 59). The legal basis for voluntary recruitment Karabakh: Viewing the Conflict from the Ground, was provided by the Defence Act (Article 34), the Europe Report No. 166, 14 September 2005, www. Naval Defence Act 1910 (Article 24) and the 1923 Air Force Act (Article 4E).313 Confidential sources, above note 3. The Defence Instructions of 2005 specified 1714 Gegham Vardanian, “Armenian pupils march to as the minimum voluntary recruitment age for all new step”, Institute for War and Peace Reporting three armed forces (Article 4). However, children (IWPR), 20 July 2006,; Armenian could apply to join the armed forces at 16 years Helsinki Federation, above note 11. and 6 months. Children from the age of ten were15 “Armenian National Army – 15 years old”, encouraged to register their details with an Respublika Armeniya, 31 January 2007, online service that could put them in contact with armed forces recruitment officers. The Defence16 Declaration on accession to the Optional Instructions stated that all personnel wishing to Protocol, join the armed forces had to present an original2 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 55. or certified copy of their birth certificate to their to cadet schemes, “members of which are notrecruiting officer (Article 5) and that all under-18s recruited into, and are therefore not members of,had to have the written informed consent of their the ADF”.9parents or guardians (Article 6). All applicants The Australian Defence Force Cadetswishing to join the armed forces had to be fully describes itself as a “community-based youth A—Einformed of the nature of their future duties and development organization” of 22,000 cadetsresponsibilities (Article 7), and the recruitment of and 2,100 cadet staff in 475 units and squadronsall children had to be genuinely voluntary (Article across Australia, funded by the government8).4 through the Department of Defence. The The Defence Instructions stated that the minimum age of recruitment is 12 years and 6armed forces had to take “all feasible measures” months for navy and army cadets, and 13 forto ensure that under-18s did not participate in air force cadets. Training included weaponshostilities (Article 10), and outlined a number handling. The cadet force was considered a pathof limited safeguards, including that under-18s to a defence career, and “a safe and fun military-should not be deployed in areas of operations like experience”.10where there was a likelihood of hostile action“to the maximum extent possible, and where Child recruitment and deploymentit will not adversely impact on the conduct of As of 27 July 2007, there were a total of 486operations” (Article 11). However, a commander under-18s serving in the armed forces, includingwas not obliged to remove an under-18 from 62 girls. The government stated that it had nodirect participation in hostilities in certain record of children being deployed into areas ofcircumstances, including “where it would operations.11prejudice the effectiveness of the mission”(Article 13).5 Australia’s declaration on ratification of Disarmament, demobilization,the Optional Protocol in 2006 stated that theminimum age of voluntary recruitment was 17; and reintegration (DDR)that proper documentation of age and informed The government was providing Australianconsent of parents or guardians of under-18s $200,000 to help UNICEF and the UN Specialwere required; that all applicants be fully Representative for Children and Armed Conflictinformed of their duties and responsibilities; and undertake the ten-year strategic review of thethat recruiting officers had to be satisfied that 1996 Machel study, “The Impact of Armed Conflictapplications for enlistment of under-18s were on on Children”.12a “genuinely voluntary basis”.6 Following ratification of the Optional Protocol,the Criminal Code Act (1995) was amended in Developments2007 to provide for a series of criminal penalties International standardsfor individuals who used, conscripted or enlistedchildren under the age of 15 into the national Australia ratified the Optional Protocol inarmed forces or under the age of 18 into a force September 2006, the Rome Statute of theor group other than the national armed forces International Criminal Court in July 2002 and ILOin both international or non-international armed Convention 182 in December 2006.13conflicts.7 In October 2005 the Defence Force 1 Reuters, “Australia’s Aborigines fear losingOmbudsman released the report from his children”, 26 June 2007.investigation into the management and 2 Children out of Detention,;administration of under-age personnel in the Mary Crock, Seeking Asylum Alone: Australia,armed forces. It included a recommendation that Harvard, 2006, forces undertake an analysis of the costs 3 Commonwealth of Australia Law, www.comlaw.and benefits of accepting children for enlistment the ADF, with a view to determining whether 4 Department of Defence, “Recruitment andthe enlistment age should be raised to 18 years. employment of members under 18 years in theThe Defence Department disagreed with the Australian Defence Force”, Defence Instructionsrecommendation, claiming that to raise the (General), 4 July 2005; “Underage candidates”;minimum age would “severely restrict the quality “Recruitment and employment of membersand quantity of recruits”.8 under 18 years in the Australian Defence Force”, Defence Instructions (General), 4 July 2005; all atMilitary training and military schools its declaration on ratification of the Optional 5 Department of Defence, “Recruitment andProtocol in 2006, Australia stated that the employment of members under 18 years in theminimum voluntary recruitment age of 17 did Australian Defence Force”, above note 4.not apply to military schools. Nor did it apply 6 Declaration on ratification of the Optional Protocol, SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 3
  • 56. 7 Commonwealth of Australia Law, above note 3.8 Commonwealth and Defence Force Ombudsman, AUST R I A “Australian Defence Force: management of service personnel under the age of 18 years”, Republic of Austria October 2005, Declaration, above note 6. Population: 8.2 million (1.6 million under 18)10 Department of Defence, Defence Force Cadets, Government armed forces: 39,600 Compulsory recruitment age: 1811 Child Soldiers Coalition correspondence with Voluntary recruitment age: 17 (training only) Ministry of Defence, October 2007. Voting age: 1812 Ibid. Optional Protocol: ratified 1 February 200213 Ratification of the Optional Protocol, above note Other treaties ratified (see glossary): 6; ICC Assembly of States Parties, www.icc-cpi. CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, IL0 182 int/; International Labour Standards, (ilolex database). Voluntary recruitment was allowed for 17-year-olds. The precise number of under- 18s in the armed forces was not available. Legislation ruled out the participation of under-18s in active service. Government National recruitment legislation and practice The constitution and the 1990 National Defence Act provided the basis for compulsory military service.1 According to the National Defence Act, all Austrian men were required to register for compulsory military service during the calendar year in which they became 18. Recruitment orders could not be served earlier than six months following the decision on fitness for service by a recruitment commission. The National Defence Act also allowed for voluntary recruitment to the Austrian armed forces at the age of 17 – although the explicit consent of parents or guardians was required. Volunteers under 18 could enter the armed forces for training purposes only, and any deployment overseas of 17-year-olds was prohibited. The Act on Dispatching of Soldiers for Assistance Abroad allowed for voluntary requests for international deployment to be made only at the age of 19. According to a 2003 National Defence Act amendment, women could volunteer for military training and “functional services” in the armed forces, but were prohibited from participation in armed conflict.2 The length of ordinary military service was currently six months. Precise figures on the number of volunteers under the age of 18 currently serving in the armed forces were unavailable, but the current figure was believed to be very low.3 A 2001 amendment to the National Defence Act explicitly banned “the direct participation of persons under the age of 18 in direct hostilities”. According to the Austrian government, “the term ‘direct participation’ is interpreted in a restrictive manner and does not include acts such as gathering and transmission of military4 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 57. information, transportation of arms and groups and the Paris Principles and guidelines onmunitions, provision of supplies, etc.”.4 children associated with armed forces or armed The Austrian Penal Code “prohibits and groups. The documents reaffirmed internationalcriminalizes the recruitment and use of persons standards and operational principles forof any age in hostilities by armed groups that are protecting and assisting child soldiers and A—Edistinct from the armed forces”.5 followed a wide-ranging global consultation jointly sponsored by the French government andMilitary training and military schools UNICEF.Although the Austrian government statedthat there were no schools in the country 1 Quaker Council for European Affairs, The Rightdirectly operated by the armed forces, the to Conscientious Objection to Military Service inMilitaerrealgymnasium, located in Wiener Europe: A Review of the Current Situation, AprilNeustadt, “offers students from age 14 a higher 2005.secondary education with a specialization in 2 Initial report of Austria to the UN Committee onnatural sciences and a military-led boarding the Rights of the Child on the Optional Protocolschool. The school is supervised by the general to the Convention on the Rights on the Child onschool authorities in all relevant aspects. The the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, UNboarding school is governed by internal rules Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/AUT/1, 8 July 2004.under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of 3 Information from the defence attaché, AustrianDefence.”6 embassy, London, September 2007. Although it was not an exclusive aim, 4 Initial report, above note 2.preparation for a military career as an officer 5 Ibid.was certainly one of the institution’s stated 6 Ibid.purposes. The government stated that thestudents of the school were not considered to be 7 Ibid.members of the armed forces, and emphasized 8 Committee on the Rights of the Child,that the pursuit of a military career following Consideration of report submitted by Austriagraduation was not compulsory.7 In its January on the Optional Protocol on the Involvement2005 examination of Austria’s initial report on of Children in Armed Conflict, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/CO/2,implementation of the Optional Protocol, the January 2005.UN Committee on the Rights of the Child notedthat students at the school were referred to as 9 Initial report, above note 2.“cadets”. The Committee went on to requestthe following: “With regard to incentives forrecruitment, and in light of the fact that asignificant proportion of new recruits in thearmed forces come from the cadet forces, theCommittee requests the State party, in its nextreport, to include more detailed information andstatistics on its military school and the cadetforces … and on recruitment activities undertakenby the armed forces within the cadet forces.”8In its report to the Committee, the governmentstated that training in international law and therights of the child was being included in thepreparation of Austrian soldiers for overseasmissions. Austrian peacekeepers were also givenparticular instruction relevant to the place of theirdeployment – as in the case of two armed forcespersonnel whose preparatory training includedspecific attention to the issue of child soldiersin the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Thecurriculum of the Militaerrealgymnasium alsoincluded instruction in the basics of internationalhumanitarian law.9DevelopmentsAt a February 2007 ministerial meeting in Paris,Austria and 58 other states endorsed the ParisCommitments to protect children from unlawfulrecruitment or use by armed forces or armedCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 
  • 58. reported that in practice 17-year-olds who hadA Z ERBAIJAN graduated from military secondary-schools could go straight into military service.6Republic of Azerbaijan The direct participation of children aged under 15 in military action was prohibited. ThehePopulation: 8.4 million (2.7 million under 18) recruitment of minors into the armed forcesGovernment armed forces: 66,740 was treated as a violation of internationalCompulsory recruitment age: 18 humanitarian law and punishable under ArticleVoluntary recruitment age: 17 (as a cadet school 116 of the Criminal Code.7student) Advocates of military reform raised concernsVoting age: 18 that the rights of soldiers, cadets and evenOptional Protocol: ratified 3 July 2002 officers were violated in the military. Living conditions were poor, with a reported rise inOther treaties ratified (see glossary): suicides and criminality. In early 2007 it wasCRC, ILO 138, ILO 182 reported that during the previous year there had been about 200 cases of corruption or violenceUnder-18s could volunteer to join the against soldiers. Conscripts’ housing, annualarmed forces as cadets at military school. . leave and salaries were reported to have been arbitrarily withheld or withdrawn in some cases.Context A group researching military and security issues reported that in 2006, in contrast to previousNegotiations with Armenia continued under years, the majority of casualties in Azerbaijan’sthe auspices of the Organization for Security army were non-battlefield-related – 75 perand Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to end the cent were the result of suicide or bullying. Indispute over the status of Nagorno-Karabakh.1 December 2006 three soldiers were reportedAzerbaijan’s oil wealth was channelled into the to have fled across the front line into Armenianmilitary to bring its forces up to NATO standards captivity to escape physical abuse and bullying inand to counterbalance Armenia’s armed forces. the Azerbaijani army.8Military spending rose from US$135 millionin 2003 to US$700 million in 2006, and was Military training and military schoolsprojected to increase further.2 Two military secondary-schools admitted pupils after eight years of education.9 The firstGovernment was founded in the 1970s; the second, in the Nakhichevan enclave, was opened in 2004.10National recruitment legislation and Children could enter the schools at 14 yearspractice of age. Graduates were expected to go on to study at military higher-education institutions toThe November 1992 Law on Military Service set become officers, but those who did not could jointhe age of conscription at 18. Boys at the age the army as ordinary soldiers.11 Three Supremeof 16 were usually required to have a medical Military Schools for the army, navy and air forceexamination, and at the age of 18 were called up.3 and the Academy of National Security accepted Recruitment legislation was amended in pupils aged 17–19 as cadets who were consideredDecember 2006 to ensure a larger pool of to be members of the armed forces. The schoolsconscripts. Matriculating students and people offered courses based on NATO standards.12caring for disabled relatives no longer had theright to defer military service. Eighteen-year-oldswho did not register for conscription could face Nagorno-Karabakh Republiccriminal charges. Compulsory military servicewas increased from 12 to 18 months, with call-ups (NKR)four times a year, rather than twice as previously. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) hadDistrict military commissioners, reorganized its own laws and armed forces, but remainedon a regional basis, were to answer directly unrecognized internationally. The strength of theto the president, rather than the Ministry of army was estimated at 18,500–20,000, of whomDefence. Conscripts could be assigned to other over half were reportedly citizens of Armenia.13government departments, such as the Ministries The remainder were largely conscripts.of Justice or Emergency Situations, in addition to The NKR constitution required citizens tothe armed forces. The new system was to be fully do compulsory military service (Article 57).implemented by 2010.4 Conscription and voluntary recruitment were According to Azerbaijan’s declaration on regulated by the Law on Military Service, asratifying the Optional Protocol in 2002, 17- amended in 2006, and the Law on Militaryyear-olds could voluntarily enter active military Obligations of 2001. The Law on Militaryservice while at military cadet schools.5 Non- Obligations stipulated that all male citizens atgovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Azerbaijan the age of 16 submit to a medical examination6 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 59. (Articles 5 and 11). Those who passed had tocarry out two years’ military service between the BAH A M A Sages of 18 and 27. The minimum age for voluntary recruitment Commonwealth of the Bahamaswas also 18. Men could become professional A—Esoldiers on completing military service. Women Population: 323,000 (108,000 under 18)could also sign up voluntarily.14 Government armed forces: 900 Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription* Titles of non-English-language sources have been Voluntary recruitment age: 18translated by the Coalition. Voting age: 181 “Armenian, Azerbaijan envoys meet over Armenian, Optional Protocol: not signed Nagorno-Karabakh”, Radio Free Europe/Radio Other treaties ratified (see glossary): Liberty (RFE/RL), 14 March 2007, CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 1822 Speech of President Ilham Aliyev at Graduation Ceremony at Heydar Aliyev High Military School, No information was available on under-18s 23 June 2006, in UNDP Azerbaijan Development in the security forces. Bulletin, Issue No. 39, July 2006, www.un-; Adalat Bargarar, “Azerbaijan boosts military”, Institute of War and Peace Reporting Government (IWPR), 7 July 2005,; Jasur Mamedov, “Azerbaijan tiptoes towards NATO”, National recruitment legislation and IWPR, 23 November 2006. practice3 Marc Stolwijk, The Right to Conscientious Objection in Europe: A Review of the Current The armed forces were responsible for defence Situation, Quaker Council for European Affairs, and protection, the provision of disaster relief, April 2005, and, in conjunction with other law enforcement4 B. Safarov, “Parliament passed amendments to , agencies, the maintenance of order.1 The age the law on the basics of conscription”, Ekho, for recruitment into the armed forces under the 26 December 2006,; Defence Act was 18.2 There was no conscription. J. Mazakhiroglu, “Military Commissioners’ Offices In times of imminent danger of invasion or will be Abolished”, Armeyskoe Zerkalo, other emergency, the Governor-General could 30 December 2006, order that the police force be liable for military5 Declaration on accession to the Optional service.3 The minimum age of recruitment to the Protocol, police was 18.4 However, the Bahamas stated6 Confidential sources, March 2007. in its initial report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that under the Police Act the7 Second periodic report of Azerbaijan to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. recruitment age was 16 years.5 CRC/C/83/Add.13, 7 April 2005.8 Adalat Bargarar, above note 2; Jasur Mamedov, Developments “Army abuse claims in Azerbaijan”, IWPR, 8 March 2007; Liz Fuller, “Azerbaijan: Military has In March 2005 the UN Committee on the Rights of Cash, but no Security Doctrine”, RFE/RL, , the Child recommended that the Bahamas ratify 2 February 2006. the Optional Protocol.69 Confidential sources, above note 6.10 “Executive Order of President of Azerbaijan on 1 Defence Act, Chapter 211. founding military lyceum named after Heydar 2 Initial report of Bahamas to the Committee on the Aliyev”, Azerbaijan, No. 49, 27 February 2004, at Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/8/Add.50, 28 January 2004.11 Confidential sources, above note 6. 3 Police Force (Military Service) Act, Chapter 207.12 J. Sumerinli, “Reforms in the Army are a long-term , 4 Police Act, Chapter 205. process”, Voennoe Zerkalo, undated, http://old. 5 Initial report, above note 2.; Ministry of National Security, “The 6 Committee on the Rights of the Child, role of the Ministry of National Security in Consideration of initial report submitted by NATO–Azerbaijan cooperation”, Diplomacy and Bahamas, Concluding observations, UN Doc. Law, No. 1 (007), April 2007, CRC/C/15/Add.253, 31 March 2005.13 International Crisis Group (ICG), Nagorno- Karabakh: Viewing the Conflict from the Ground, Europe Report No. 166, 14 September 2005, Confidential sources, Nagorno Karabakh, March 2007.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 7
  • 60. B A HR AIN BANG L A D E S HKingdom of Bahrain People’s Republic of BangladeshPopulation: 727,000 (232,000 under 18) Population: 141.8 million (59.4 million under 18)Government armed forces: 11,200 Government armed forces: 126,500Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription Compulsory recruitment age: no conscriptionVoluntary recruitment age: unclear Voluntary recruitment age: 16 (air force); 17Voting age: 20 (army and navy); 18 (paramilitary and auxiliaryOptional Protocol: acceded 21 September 2004 forces)Other treaties ratified (see glossary): Voting age: 18CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 182 Optional Protocol: ratified 6 September 2000 Other treaties ratified (see glossary):Non-commissioned officers, technicians CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 182and specialized personnel couldapparently join the army as cadets from Under-18s were reported to be servingthe age of 15 and as regular soldiers at in the armed forces. Despite government17. However, Bahrain’s declaration on assertions to the contrary a number ofits accession to the Optional Protocol armed groups were known to be operatingstated that the minimum age for voluntary in the country, and there were allegationsrecruitment was 18. that some had recruited children.Government Context Following a series of bombings in 63 districts inNational recruitment legislation and August 2005, the government cracked down onpractice Islamist groups. Hundreds of arrests were carriedWhile military service was not compulsory, out and several Islamist organizations – includingaccording to Article 30 of the constitution, the Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB),“defending [the state] shall be the duty of every Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) andcitizen. Military service is an honour for the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) – were banned.1citizens and regulated by law.” In January 2007 a state of emergency was The government had stated in its 2001 Initial declared by the president. Imminent electionsReport to the UN Committee on the Rights of the were cancelled following widespread politicalChild that “Legislative Decree No. 23 of 1979 … violence. A military-backed caretaker governmentstipulates that recruits into the ranks must not took power; it banned political rallies and otherbe under 17 or over 35 years of age, except in the political activity and began a campaign againstcase of non-commissioned officers, technicians corrupt politicians and organized crime underand specialized personnel who can be recruited which thousands of people were detained.from the age of 15 (as cadets) to the age of 40”,1 Observers voiced concern that the slowwhile Article 3 of the decree stated that the age implementation of the 1997 Peace Accord inlimit could be disregarded in times of necessity. the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) threatened theHowever, Bahrain’s declaration on its accession return of organized violence. Non-governmentalto the Optional Protocol stated that the minimum organizations (NGOs) concerned with child rightsage for voluntary recruitment was 18.2 feared that such violence would involve children.2 In May 2007 the CHT Affairs Ministry Advisory Committee held its first meeting for six years toDevelopments discuss implementation of the Accord.3 India continued to allege that numerousInternational standards separatist groups active in northeast India wereBahrain acceded to the Optional Protocol on 21 operating from inside Bangladesh’s borders.September 2004. In early 2007 the caretaker government of Bangladesh appeared to acknowledge this and1 Initial report by Bahrain to the UN Committee said that it would take action against them.4 on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/11/ According to the government in 2005, a Add.24, 23 July 2001. National Child Labour Policy had been drafted,2 Declaration by Bahrain on accession to the but not finalized, which would remove anomalies Optional Protocol, in legislation, fix a uniform age for admission to work, and simplify and consolidate all legal provisions for the progressive elimination of child8 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 61. labour, including its worst forms.5 A Baseline naval training was from 15 months to two years.Survey conducted by the International Labour The training period was the same for recruits ofOrganization (ILO) in 2005 estimated that there all ages, including those under the age of 18, whowere 532,000 child workers aged 5–17 engaged on completing training were required to performin hazardous labour.6 the same duties as other soldiers.14 A—E The age of criminal responsibility was raised Ten cadet colleges (including one girls’from seven to nine years. UNICEF commented college) enrolled children from the age of 12 andthat “for children in conflict with the law, provided military and academic instruction. Therehabilitation instead of punishment is yet to Defence Ministry and the Bangladesh Army had abecome the main aim”.7 Under the 1974 Children direct role in the operation of these colleges, andAct “child” and “youthful offender” were defined a high number of students were said to join theas a person under the age of 16, so that children armed forces on leaving.15between the ages of 16 and 18 were treated asadults. Armed groups In its initial report to the Committee on the RightsGovernment of the Child on implementation of the OptionalNational recruitment legislation and Protocol, the government stated that “There is no armed group in Bangladeshi territory, so thepractice question of involving under-18s in such a groupThere was no provision for compulsory does not arise”.16 However, a number of armedrecruitment into the armed or paramilitary groups were operating in the country, and thereforces. There was no legislation governing the were widespread allegations that many of themminimum age for recruitment and deployment, had recruited children.17but according to the government the minimumage of recruitment into the army and navy was Islamist groups17 years, and 16 for the air force.8 The minimum There were fears that the spread of madrasasage for recruitment into Bangladesh’s armed (Islamic religious schools) might make childrenparamilitary and auxiliary forces, including the more susceptible to recruitment by militantBangladesh Rifles and the Ansars, was 18.9 The Islamist groups. The Committee on the Rights ofgovernment maintained that there was no scope the Child expressed concern about the possiblefor any person to be employed for actual service military training given to children in unregisteredor combat duty in the defence services, internal madrasas from a very young age.18 Concretesecurity services or paramilitary forces before evidence of child recruitment by Islamist groupsattaining the age of 18, because those recruited was scarce, but non-governmental organizationsbelow that age were required to undergo periods (NGOs) reported that they considered incidentsof training (although in the case of the army, the of child recruitment to be common. In the Khulnagovernment indicated that training was for a and Rajshahi districts, some teachers in theperiod of only nine months).10 privately owned unregistered madrasas were The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child accused of providing under-age activists to theexpressed concern about the reportedly high JMB, which was involved in the serial bombingsnumber of children under 18 who enrolled in the of August 2005. It was also alleged that childrenarmed forces and the difficulty of determining aged 12–15 were working for the JMJB, not only asthe real age of recruits.11 Recruitment information couriers but also to carry and set off bombs.19issued by the Army of Bangladesh specified the It was reported that most members of theneed for education certificates, a nationality JMB, including district and regional commanders,certificate and a certificate of parental consent, who had been arrested were barely 18–20 andbut not a birth certificate. The birth registration that two of those arrested in 2005 had beenrate was reported as 10 per cent (having been 16. Most of the boys were said to have been7 per cent in 2003).12 The Committee also recruited from madrasas.20 A report in the localexpressed concern about the lack of mandatory media further claimed that another militantparental consent except for recruits to the air group, Hizbut Tawhid, which believed in a jihad toforce, and the lack of measures to ensure that establish Islamic rule globally, said that groupsrecruitment of under-18s was genuinely voluntary of 6–11 “skilled mujahids” currently operated inand well informed.13 almost every district in the country to persuade children to join in preparation for an armed jihad.Military training and military schools Financial incentives were offered in some cases,According to information provided by the while others received a mobile phone. The reportgovernment to the Committee on the Rights of claimed that most children who joined werethe Child, durations of training varied from one acting against their parents’ wishes.21branch of the armed forces to another. Armytraining lasted nine months and the duration ofCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 
  • 62. Maoist groups 3 “CHT leaders for full implementation of peace accord”, Daily Star, 29 May 2007.In southwest Bangladesh, factions of the banned 4 “No refuge to Indian insurgents: Bangladesh”,Maoist Purbo Banglar Communist Party (PBCP), 3 March 2007.were reported to have recruited children aged 13–16 to make and plant bombs and throw grenades. 5 Initial report of Bangladesh to the UN CommitteeParty operatives were reported to have targeted on the Rights of the Child on implementation of the Optional Protocol, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/children from slum areas and families of victims BGD/1, 14 July 2005.of political violence for recruitment. A number ofsuch children were reported to have been killed 6 International Labour Organization (ILO),by police in “crossfire” in 2004 and 2005. 22 International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), cited in US DepartmentCriminal gangs of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2006.Primary research on recruitment of children by 7 UNICEF: Juvenile Justice in Bangladesh, undated,criminal gangs (known as mastans) was scarce, some child rights NGOs claimed that poor 8 Initial report, above note 5.children were being used for drugs traffickingand arms carrying in slum areas of Dhaka. 9 Ibid.The increasing availability of small arms made 10 Answers by the State Party to the questionsunder-age slum and street children increasingly asked by the Committee on the Rights of thevulnerable to recruitment by gangs.23 Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/BGD/Q/1/Add.1. 11 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of report submitted by BangladeshDisarmament, demobilization on implementation of the Optional Protocol, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/and reintegration (DDR) BGD/CO/1, January 2006.There was no formal disarmament, 12 Response to the issues raised by the Committeedemobilization and reintegration (DDR) process on the Rights of the Child related to the reportfor children involved in the conflict in the submitted by the Government of Bangladesh onChittagong Hill Tracts. With the government the Optional Protocol to the Convention on thehaving reported to the Committee on the Rights Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Childof the Child that there were 1,947 persons with Prostitution and Child Pornography in 2007, UN“some sort of combatant background”, the Doc. CRC/C/OPSC/BGD/Q/1/Add.1.Committee expressed concern about the lack of 13 Committee on the Rights of the Child, above noteinformation about programs for DDR, in particular 11; Answers by State Party, above note 10.for children who had been involved in the 14 Initial report, above note 5.Chittagong Hill Tracts conflict, taking into account 15 Information from websites of a number of cadetthat involvement in armed conflict produces schools, including consequences requiring psychosocial 16 Initial report, above note 5.assistance.24 17 Lata Hogg, above note 2. 18 Committee on the Rights of the Child, above noteDevelopments 11.Bangladesh’s initial report on implementation 19 Lata Hogg, above note 2.of the Optional Protocol referred to a number 20 “Militants found teenagers easy to brainwash”,of plans and policies for the protection of Daily Star, 16 March 2006.children, which focused on child trafficking, birth 21 “Turning into a militant”, Daily Star, 22 Augustregistration and juvenile justice, but included no 2005.policies for the protection of children involved in 22 “Outlawed parties recruiting slum boys, streetarmed conflict.25 urchins”, Daily Star, 24 July 2005. 23 Lata Hogg, above note 2.1 International Crisis Group (ICG), Bangladesh 24 Committee on the Rights of the Child, above note Today, Asia Report No. 121, 23 October 2006, 11; Answers by State Party, above note 10. 25 Initial report, above note 5.2 Charu Lata Hogg, Child Recruitment in South Asian Conflicts: A Comparative Analysis of Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh, London: Chatham House and Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, 2006. (An edited extract from the report, Child Recruitment in South Asian Conflicts: Bangladesh, issued by the Coalition in April 2007, is available at CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 63. 1 Latin American School of Social SciencesB ARBADO S (FLACSO), Security and Citizenship Program, Latin America and the Caribbean Security SectorBarbados Report, Country case study: Barbados, October 2006, A—EPopulation: 270,000 (63,000 under 18) 2 Information from Coalition source.Government armed forces: 600 3 FLACSO, above note 1.Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription 4 Information from Coalition source.Voluntary recruitment age: 18 (younger with 5 FLACSO, above note 1.parental consent) 6 Royal Barbados Police Force, Human Resources,Voting age: 18 Recruitment, Protocol: not signed 7 The Regional Security System comprises AntiguaOther treaties ratified (see glossary): and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada,CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; see could enlist with parental 8 Information from Coalition source.consent. In 2007 there was reportedly one 9 Ibid. .under-18 in the armed forces.GovernmentNational recruitment legislation andpracticeThe Barbados Defence Force comprised regularand reserve forces, a cadet corps and thecoastguard. There was no conscription, andvolunteers for enlistment to the regular andreserve force had to be at least 18. However,the Defence Act also allowed the possibility forunder-18s to enlist with the consent of parentsor legal guardians (Chapter 159, Article 19.2).1 In2007 there was one under-18 in the regular forcewho enlisted with parental consent at 17 yearsand 9 months.2 The 12-year term of service could be partlyserved in the reserve.3 Enlistment in the regularforce could be for an initial period of six years,with two three-year increments.4 Under the Police Act, the police force had toperform military duties in addition to maintaininglaw and order (Section II.5).5 In 2006 there werenearly 1,500 police constables. Regular andspecial police constables had to be at least 19 tojoin the force.6Military training and military schoolsInitial and further training was conducted locally.Additional training was provided regionally byJamaica, Trinidad, Belize, the Regional SecuritySystem7 and the French Forces of the Antilles.Training was also provided by the UnitedKingdom, the USA, Canada and, more recently,the People’s Republic of China.8 In 2006 there were around 1,360 membersof the Barbados Cadet Corps in 22 units insecondary-schools. Students could enrol in thecadet corps from the age of 11. Cadet trainingincluded leadership and character-building, bandtraining, sea cadet training, adventure training,archery, paramedical and first aid, and catering.9CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 61
  • 64. prohibited from obeying orders that wouldB E L ARUS “contravene the international obligations of Belarus” (Article 3). 3Republic of Belarus Military training and military schoolsPopulation: 9.8 million (2.0 million under 18) Pupils at the Suvorov Military College in MinskGovernment armed forces: 72,900 were entitled to the social benefits of militaryCompulsory recruitment age: 18 servicemen under the Law on the Status ofVoluntary recruitment age: 18 (men), 19 Military Servicemen and Servicewomen. Their(women); 17 (training); 16 (as cadets with rights to holidays and medical benefits wereparental consent) set down by the Ministry of Defence (ArticlesVoting age: 18 12 and 13). They were obliged to accept militaryOptional Protocol: acceded 25 January 2006 discipline, which included “mastering militaryOther treaties ratified (see glossary): skills; being continually alert to new military techniques and technology; and looking afterCRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182 military property” (Article 20).Under-18s entering military training The Suvorov Military College was open to boys from the age of 13, who were often theinstitutions from the age of 13 were sons of existing officers.4 It prepared cadetsentitled to the social benefits of military aged 15–16 for fast-track admission to Higherservicemen and obliged to accept military Military Education Institutes. These institutes,discipline. intended for students aged 17–21, trained officers with a specialist profile for each armed service or combat arm. Around 60 per cent ofContext their curriculum was devoted to military service and weaponry. Successful students graduatedIn 2006 the National Commission on the Rights with a university diploma and the rank of juniorof the Child was restructured so that it could lieutenant.monitor the government’s implementation of the Outside Minsk, the government could setUN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It had up local branch institutions that were designedpowers to request information from state bodies to give boys a military grounding and acceptedand other organizations, and official bodies were pupils from the age of seven years through to 16required to implement its decisions.1 (Law on the Status of Military Servicemen and The government declared 2007 the Year of Servicewomen, Article 27).the Child as part of a four-year program focusedon children in the period 2006–10. The programincluded provisions on adoption and marriage, Developmentsbut not on military service. International standardsGovernment Belarus acceded to the Optional Protocol in January 2006. Its declaration stated that theNational recruitment legislation and age for voluntary recruitment was 18, with the exception of those who, with parental consent,practice entered a military academy as a cadet at 17 orUnder the 1992 Law on Military Obligations and during the year they turned 17.5Military Service, between January and April everyyear boys aged 16 had to register for the draft 1 Presidential Decree, No. 675, 16 November 2006,(Article 14). Military call-up applied to all male National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic ofcitizens between the ages of 18 and 27 years Belarus, 30). Conscription was for 18 months, or 2 Law on Military Obligations and Military Service,12 months for graduates of higher education. No. 2/1247 of 1992, most recently amended byCollege students could defer their service until Law No. 50-Z19, July 2006, at end of their studies. Training contracts in by/zakonzak.html.military-technical professions were available 3 Law on the Status of Military Servicemen andto boys from the age of 17 (Article 26) and Servicewomen, No. 1939-XII of 13 Novemberprofessional contracts in the army, navy and air 1992, at were available to men from the age of 18 4 Ministry of Defence, women from the age of 19 (Article 42).2 html. Under the Law on the Status of MilitaryServicemen and Servicewomen, military 5 Declaration on accession to the Optional Protocol, were under an obligation to observethe constitution of Belarus, its laws and theorders of their superiors (Article 20). They were62 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 65. placed on extraterritorial jurisdiction by the 2003B ELGIUM act, whereby there could be no prosecutions of serious violations of international humanitarianKingdom of Belgium law without the establishment of a clear link connecting the violations with Belgium.4 In April A—EPopulation: 10.4 million (2.1 million under 18) 2006 the Belgian senate adopted a detailedGovernment armed forces: 39,700 resolution calling on the government to makeCompulsory recruitment age: 17 (conscription children in armed conflict a policy priority.suspended)Voluntary recruitment age: 18 Military training and military schoolsVoting age: 18 Individuals who applied successfully to becomeOptional Protocol: ratified 6 May 2002 career non-commissioned officers in the armedOther treaties ratified (see glossary): forces could from the age of 16 complete theirCRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 secondary education in a non-commissioned officers’ college. Those who applied successfullyBelgium backed a “straight-18” position, to become a career officer candidate and wished to attend the Royal Military Academy had firstbut had yet to amend its national to have completed their secondary educationlegislation to exclude the possibility of and would generally be 17 or 18 years of age onunder-18s serving in the armed forces. entering the academy, where courses were atLegislation ruled out the deployment of university level. Although there was no specificunder-18s in hostilities at all times. legislation in place concerning the military status of students under 18 in these institutions (including their status in a time of armedGovernment conflict), the government emphasized that, in accordance with a March 2003 act concerningNational recruitment legislation and military recruitment, no such mobilization wouldpractice be possible for those who had not already completed their secondary education.5 AccordingAlthough compulsory military service as such to the government, “the question of protectingno longer existed in Belgium, the Consolidated children in armed conflicts is addressed inMilitary Service Acts of 1962 had not yet been the training given to all military personnel. Itrepealed; the Acts allowed for the conscription is brought to the attention of all categories ofof individuals at 18 or 19 into the armed forces personnel on several occasions during basic andin peacetime, and permitted conscription into in-service training courses on the law of armedthe recruitment reserve at 17 in wartime.1 In June conflict.”62006 the UN Committee on the Rights of theChild called on the government to “repeal alllaws that allow the recruitment of persons under Developmentsthe age of 18 into the armed forces in time of In June 2006 the Committee on the Rightswar”.2 Following on from Belgium’s declaration of the Child made particular note of the facton ratification of the Optional Protocol in May that Belgium was a “country of destination”2002, the minimum age for voluntary recruitment for children migrating or seeking asylum frominto the Belgian Armed Forces was now 18. war-affected areas. The Committee praisedFurthermore, the declaration contained an the efforts of the Belgian Red Cross, workingabsolute prohibition on the participation of alongside the Federal Agency for the Reception ofany individual under 18 in armed engagement Asylum Seekers, to offer social and psychologicalof any kind or in peacekeeping operations in support to such children. However, thetimes of both war and peace (1962 legislation Committee called on the authorities greatly tonotwithstanding).3 The conscription or enlistment expand its efforts to provide specific servicesof children under the age of 15 into the armed for child refugees, asylum-seekers and migrantsforces or armed groups, as well as compelling who might have been participants in or victims ofchildren to play an active role in hostilities, hostilities in their countries of origin.7were criminalized in the Act of 5 August 2003, At a February 2007 ministerial meeting inand could now be prosecuted as war crimes. In Paris, Belgium and 58 other states endorsedJune 2006 the Committee on the Rights of the the Paris Commitments to protect childrenChild welcomed the fact that “children who have from unlawful recruitment or use by armedbeen recruited into national armed forces or forces or armed groups and the Paris Principleswho have been used for active participation in and guidelines on children associated withhostilities while they were under the age of 15 armed forces or armed groups. The documentscan obtain direct access to the Belgian courts if reaffirmed international standards andthere is a link between Belgium and the crime”. operational principles for protecting and assistingHowever, the Committee regretted the limitsCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 63
  • 66. child soldiers and followed a wide-ranging globalconsultation jointly sponsored by the French BELIZ Egovernment and UNICEF. Belize1 Initial report of Belgium to the UN Committee on Population: 270,000 (117,000 under 18) the Rights of the Child on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights on the Child on Government armed forces: 1,100 (estimate) the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, UN Compulsory recruitment age: not specified Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/BEL/1, 15 August 2005. Voluntary recruitment age: 18 (see text)2 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Voting age: 18 Consideration of the initial report submitted Optional Protocol: ratified 1 December 2003 by Belgium, Concluding observations, UN Doc. Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC/C/OPAC/BEL/CO/1, 9 June 2006. CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 1823 Initial report, above note 1.4 Concluding observations, above note 2. There were no reports of under-18s in the5 Initial report, above note 1. armed forces.6 Written replies of the Belgian Government concerning the list of issues to be taken up in consideration of the initial report of Belgium Government to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on National recruitment legislation and the Rights on the Child on the Involvement of practice Children in Armed Conflict, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/ The Belize Defence Force consisted of a regular BEL/Q/1/Add.1, 3 April 2006. force, a volunteer element and a reserve.1 Belize7 Concluding observations, above note 2. declared on ratifying the Optional Protocol that 16 was the minimum age for voluntary recruitment to any military service, but the Defence Act (Section 16) provided that no under-18s could be enlisted into the regular force.2 However, the Governor-General could make regulations for the call-up that specified the age and numbers of conscripts (Section 167). In addition, the Defence Regulations did not specify what steps recruiting officers should take in order to satisfy themselves that recruits were 18.3 There was no minimum age for joining the police force, which could be deployed in the service of the armed forces in time of war or emergency.4 Many members of the Police Youth Cadet Corps went on to join not only the police force but also the armed forces.5 Originally established in 1994 to “rehabilitate troubled young men”, the corps was part of the community policing program and was aimed at boys and girls aged between 8 and 17. In 2006 it numbered some 800 members.6 1 Defence Act (Chapter 135). 2 Ibid., Section 16(2), cited in Second periodic report of Belize to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/65/Add.29, 13 July 2004 and Committee on the Rights of the child, Consideration of second periodic report submitted by Belize, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.252, 31 March 2005. 3 Defence Act – Subsidiary Laws, Defence (Regular Force Enlistment and Service) Regulations. 4 Police Act (Chapter 138), Section 5. 5 “Cadet Corps holds camp at Benque”, Channel 5,, 13 July 2004. 6 “Police Cadet Corps enjoy sports camp”, Channel 5, above note 5, 21 April 2006.64 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 67. jointly sponsored by the French government andB ENIN UNICEF.Republic of Benin International standards Benin ratified the Optional Protocol in January A—EPopulation: 8.4 million (4.3 million under 18) 2005.Government armed forces: 4,800Compulsory recruitment age: 18 1 Declaration on accession to the OptionalVoluntary recruitment age: 18 Protocol, age: 18 2 Initial report of Benin to the UN Committee on theOptional Protocol: ratified 31 January 2005 Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/3/Add.52, 4Other treaties ratified (see glossary): July 1997.CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWC 3 Loi no. 2007-27 portant institution du Service Militaire d’Intérêt National; Gouvernement duThere were no reports of under-18s in the Bénin, Conseil des ministres no. 26/PR/SGG/armed forces. Com/2007, 19 October 2007. 4 “Le service militaire est désormais obligatoire pour les jeunes Béninois”, PANAPRESS, 24Government September 2007, at 5 “Bientôt 3000 jeunes enseignants pour réveillerNational recruitment legislation and l’école béninoise”, Fraternité (Cotonou), Bénin,practice 22 October 2007, at 1990 constitution stated that the defenceof the nation and its territorial integrity was theduty of all citizens, and that military service wascompulsory under the terms set down by law(Article 32). Recruitment to the armed forceswas governed by Law No. 63-5 of 30 May 1963,as amended by Ordinance No. 75-77 of 28November 1975. Benin’s declaration on ratifying the OptionalProtocol stated that the minimum age forvoluntary recruitment into the armed forces orgendarmerie was 18, and that applicants hadto submit a birth certificate and a certificate ofschool attendance.1 Previously it had stated tothe UN Committee on the Rights of the Child thatthe age for voluntary and compulsory recruitmentwas 21.2 A new law on national service came intoeffect in October 2007.3 It provided thatcitizens between 18 and 35 would be liable forcompulsory selection for military service in thenational interest.4 Recruits, who had to havehigher-education diplomas, would undertakemilitary training before being deployed in sectorsdeemed to be in the national interest, includingeducation and health.5DevelopmentsAt a February 2007 ministerial meeting in Paris,Benin and 58 other states endorsed the ParisCommitments to protect children from unlawfulrecruitment or use by armed forces or armedgroups and the Paris Principles and guidelines onchildren associated with armed forces or armedgroups. The documents reaffirmed internationalstandards and operational principles forprotecting and assisting child soldiers andfollowed a wide-ranging global consultationCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 6
  • 68. leaders in favour of resettlement, and othersB H UTAN who opposed it and who continued to campaign for a return to Bhutan. In late May 2007 theKingdom of Bhutan tension resulted in violence in one of the camps, when two teenage refugees died and othersPopulation: unclear1 were injured. A third refugee was killed in aGovernment armed forces: 9,0002 confrontation with Indian police forces aroundCompulsory recruitment age: no conscription the same time, when thousands of refugeesVoluntary recruitment age: 18 attempted to march across the border intoVoting age: 183 India on their way back to Bhutan. The marchOptional Protocol: signed 15 September 2005 was allegedly planned to coincide with a mockOther treaties ratified (see glossary): election organized by the Bhutan government as part of an educational exercise in the run-up toCRC the 2008 elections.7 It was reportedly organizedThere were no reports of under-18s in by the Bhutan Movement Steering Committee, consisting of three political parties in exilegovernment armed forces, but armed (the Bhutan People’s Party, the Druk Nationalpolitical groups were recruiting from Congress and the Gorkha National Liberationamong refugees in eastern Nepal and there Front).8were reportedly many children amongthem. Government National recruitment legislation andContext practiceIn December 2006 King Jigme Singye Wangchuk The minimum age for recruitment into the militarystepped down and handed over the crown to was 18.9 During the 87th session of the Nationalhis son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. The Assembly in June 2007, the commander of theking had given up some of his absolute powers army confirmed that the army strength was justin 1998 and directed that a written constitution over 9,000 soldiers, and announced that it was toshould be drafted and elections held. As of mid- be reduced to around 8,000 by the end of 2008.102007 a draft constitution was in circulation andpolitical parties had started to register. Electionswere scheduled for 2008. Armed groups Tension in south-east Bhutan decreased During the National Assembly’s 87th session,after military operations in 2003 and 2004 in June 2007, it decided that recruitment andagainst three armed separatist groups from training of militias should start by the beginningnorth-east India – the United Liberation Front of 2008. This was an apparent reversal of aof Assam (ULFA), National Democratic Front of decision made during a 2005 Assembly sessionBodoland and Kamtapur Liberation Organization not to proceed with the recruitment of voluntary– who had set up camps in Bhutan. During that militias, but to strengthen the army instead. Theperiod it was reported by Bhutanese and Indian Assembly also resolved that the Royal Bhutanofficials that 30 camps had been destroyed and Army should decide the age limit, qualifications650 combatants killed or taken into custody. and training centre for the militia training.11Bhutanese authorities also said that up to 65,000 According to the government, by mid-2007 fulllocal people had been moved for their safety. details of the upcoming recruitment process hadThere were further unconfirmed reports that not been finalized. The government also statedBhutanese civilians suspected of supporting that none of the 700 militia volunteers recruitedthese groups had been arrested and tortured.4 earlier, in 2003, remained active.12Family members of ULFA members, including There were reports of increased activity27 children reportedly captured during the by two armed political groups, the Bhutanoperation, were said by the government to have Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) (BCP)been handed over to Indian civil authorities.5 with its youth wing, the Bhutan Revolutionary More than 100,000 refugees from southern Youth (BRY); and the Bhutan Tiger Force (BTF) inBhutan had remained in refugee camps in eastern southern Bhutan in early 2007. The main politicalNepal since the early 1990s. In October 2006 the objective of both groups was the repatriation ofUnited States (USA) offered to resettle 60,000 of the refugees from camps in eastern Nepal. Boththe refugees. Several other countries expressed groups were said to be recruiting in the refugeesimilar interest. In this context the UN refugee camps, including from among children youngeragency UNHCR started a mass campaign to than 16 years old.13 Recruitment was reported toinform refugees of their individual right to choose be most common from Beldangi 1 and 2 camps.resettlement, and the relevant procedures.6 There were further reports of weapons trainingThere was tension in the camps between refugee for new recruits in the forests near these camps.66 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 69. According to government sources, the BCP had arecruitment campaign inside Bhutan. B OL Iv I A Both the BTF and the BRY allegedly claimedresponsibility for planting several explosive Republic of Boliviadevices in Phuentsholing town, Samtse district in A—Eearly 2007.14 Thirteen people were arrested in this Population: 9.2 million (4.1 million under 18)regard and were awaiting trial under the National Government armed forces: 46,100Security Act and the Penal Code.15 The explosions Compulsory recruitment age: 19were allegedly planned to coincide with the mock Voluntary recruitment age: 15 (for pre-militaryelection organized by the government in the run- service)up to the 2008 elections. Voting age: 18 Optional Protocol: acceded 22 December 2004Developments Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182International standardsBhutan signed the Optional Protocol in In July 2004 it was reported that under-18sSeptember 2005. had been conscripted illegally to support anti-narcotics operations in Chapare.1 Estimates of the population vary widely even among different agencies in the UN system. The Bhutanese government’s population and housing Context census gives a figure of 672,425 (2005); the President Evo Morales Ayma took office in Ministry of Labour and Human Resources gives January 2006 and implemented wide-ranging a figure of 537,900 (October 2006) (cited in Kuensel, Bhutan’s national newspaper, 20 June reforms. He established a constituent assembly 2007). The UN statistics division gives a figure to write a new constitution to replace the 1967 of 658,500 (2007), and the World Bank gives a constitution and aimed at giving more power similar figure, of 0.6 million (2006). Other UN to the indigenous majority.1 In May and June agencies, however, notably the WHO, UNICEF and 2007 the assembly approved several articles the UNDP, give figures in the region of 2 million. of the new constitution, including a ban on UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2007 (the armed groups separate from the armed forces source of the population data used in the entries and the police and the requirement for all men throughout this global report) gives a figure of and women, with or without military training, to 2.2 million (983,000 under 18). defend the nation in case of war.22 “Militia should start in 2008”, Kuensel Online, 16 June 2007, Government3 Election Commission of Bhutan, “Bhutan Voter Guide”, 21 August 2006, www.election-bhutan. National recruitment legislation and practice4 Amnesty International Report 2005.5 Correspondence to Coalition from Permanent According to the 1967 constitution, every person Mission of Bhutan to the UN at Geneva, 17 July had to carry out all military and civilian service 2007. required by the nation for its development, defence and conservation.6 “Refugees must be free to choose own solution in Nepal, says Guterres”, UNHCR News Stories, Fewer than one third of the Bolivian armed 23 May 2007, forces were professional soldiers. The rest were conscripts recruited twice a year, mainly from7 “Bhutan refugees give 15-day ultimatum to rural areas.3 Around 15,000 conscripts were India”, Times of India, 30 May 2007. recruited every year.4 Military service was obliga-8 Coalition interview, Kathmandu, July 2007. tory for men from the age of 19.5 Proof of having9 Second periodic report of Bhutan to the UN completed military service or voluntary pre-mili- Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2007, UN tary service was essential to gain a university or Doc. CRC/C/BTN/2, 16 July 2007. professional degree and, for males aged 17–55,10 “Militia should start in 2008”, above note 2. to travel abroad.611 Ibid. In case of war or emergency, women aged12 Permanent Mission of Bhutan, above note 5. 19–35 with no children would be required to13 Coalition interviews, Kathmandu, July 2007. join the Female Auxiliary Service for up to two years to carry out production activities. In case of14 “Tight security in Bhutan after bomb found in emergency, girls in the last three years of second- border town”, Hindustan Times, 25 April 2007, ary-school (typically from age 16) could volunteer to join the Female Auxiliary Service.715 “Communist Party members involved in subversive Compulsory military service could be post- activities”, Kuensel Online, 13 June 2007. poned for an individual living abroad or studying,CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 67
  • 70. or who had a verified medical condition. Men tions of society, with the aim of training 60,000supporting elderly parents or whose fathers had conscripts by 2010 and preparing them for thedied in international armed conflict or during employment market on leaving the service.20military service, theology students, the mentally Young men and women aged 15–19 with basicincapacitated and married or widowed men with secondary education could also do voluntarychildren were exempted.8 pre-military service, involving literacy and other Living conditions for conscripts were poor and training courses, and attending military instruc-resources meagre. In February 2006 the Defence tion every Saturday and during holidays for 12Minister reported that the food budget was only months. 21 In Sucre alone, 1,200 young men and3 bolivianos (US$0.30) per soldier per day.9 women volunteered to do pre-military serviceIn May 2007 President Evo Morales promised in 2005.22 Since military service gave conscriptsthousands of dollars in funding for the armed access to training and education they might notforces to renew their infrastructure and improve have elsewhere, voluntary pre-military servicebasic services, as part of the national program was an attractive option for some young people.“Bolivia changes, Evo delivers” (Bolivia Cambia,Evo Cumple).10 Child recruitment and deployment According to reports, the government was In July 2004 the government acknowledged toconsidering a new compulsory military service the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child thatlaw, after the Constitutional Court (Tribunal youngsters between 14 and 17 had been foundConstitucional) in January 2006 declared doing military service. It also reported that manyDecree 7755 (1966) on military service to be cases had been discovered of conscript labourunconstitutional.11 being exploited for private gain and of conscripts According to the government there was no being subjected to ill-treatment which coulddomestic legislation on children in armed conflict result in irreversible injuries.23“because there are no child refugees and there is In 2005 human rights organizations reportedno armed conflict in Bolivia”. There were no legal that hundreds of children in the Chapare regionprovisions regarding children’s participation in and border areas continued to be subjected tohostilities.12 violence and harassment by law-enforcement of- ficials, in the context of anti-drug trafficking andMilitary training and military schools coca leaf eradication operations.24 Homes wereThe army had five basic training institutions, broken into and schools taken over and used asincluding the Military College, the Sergeants’ military encampments. The government reportedMilitary School (Escuela Militar de Sargentos del that under-18s had been conscripted illegally toEjército, EMSE) and the Military School (Liceo support anti-narcotics operations in Chapare.25Militar). The Military College accepted students Local non-governmental organizationsaged 17–21 who had completed or were in the (NGOs) organized training courses on child rightslast two years of secondary education.13 It had an for members of the Rural Patrol Mobile Unitsenrolment of around 800, of whom 10 per cent (Unidad Móvil de Patrullaje Rural, UMOPAR),were women.14 rural police assigned to the area, and army and Secondary school graduates could apply to police officers of the Joint Task Forces (Fuerzabecome cadets at the Navy Military School from de Tarea Conjunta, combined units of army andage 16. From the second semester onwards, police officers working on coca leaf eradication incadets participated in joint training exercises with Chapare).26 In 2004 greater powers were given tothe Argentine and Peruvian navies. Cadets com- seven local ombudsmen’s offices in the region topleting one or more years of study were deemed improve the situation of children and adolescentsto have fulfilled their military obligations.15 affected by the violence.27 From 2003, female cadets were allowed intomilitary schools as day students, specializing inlogistics and administration.16 Developments In 2005 the government offered for the first On reviewing Bolivia’s third periodic report, thetime scholarships to members of indigenous Committee on the Rights of the Child criticizedcommunities to attend the Military College.17 the lack of specific procedures for providingTwenty students from indigenous communities special care and assistance to refugee children,were enrolled in July 2005.18 In 2006 five women particularly those who were unaccompaniedwere among the 25 new indigenous cadets. As or separated, and urged the government topart of an equal-opportunities project, indig- establish a fully functioning and comprehensiveenous cadets took a seven-month academic refugee status-determination mechanism, withprogram before joining the school’s regular specific procedures for minors.28program.19 In May 2007 the government announced the International standardscreation of 25 technological military institutes to Bolivia acceded to the Optional Protocol inoffer training and education to the poorer sec- December 2004. Its declaration stated that 1868 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 71. was the minimum age for conscription and that 20 “Sesenta mil conscriptos tendrán formaciónvoluntary pre-military service was available for técnica”, El Diario, February 2007, www.eldiario.young people from the age of 17. The declaration net.made no mention of the possibility for 15-year- 21 Resdal, Atlas Comparativo de la Defensa enolds to do voluntary pre-military service. América Latina, Bolivia, 2005; Servicio Militar, A—E Servicio Premilitar, “Push for new Bolivia constitution”, BBC News, 22 “Más de 1,200 premilitares cerraron importante 6 August 2006. ciclo”, Correo del Sur, 25 September 2005, Asamblea Constituyente, Comisión No. 21, Seguridad y Defensa Nacional, Artículos 23 Third periodic report, above note 12. Aprobados para la nueva Constitución Política del 24 Defence for Children International (Bolivia), Estado, Supplementary report to Bolivia’s third periodic3 Juan Ramón Quintana Taborga, “Documento report on the implementation of the UN de análisis: La gestión política de la Defensa Convention on the Rights of the Child, 10 January Nacional en Bolivia”, Resdal, Atlas Comparativo 2005, at de la Defensa en América Latina, Bolivia, 2005, 25 Third periodic report, above note 12 . 26 Defence for Children International,4 “2,500 soldados culminan el servicio militar Supplementary report. obligatorio”, Los Tiempos, 16 January 2005, 27 Third periodic report, above note 12. 28 Committee on the Rights of the Child,5 Ley Servicio Nacional Defensa, Articulo 22, cited Consideration of third periodic report submitted at Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Servicio by Bolivia, Concluding observations, UN Doc. militar, Disposiciones legales, CRC/C/15/Add.256, 11 February 2005. bo.6 Servicio Militar, Disposiciones Legales, www. Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Programa Seguridad y Ciudadanía, Reporte del Sector Seguridad en América Latina y el Caribe, Informe Nacional: Bolivia, October 2006, Ibid.9 “Ministro comprueba la vida precaria de los soldados”, La Prensa, 22 February 2006, “Evo ofrece $US50 mil para cada unidad militar”, Los Tiempos, 20 May 2007.11 “Servicio militar es inconstitucional”, Los Tiempos, 8 February 2006.12 Third periodic report of Bolivia to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/125/Add.2, 16 July 2004.13 FLACSO, above note 7.14 “Otros 25 jóvenes indígenas en la carrera militar”, BolPress, 13 August 2006, Escuela Naval Militar, Admisión, bo.16 “La igualdad de género llegó al liceo militar”, Bolivia Hoy, 4 February 2003, www.boliviahoy. com.17 “El Ejército será pionero con cadetes indígenas becados”, La Prensa, 1 February 2005, at Canadian Defence Academy website, www.acd. “Lanzan programa piloto denominado ‘Igualdad de Oportunidades’”, La Prensa, 26 July 2005, at Canadian Defence Academy website, above note 17.19 “Otros 25 jóvenes indígenas en la carrera militar”, BolPress.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 6
  • 72. expected to continue through the strengtheningB O SNIA- of the Office of the EU Special Representative.5 In June 2007 UN Security Council ResolutionH E RZEGO vINA 1764 reaffirmed the importance of the high representative in pursuing the implementation ofBosnia and Herzegovina the Peace Agreement and noted that the Office of the High Representative would continue to carryPopulation: 3.9 million (807,000 under 18) out its mandate, with the aim of closing the officeGovernment armed forces: 11,900 by 20 June 2008.6Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription Impunity for war crimes and crimes against(ended 2006) humanity during the 1992–5 war remained widespread, with thousands of enforcedVoluntary recruitment age: 18 disappearances still unresolved. Of an estimatedVoting age: 18 2.2 million people displaced by the conflict, moreOptional Protocol: ratified 10 October 2003 than 1 million refugees and internally displacedOther treaties ratified (see glossary): people from the 1992–5 war were estimated toCRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 have returned to their homes.7There were no reports of under-18s servingin the armed forces. Government National recruitment legislation andContext practiceBosnia-Herzegovina remained divided into two Conscription formally ended on 1 January 2006semi-autonomous entities, the Republika Srpska under a defence reform law passed by parliamentand the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 5 October 2005. The law abolished separatewith a special status granted to the Brcko district. defence ministries for the Republika SrpskaThe international community exerted influence and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovinaover the country’s political process, in particular entities, thus creating a single unified force andthrough a high representative with executive in general moving the military closer to NATOpowers nominated by the intergovernmental standards.8 On 5 July 2006 the Presidency – thebody responsible for implementing the 1995 country’s three-member head-of-state bodyDayton Peace Agreement. A European Union consisting of a Bosniac and a Croat elected(EU)-led peacekeeping force, EUFOR, replaced from the Federation of Bosnia and HerzegovinaNATO troops in December 2004. The EU decided and a Serb elected from the Republika Srpskain March 2007 to reduce EUFOR’s size from – approved the proposals.9approximately 7,000 troops to 2,500.1 In addition In its declaration on ratifying the Optionalto EUFOR, about 150 NATO troops remained Protocol in October 2003, Bosnia-Herzegovinain Bosnia-Herzegovina, reportedly to provide stated that voluntary recruitment into the armedsupport to the International Criminal Tribunal forces was not permitted for anybody under thefor the former Yugoslavia in detaining people age of 18.10indicted for war crimes, to combat terrorism andto assist the Bosnia-Herzegovina authorities in Developmentsdefence reform.2 In 2007 some 200 membersof the EU Police Mission remained in Bosnia- In its 2005 Concluding Observations on Bosnia-Herzegovina.3 Herzegovina’s initial report on the Convention In June 2006 the Peace Implementation on the Rights of the Child, the UN Committee onCouncil, an intergovernmental body that the Rights of the Child expressed concern that,monitors implementation of the Dayton Peace although the number was decreasing, betweenAgreement, began preparing the closure of 1992 and August 2000 a total of 4,371 people,the Office of the High Representative (OHR) including about 300 children, had been victimsin June 2007.4 However, in February 2007 the of landmines. There were still 1 million mines inPeace Implementation Council reviewed this approximately 30,000 minefields throughout thedecision and decided against closing down the country, including around schools and play areas,OHR in 2007, with the aim of OHR closure by and Red Cross sources reported that 50 childrenJune 2008 instead. The decision was taken as a were injured every month. The Committee wasresult of little progress in reform and because also concerned at the physical and psychologicalthe Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and effects of the armed conflict on child victims.11Herzegovina had not been fully constitutedfollowing a tense electoral campaign in October 1 EUFOR, 16 March 2007, The engagement of the internationalcommunity in Bosnia-Herzegovina was also70 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 73. 2 Amnesty International (AI), Europe and Central Asia: Summary of Amnesty International’s B OTS W A N A concerns in the region, January–June 2006, 1 December 2006, AI Index Number EUR Republic of Botswana 01/017/2006. A—E3 EU Police Mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina website, Population: 1.8 million (800,000 under 18) 16 March 2007, Government armed forces: 9,0004 AI, above note 2. Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription5 Voluntary recruitment age: 186 UN Security Council Resolution 1764(2007), UN Voting age: 18 Doc. S/RES/1764(2007), 29 June 2007. Optional Protocol: ratified 4 October 20047 Amnesty International Report 2007. Other treaties ratified (see glossary):8 War Resisters International, “Bosnia to end CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWC conscription on 1 January 2006”, CO Update, No. 15, November 2005, There were no reports of under-18s in the9 UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Country armed forces. Profile, Declarations and Reservations to the Optional Protocol, Government11 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, National recruitment legislation and Consideration of report submitted by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Concluding Observations, UN Doc. practice CRC/C/15/Add.260, 21 September 2005. There was no conscription. The Botswana Defence Force Act of 1977 provided that recruitment to the armed forces was on a voluntary basis and that recruits had to appear to be 18.1 In its 2004 Declaration accompanying the ratification of the Optional Protocol, the government confirmed that there was no conscription into the Defence Force, that the minimum age for recruitment was 18 and that “recruits are required to present a national identity card which states their date of birth, school completion certificate, and other educational records where necessary. In addition, all recruits undergo a rigorous medical examination where pre-pubescence would be noticed, and any person determined to be underage is routinely rejected from recruitment.”2 In November 2006 the Botswana Defence Force announced that it planned to begin the recruitment of women, and in September 2007 some 30 women were recruited as officer cadets, who were intended to serve in a variety of non- combat roles.3 Plans were announced in September 2007 that officer cadets would attend 12 months’ training at the Tanzania Military Academy.4 Both the Penal Code and the Children’s Act criminalized the abduction of children.5 Developments In its November 2004 concluding observations, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern at low birth registration, particularly in rural areas, and at the extent of child labour.6CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 71
  • 74. International standardsBotswana ratified the Optional Protocol to the BR A Z I LConvention on the Rights of the Child on theinvolvement of children in armed conflict in Federative Republic of BrazilOctober 2004. Population: 186.4 million (62.2 million under 18) Government armed forces: 287,9001 Initial Report of Botswana to the Committee on Compulsory recruitment age: 18 (see text) the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/51/Add.9, Voluntary recruitment age: 17; 16 with parental 27 February 2004. consent2 Declaration by Botswana on accession to Voting age: 16 Optional Protocol, Optional Protocol: ratified 27 January 20043 “Botswana: Army rolls out carpet for women”, IRIN, 22 November 2006; “Women to sweat it out Other treaties ratified (see glossary): in the army”, Botswana Guardian, 10–16 August CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 2007; “Botswana: BDF Recruits Female Soldiers Today”, Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone), 17 Although 16-year-olds could volunteer September 2007, to do military service, there was no4 Mmegi/The Reporter, above note 3, 17 September information on under-18s in the armed 2007. forces.5 Initial Report of Botswana, above note 1.6 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of report submitted by Botswana, Context Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/ Public security was a major problem, with rioting Add.242, 3 November 2004. in overcrowded prisons and generally high levels of violence, including killings of police, by criminal gangs.1 Children as young as seven continued to be involved in drug gangs in urban and rural areas, often being made responsible for gun and drug smuggling and distribution.2 Armed confrontations between urban-based drug factions killed hundreds of people every year.3 Children’s involvement in drug-based armed violence was reported in small towns as well as larger urban areas.4 Children as young as seven were reported to be armed and selling drugs in Rio de Janeiro.5 According to one study an estimated one in five youths was killed within two years of joining a drug gang.6 Recruitment and use of children by drug factions was regarded by some observers as comparable to that by forces involved in armed conflict: they targeted particular age groups for recruitment, allocated them specific functions and standing within the command structure, and rewarded them financially. During 2006 state authorities in Rio de Janeiro used armoured troop carriers (caveirões) and deployed troops and tanks in an attempt to combat drug gangs controlling most of the city’s shanty towns. There were reports that up to 92 shanty towns were under the control of paramilitary-style militias, made up of active and former police officers acting with the support of local politicians and community leaders.772 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 75. secondary schools. Candidates to officer schoolsGovernment had to be 21–24 years of age, depending on theNational recruitment legislation and branch, and to have completed their secondary education. Women could only specialize inpractice health, administration or engineering.14 All A—EAll citizens between 18 and 45 years of age military educational institutions were underwere liable to military duties according to the authority of the Ministry of Education andthe law.8 Individuals had to register with the Research.15Military Service Board (Junta de Serviço Militar) Candidates to the Agulhas Negras Militarybetween 1 January and 30 April of the year they Academy (AMAN) first had to attend a course atturned 18. Between July and September military the Army Cadets Preparatory School (EsPCEx) forcommissions throughout the country selected a year, equivalent to the third year of secondary-those who would be enlisted into the armed school.16 They had to be at least 16 at the endforces. Military service law stated that recruits of the year in which they attended EsPCEx, andfor active service or for the reserves must be under-18s needed to have parental consent.17Brazilians who turned 19 between 1 January and Students were given the rank of second or third31 December of the year they joined the armed sergeant and, on graduating, were automaticallyforces.9 While the law stated this position clearly, registered for AMAN. On entering AMAN, EsPCExthere appeared, however, to be some ambiguity graduates were considered to be cadets – thaton this point in Brazil’s declaration on ratification is, between second lieutenant and officerof the Optional Protocol, which seemed to candidate.18indicate that recruitment could take place at a There were 12 military schools offeringyounger age. education to children aged 10–17.19 Military service lasted 12 months andincluded military, technical, academic andvocational instruction. According to some Developmentsanalysts it was seen as a source of opportunities At a February 2007 ministerial meeting in Paris,and social progress, and the number of young Brazil and 58 other states endorsed the Parismen seeking to do military service often Commitments to protect children from unlawfulexceeded the number selected.10 recruitment or use by armed forces or armed Those with at least three years’ secondary groups and the Paris Principles and guidelines oneducation could choose to do their military children associated with armed forces or armedservice for one year at reserve officer training groups. The documents reaffirmed internationalinstitutions (Centro de Preparação de Oficiais standards and operational principles forda Reserva – CPOR, Reserve Officers Training protecting and assisting child soldiers andCentre, and Núcleo de Preparação de Oficiais da followed a wide-ranging global consultationReserva – NPOR, Reserve Officers Training Unit) jointly sponsored by the French government andand then remain as temporary army officers if UNICEF.they so wished. Medicine, pharmacy, dentistryor veterinary students who had been enlisted 1 Amnesty International Report 2006 and 2007.could delay their entry until completing their 2 “More and younger children in the Brazil’s Matostudies; they had to register with the military Grosso drug trade”, Comunidad Segura, 19authorities within a year of graduation and begin October 2007, service. On finishing, they could choose to 3 Amnesty International Report 2007.remain within the armed forces as health-service 4 Children and Youth in Organised Armed Violenceofficials for a fixed period.11 (COAV), “Youths with guns, increasingly a part of Reservists could join the Tiros-de-Guerra (TG) life in Brazil’s small towns”, 9 March 2006, units in their own municipalities, doing service while continuing their studies or 5 Marcelo Monteiro, “Study shows that children asjobs. There were more than 200 TGs throughout young as seven are taking part in Rio drug trade”,the country.12 COAV, 7 March 2005. Women were exempt from conscription butcould volunteer for the armed forces. Volunteers 6 “Rio Slums Blighted by Drug Crime”, BBC News, 21 October 2005; “Short lifespan in Rio drugcould do military service from the year they gangs”, BBC News, 25 November 2006.turned 17.13 Brazil’s declaration on ratificationof the Optional Protocol stated that volunteers 7 Amnesty International Report 2006 and 2007.under 17 had to have written parental consent. 8 Decreto No. 57.654, 20 January 1966, Regulamenta a lei do Serviço Militar, Art. 98.2.a.Military training and military schools and Art 166.2.5, branch of the armed forces had its owneducational institutions, both facilities fortraining soldiers and officers, and primary andCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 73
  • 76. 9 Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Programa Seguridad y Ciudadanía, BRUN E I Reporte del Sector Seguridad en América Latina y el Caribe, Informe Nacional: Brasil, August 2006, Brunei Darussalam Ibid. Population: 374,000 (130,000 under 18)11 Exército Brasileiro, O Serviço Militar, www. Government armed forces: 7,000 Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription12 Ibid. Voluntary recruitment age: 17 and a half13 FLACSO, above note 9. Voting age: not applicable14 Ibid. Optional Protocol: not signed15 Regimento Interno dos Colégios Militares, www. Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II16 Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras, Ingresso, The minimum voluntary recruitment age17 Escola Preparatória de Cadetes do Exército, was 17 and a half years, but figures for Manual Candidato EsPCEx 2007, www.espcex. serving under-18s were not available. The armed forces included the Boys’ Wing, in18 Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras, above note which 15- to 17-year-olds could enrol for 16. training.19 Exército Brasileiro, Portal de Educação, Educação Fundamental e Média, Government National recruitment legislation and practice There was no conscription. The minimum age of recruitment into the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) under the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Act was 17 years and 6 months.1 Section 13 of the Act allowed for “eligible young persons” to be enlisted into the armed forces or the reserves regiment “for the purpose of raising and maintaining any unit consisting of or including boy soldiers or boy reservists with written consent from the boy’s parents, person with parental rights and powers or the District Officer”.2 Military training and military schools The armed forces had a Boys’ Wing, to which boys between the ages of 15 and 16 and a half could apply for selection, designed to be the training ground for young soldiers who intended to serve in the RBAF as technical personnel or military officers. Applicants were required to have the consent of their parents and their school principal.3 Those who joined the Boys’ Wing were provided with full-term higher secondary education. They were required to undergo a 26- month basic military training consisting of drills, shooting skills, map reading, first aid, physical training and other preparedness for combat.4 It was unclear whether members of the Boys’ Wing were considered to be part of the armed forces.74 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 77. Developments BULG A R I AOn consideration of Brunei’s initial report to theUN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Republic of BulgariaConvention on the Rights of the Child in 2003, the A—ECommittee had recommended that Brunei ratify Population: 7.7 million (1.4 million under 18)the Optional Protocol.5 Government armed forces: 51,000 Compulsory recruitment age: 18 (conscription1 Ministry of Defence, phased out)2 Initial state party report on the Convention on the Voluntary recruitment age: 18 Rights of the Child, Brunei Darussalam, UN Doc. Voting age: 18 CRC/C/61/Add.5, 13 March 2003. Optional Protocol: ratified 12 February 20023 Training Institute, Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 1824 Training Institute, Royal Brunei Armed Forces; “Passing-out parade of the 26th and 27th intake There were no reports of under-18s in the of Boys’ Wing recruits”, 9 February 2007; both at armed forces. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding observations on initial report Government submitted by Brunei Darussalam, UN Doc. CRC/ C/15/Add.219, 27 October 2003. National recruitment legislation and practice Conscription was provided for in the 1991 constitution, which stated that “To defend the country shall be a duty and a matter of honour of every Bulgarian citizen” (Article 59), and in the Law on Defence and Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria (Article 2). In December 2006 Bulgaria informed the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that “Persons subject to the jurisdiction of the Republic of Bulgaria, who are under 18 years of age, cannot be recruited to serve in the army. According to article 97, paragraph 1, of the Defence and Armed Forces Act of the Republic of Bulgaria, the minimum conscription age is 18, and the maximum conscription age is 27… Bulgarian legislation also provides for the possibility of alternative service (article 84, paragraph 1, of the Defence and Armed Forces Act) … [T]here are no cases of participation in armed conflicts of persons subject to the jurisdiction of the Republic of Bulgaria who are under 18 years of age.”1 Military service lasted nine months, or six months for graduates.2 The minimum age for voluntary recruitment was also 18.3 Around one third of Bulgaria’s military was conscripted.4 A law abolishing military conscription was approved by parliament on 29 June 2006, to take effect on 1 January 2008.5 Military training and military schools Applicants to military colleges had to have a high school diploma, but there were no specific age requirements. Secondary-school graduates under the age of 18 could enter military schools until they were old enough to perform military service.6 In its declaration on ratifying the Optional Protocol in February 2002 BulgariaCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 7
  • 78. stated that “Persons who have not come of ageshall be trained at military schools subject to the BURK I N A FA S Oconclusion of a training agreement to be signedby them with the consent of their parents or Burkina Fasoguardians. Having come of age, the trainees shallsign a training agreement on a regular military Population: 13.2 million (7.2 million under 18)duty.” Government armed forces: 10,800 Compulsory recruitment age: no conscriptionDevelopments Voluntary recruitment age: 18 Voting age: 18In October 2007 the Committee on the Rights Optional Protocol: ratified 6 July 2007of the Child recommended that the government Other treaties ratified (see glossary):explicitly criminalize the recruitment and CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWCinvolvement of children in hostilities in domesticlegislation and ensure extraterritorial jurisdiction There were no reports of under-18s in thefor these crimes when they are committed by oragainst a person who is a citizen of or has other armed forces.links with Bulgaria.7 At a February 2007 ministerial meeting in ContextParis, Bulgaria and 58 other states endorsedthe Paris Commitments to protect children A report by a UN international commission offrom unlawful recruitment or use by armed inquiry mandated to investigate allegationsforces or armed groups and the Paris Principles of serious violations of human rights andand guidelines on children associated with international humanitarian law which occurredarmed forces or armed groups. The documents in Côte d’Ivoire from 19 September 2002 to 15reaffirmed international standards and October 2004 called for the role of neighbouringoperational principles for protecting and assisting states, including Burkina Faso, to be clarified.child soldiers and followed a wide-ranging global It found neighbouring states to be directly orconsultation jointly sponsored by the French indirectly involved, including through armsgovernment and UNICEF. transfers, the use of their territories as rear bases and involvement in a war economy.11 Initial report of Bulgaria to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on implementation of the Government Optional Protocol, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/BGR/1, 23 January 2007. National recruitment legislation and2 Communication from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, practice 18 May 2004. According to the 1991 constitution, “Each citizen3 Initial report of Bulgaria to the Committee on the of Burkina Faso is required to contribute to the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/8/Add.29, 12 , October 1995. defence and preservation of territorial integrity” (Article 10).4 “Bulgaria scraps the draft”, New York Times, 30 Recruitment to the armed forces was June 2006. voluntary. Ordinance No. 84-037/CNR/PRES of5 “Conscription to be dropped off, Bulgarian 17 July 1984, modifying Law No. 49/62/AN, set Armed Forces to become professional”, Bulgarian the minimum age for recruitment into the armed National Radio, 29 June 2006, forces at 20 years. However, Decree No. 2000-6 Communication from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 374/PRES/PM/DEF of 1 September 2000 allowed above note 2. for recruitment from the age of 18, provided that7 Committee on the Rights of the Child, the recruit was unmarried and enjoying full civic Consideration of report submitted by Bulgaria, rights. Recruits reportedly underwent two years Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/ of training before entering into active service.2 BGR/CO/1, 5 October 2007. There were no reports of under-18s in the armed forces. National development service (Service national pour le développement, SND) was compulsory for all Burkinabès aged between 18 and 30. The SND comprised civic education, basic education and vocational training.3 Developments In December 2004 the government wrote to the Child Soldiers Coalition, stating that while76 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 79. members of an Ivorian armed political group, thePatriotic Movement of Côte d’Ivoire (Mouvement BUR U N D Ipatriotique de Côte d’Ivoire, MPCI) might havebeen present temporarily in Burkina Faso at Republic of Burundisome point, they had never received training or A—Emilitary equipment of any sort from the Burkina Population: 7.5 million (4.0 million under 18)government. It also stated that it had repeatedly Government armed forces: 35,000requested the government of Côte d’Ivoire to take Compulsory recruitment age: no conscriptionthe necessary measures to allow members of the Voluntary recruitment age: 16 (see text)Ivorian armed forces who had sought refuge in Voting age: 18Burkina Faso to return home.4 Optional protocol: signed 13 November 2001 (see text)International standards Other treaties ratified (see glossary):In July 2007 Burkina Faso ratified the Optional CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWCProtocol. In its Declaration at the time ofratification, the government stated that the Children were recruited and used by theminimum age for voluntary recruitment intothe armed forces was 18, that recruitment armed opposition group FNL. Governmentwas voluntary, and that proof of age had to be forces continued to use captured childprovided.5 In April 2004 it ratified the Rome soldiers for intelligence-gathering. ScoresStatute of the International Criminal Court. of children accused of membership of or support for the FNL were illegally detained1 Rapport de la Commission d’enquête and some were tortured in detention. internationale sur les allégations de violations des droits de l’homme en Côte d’Ivoire, http:// Context2 Letter received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response to the Child Soldiers Coalition, Global The 2001 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Report 2004, ref: 004675/MAECR/SG/DAM, 22 Agreement for Burundi was the starting point December 2004. for a political transition to end more than a3 Decree No. 99-445/PRES/PM of 7 December decade of civil war. In October 2003 a power- 1999. sharing agreement (Pretoria Agreement) was signed by the government and the opposition4 Letter received from the Ministry of Foreign National Council for the Defence of Democracy Affairs, above note 2. – Forces for the Defence of Democracy (Conseil5 Multilateral treaties deposited with the Secretary- national pour la défense de la démocratie General, Optional Protocol to the Convention on – Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie, Rights of the Child on the involvement of children CNDD-FDD (Nkurunziza)). In November a new, in armed conflict, Declarations and Reservations, inclusive government was established after a second Pretoria agreement granted the forces of both sides immunity from prosecution.1 In 2005 the CNDD-FDD won parliamentary and local administrative elections. Pierre Nkurunziza, head of the CNDD-FDD, was elected president in August 2005.2 Fighting between government forces and the one remaining armed group, the National Liberation Forces (Forces Nationales de Libération, FNL), continued sporadically. In June 2006 the government and the FNL signed an agreement on the restoration of peace and security. In September the same year a Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement between the two parties set a date for the cessation of hostilities and established army integration and demobilization procedures. The agreement created a joint verification and monitoring mechanism (JVMM) and an African Union special task force to protect FNL leaders and move combatants to assembly areas. The process stalled repeatedly, however. In March 2007 the FNL suspended participation in the JVMM until various demands were met,CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 77
  • 80. including the release of political prisoners and the death penalty for those found guilty of theFNL incorporation into political institutions. offence.9In July, following further negotiations, the FNL In October 2005 the Senate and Nationaldelegation left the capital, saying that it would Assembly issued a statement calling on thenot return until army repression of its members armed forces to stop using children as porters.10had ceased and agreement was reached on Government soldiers and police regularly usedits political status. The security situation former FNL fighters, including children, to identifydeteriorated after the ceasefire agreement, with suspected members of the FNL in 2006.11a reported upsurge in torture, arbitrary arrestand detention of children by government security Child recruitment and deploymentforces, and an increase in incidents of rape andother sexual violence by FNL members.3 FNDD-CDD (Nkrunziza) The United Nations peacekeeping operation The FNDD-CDD (Nkrunziza), which joined the(Opération des Nations Unies au Burundi, ONUB) transitional government at the end of 2003,was deployed in June 2004, replacing the African reportedly continued to recruit children for civilMission in Burundi (AMIB). It was mandated, defence militias in 2004.12 Recruitment by theinter alia, to support the country’s national CNDD-FDD (Nkrunziza) was reported in refugeedisarmament, demobilization and reintegration camps in Tanzania as late as September 2004,(DDR) process, initiated in 2003, and to ensure and at the end of that year they and otherhuman rights promotion and protection, armed political groups were reported still toespecially with regard to women, children and be demanding financial contributions from theother vulnerable persons.4 On 1 January 2007 refugee population.13ONUB was replaced by a UN Integrated Officein Burundi (Bureau Intégré des Nations Uniesau Burundi, BINUB), mandated to support the Armed groupsgovernment in its efforts towards long-termpeace and stability.5 FNL From November 2003 the FNL was the onlyGovernment remaining active armed group in Burundi. In 2004 it was reported to be forcibly recruiting andNational recruitment legislation and using children for frontline duties, to transport ammunition, to carry wounded or dead and forpractice intelligence-gathering activities.14 RecruitmentThe February 2005 constitution stated that no continued into 2006, and intensified in Junechild could be used in direct combat and that the and July, although this appeared to be linked toprotection of children during an armed conflict peace negotiations and the prospect of rapidshould be assured (Article 45). The constitution demobilization packages for new recruits. Thedid not define the age of majority, but the latter reportedly included street children fromConvention on the Rights of the Child and other Bujumbura Mairie province, and there wereinternational human rights treaties ratified by anecdotal reports of recruitment through raidsthe government were incorporated into it (Article on schools by FNL members. Some captured19). In its 1998 initial report to the UN Committee child soldiers said that they had been promisedon the Rights of the Child on implementing cars and other luxury goods if they enlisted.15the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the A further upsurge of recruitment was reportedgovernment stated that recruitment into the immediately after the September 2006 ceasefirearmed forces “is set at between 16 and 25 years agreement, and some children reported beingand that in practice that limit is 18 years and asked to pay to enlist voluntarily in the FNL. Morethe recruit must have a primary-school leaving than 48 schoolchildren were recruited in Bururicertificate”.6 The 2004 armed forces law stated and Ngozi provinces in April and May 2007.16that recruitment was voluntary (Article 37), butno minimum recruitment age was specified.7A revised criminal code was awaiting approval Disarmament, demobilizationby the National Assembly in October 2007. Itdefined the military recruitment of children below and reintegration (DDR)the age of 16 as a war crime and raised the age of A DDR program for children recruited and usedcriminal responsibility from 13 to 15.8 during the armed conflict began in 2003 under Legislation punishing and preventing the the auspices of a government national structurecrime of genocide, crimes against humanity and for child soldiers, with implementation supportwar crimes came into force in May 2003. The from UNICEF.17 A National Commission to managelaw defined the conscription of children under the country’s DDR program was subsequently15 into national armed forces and their use in established but did not begin work untilactive hostilities as a war crime. It provided for September 2005.18 By June 2006 some 3,000 children had been demobilized from the former78 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 81. government’s armed forces, the government- The official version of events was that he hadbacked Peace Guardian militias, and all armed been shot either as he attempted to flee or inopposition groups except the FNL. The majority crossfire, although evidence at the scene stronglyof those who took part in the program returned suggested he had been extrajudicially farm and fish in their local communities, but No investigation into his death was carried out.30 A—Enearly 600 returned to school. Some 1,800 formerchild soldiers received occupational training.Health care was provided for those with special Developmentsneeds and psychosocial support was provided The National Assembly on 28 January 2005through individual and group meetings.19 approved ratification of the Optional ProtocolConcerns were expressed over the lack of to the Convention on the Rights of the Child oninitiatives to prevent future recruitment and the involvement of children in armed conflict.the fact that many returning child soldiers were However, the instruments of ratification had notnearing the age of majority, with adult concerns been deposited with the UN at the end of Octoberand responsibilities. The lack of programs to 2007.facilitate sustainable reintegration was also At a February 2007 ministerial meeting innoted as a flaw in the DDR process.20 Paris, Burundi and 58 other states endorsed In April 2006 the government assembled the Paris Commitments to protect childrenseveral hundred FNL fighters at a “welcome from unlawful recruitment or use by armedcentre” in Randa, Bubanza province, in forces or armed groups and the Paris Principlespreparation for demobilization. By March and guidelines on children associated with2007 preparations for the demobilization of an armed forces or armed groups. The documentsestimated 500 FNL child soldiers from Randa reaffirmed international standards andwere under way.21 The children in Randa were operational principles for protecting and assistingtransferred to a transit centre for demobilized FNL child soldiers and followed a wide-ranging globalfighters in Gitega in November 2006 and their consultation jointly sponsored by the Frenchparents were traced. By 10 March 2007 all the government and UNICEF.children had been reunited with their families.22 The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed ConflictOther treatment of child soldiers visited Burundi in March 2007. She commendedAfter taking office in August 2005, government the government for its progress on the DDR offorces targeted real or suspected FNL supporters, children, but said that more needed to be donearresting, torturing and even summarily to protect children in detention and called for theexecuting those suspected of belonging to release of FNL child soldiers.31 The FNL was listedor supporting the FNL.23 Although the age as a party recruiting and using child soldiers inof criminal responsibility was 13, children as the Secretary-General’s annual reports betweenyoung as nine were detained on suspicion of 2002 and 2008.collaborating with the FNL. Over 170 cases ofdetention of alleged FNL child soldiers were 1 Amnesty International (AI), Burundi: Childreported to ONUB between November 2005 and soldiers – the challenge of demobilization, MarchJuly 2006.24 In early 2007, 51 FNL child soldiers, 2004.including one aged 14, were in detention.25 2 Report of the Secretary-General on Children andCaptured child soldiers were reportedly severely Armed Conflict in Burundi, UN Doc. S/2006/851,beaten in detention, some with metal bars and 27 October 2006.hammers. Some were denied medical attention 3 Report of the Secretary-General on Children anduntil human rights groups intervened on their Armed Conflict in Burundi, UN Doc. S/2007/686,behalf.26 Captured child soldiers injured during 28 November 2007; International Crisis Groupcombat were also denied medical treatment (ICG), Burundi: Finalising Peace with the FNL, 28while in detention.27 In February 2007 the August 2007.Minister of National Solidarity was reported to 4 UN Security Council Resolution 1545, Thehave declared that all children accused of FNL Situation in Burundi, UN Doc. S/RES/1545participation would be released.28 More than 67 (2004), 21 May 2004.children detained at Mpimba prison for alleged 5 UN Security Council Resolution 1719, Theassociation with FNL were released in March.29 Situation in Burundi, UN Doc: S/RES/1719 Ramazani Nahimana, aged 16, was detained (2006), 25 October November 2005 by the state intelligence 6 Initial report of Burundi to the UN Committee onagency after being identified by a former FNL the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/3/Add.58,combatant as a member of the FNL youth wing, 31 July 1998.the Patriotic Hutu Youth (Jeunesse patriotique 7 Loi No.1/019 du 31 décembre 2004 portanthutu, JPH). He was reportedly severely beaten Création, Organisation, Missions, Composition etduring his detention and was subsequently Fonctionnement de la force de Défense Nationale.shot dead in the Kinama district of Bujumbura.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 7
  • 82. © Coalition 2006Drawing by a former child soldier of the armed group National Liberation Forces, Burundi80 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 83. 8 “Burundi: Government committed to child protection”, UN press release, 13 March 2007, C AM B O D I A; Human Rights Watch (HRW), Paying the Price – Violations of the Kingdom of Cambodia Rights of Children in Burundi, March 2007. A—E9 Loi No. 1/004 du 8 mai 2003, portant Répression Population: 14.1 million (6.2 million under 18) du Crime de Génocide, des Crimes contre Government armed forces: 124,300 l’Humanité et des Crimes de Guerre. Compulsory recruitment age: 1810 Child Soldiers Coalition meeting with the Voluntary recruitment age: 18 (see text) President of the Senate, Bujumbura, October Voting age: 18 2005. Optional Protocol: ratified 16 July 200411 HRW, A Long Way from Home: FNL Child Soldiers Other treaties ratified (see glossary): in Burundi, June 2006. CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 18212 Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, UN Doc. A/59/695-S/2005/72, 9 Although there were no reports of February 2005. under-18s being recruited or used, the13 AI, “Burundi: refugee rights at risk: human rights abuses in returns to and from Burundi”, AI Index: recruitment and use of children as soldiers AFR 16/006/2005, 27 June 2005. was not specifically criminalized in14 Amnesty International (AI), “Burundi: child national legislation. soldiers – the challenge of demobilisation”, AI Index: AFR 16/011/2004, 24 March 2004.15 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 2. Context16 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 3. Child labour was still widespread, with more17 “Ex-combatants in Burundi: Why they joined, than half of Cambodian children aged under why they left, how they fared”, Multi Country 14 being put to work, despite a national legal Demobilization and Reintegration Program minimum working age of 15.1 The Extraordinary (MDRP), Working Paper No. 3, October 2007, at Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) was established in 2006 to bring to trial those18 Action Aid, “BINUB: Good governance, security responsible for serious crimes committed during sector reform and enhancing human rights the Khmer Rouge period.2 – establishing priorities”, October 2006, www. Report of the Secretary-General, above note 2. Government20 Confidential source, May 2006. National recruitment legislation and21 World Bank, MDRP, practice22 Information provided by MDRP World Bank The constitution provided that “The State shall country office, November 2007. protect the rights of children as stipulated in the23 Children and armed conflict, Report of the Convention on Children, in particular, the right to Secretary-General, UN Doc. A/61/529- life, education, protection during wartime, and … S/2006/826, 26 October 2006; HRW, “Warning shall protect children from acts that are injurious signs: continuing abuses in Burundi”, 27 February 2006. to their educational opportunities, health and welfare” (Article 48).24 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 2. According to the government’s initial report25 Confidential source, April 2007. to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child,26 HRW, above note 23. under-18s were not accepted for military service.327 HRW, above note 11. The Law on General Statutes for the Military28 HRW, above note 8. Personnel of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces29 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 2. contained separate provisions for regular military personnel and those serving fixed-term contracts.30 HRW, above note 23. It stipulated that those on contracts should be31 “UN Special Representative commends at least 18 (Article 42), but did not expressly demobilization of child soldiers in Burundi”, stipulate a minimum age for other military ReliefWeb, 27 March 2007, personnel.4 In October 2006 the National Assembly passed a new law on compulsory military service, requiring all Cambodian men aged 18–30 to register and, if required, to serve 18 months in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.5 The law also provided for prison sentences of up to five years for men who refused to join up.6 A similarCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 81
  • 84. law had been rejected in 1996.7 Critics of the new Forces during Cambodia’s civil war in the yearslaw accused the government of using military following the end of the Khmer Rouge period inservice to hide growing unemployment figures.8 1979.13As of October 2007, regulations to establish The second phase of the government’sregistration and call-up procedures had yet to be US$42 million donor-assisted demobilizationfinalized, and no conscription had taken place. program, which had commenced in 1999 and was suspended indefinitely in 2003 after theMilitary training and military schools World Bank identified irregularities in the useCambodia operated several military schools, of funds, was not resumed. In total, 16,500 ofalthough full details of their structure and a planned 31,500 soldiers, most of whom wereoperation were not clear. Four levels of old, sick or disabled, had been demobilizedprofessional military education were set out in under the program before it was suspended.14a Defence White Paper in 2000. Comprehensive The program did not include a component forrecruit training was to be provided by the demobilization or reintegration of those whocommanders in each military region, with were under 18 when recruited.emphasis placed on physical training and sport. In October 2006 the government announcedThe Junior Officer School would develop courses its intention to reduce the size of the army byon discipline and humanitarian law for all a further 40,000, to a total of 70,000 troops.15newly commissioned officers. A command and There was reported to have been an attempt tostaff course would provide training to middle- identify former child soldiers for demobilization,ranking officers. Finally, a senior officer training but there was no follow-up action taken orprogram would be provided at the Officers’ further available information.16 The government’sAcademy.9 However, an updated Defence White 2006 Defence White Paper stated that CategoryPaper in 2006 acknowledged that the control of II soldiers (the disabled, the elderly and theeducational institutions for career soldiers was chronically ill) would again constitute the“in disarray”, and announced a new series of principal group for discharge over the next fivereforms intended to reorganize and modernize years.17military training. The 2006 White Paper alsonoted the important and extensive role in Developmentstraining new recruits played by the Army Non-commissioned Officers’ School, now planned to At a February 2007 ministerial meeting in Paris,be brought under the Army Training Centre.10 Cambodia and 58 other states endorsed the Paris It was not clear whether students at the Commitments to protect children from unlawfulvarious military schools were considered active recruitment or use by armed forces or armedmembers of the military and what, if any, military groups and the Paris Principles and guidelines ontraining was given to students below the age children associated with armed forces or armedof 18. The law did not set a lower age limit for groups. The documents reaffirmed internationalregular military personnel, but the duration of standards and operational principles fortraining courses at military schools would appear protecting and assisting child soldiers andto preclude students from being selected to join followed a wide-ranging global consultationmilitary ranks before the age of 18.11 jointly sponsored by the French government and UNICEF.Child recruitment and deployment Extraordinary Chambers in the CourtsThe recruitment and use of children as soldierswas not specifically criminalized in national of Cambodia (ECCC)legislation. In October 2004 Cambodia ratified its May Recruitment of children as soldiers and 2003 agreement with the UN to establish acadres had been very common in the Khmer criminal tribunal to bring to justice suspectedRouge period (1975–9), with evidence of children perpetrators of serious human rights violationsas young as five being trained as cadres.12 It during the period of Khmer Rouge rule (1975–9).was not known whether the prosecutors’ office The ECCC was established in 2006, its judicialof the ECCC would seek to bring charges either work being formally launched in July with theagainst former child soldiers or in relation to their swearing in of judicial officers.18 The tribunal wasrecruitment. based on a mixed model with both Cambodian and international judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers, and a voting system designedDisarmament, demobilization to ensure that every decision had the support ofand reintegration (DDR) both Cambodian and international judges.19 From its inception the ECCC was subject toBoth non-governmental organizations (NGOs) repeated delays and dogged by accusations ofand UN bodies reported many cases of under- politicization and corruption, but by June 2007age recruitment by the Royal Cambodian Armed two obstacles to progress had been removed with82 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 85. the unanimous adoption of ECCC internal rules20 19 Khmer Rouge Trial Task Force, “An Introductionand measures to facilitate the participation to the Khmer Rouge Trials”, August 2004, www.of foreign defence lawyers.21 The first suspect arrested and charged with crimes against index.htm.humanity in July 2007.22 20 ECCC, above note 2, Internal Rules, 12 June 2007. A—E 21 “Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge tribunal still at risk:International standards UN judge”, ABC Radio Australia, 24 March 2007.In July 2004 Cambodia ratified the Optional 22 ECCC, above note 2, Statement of the Co-Protocol, referring in its declaration to Article 42 investigating Judges, 31 July 2007.of the Law on General Statutes for the Military 23 Declaration on accession to the OptionalPersonnel of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, Protocol, set 18 as the minimum age for contractual-service military personnel.23 Cambodia ratified the ILO Worst Forms ofChild Labour Convention 182 in March 2006.1 “Child labour still rampant in Cambodia: UNICEF”, ABC News, 12 June 2006.2 Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), Initial report of Cambodia to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/11/ Add.16, 24 June 1998.4 Law on General Statutes for the Military Personnel of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (1997), “Lawmakers OK military conscription”, Cambodia Daily, 26 October 2006.6 “Cambodia defies int’l donors with military conscription”, China Post, 26 October 2006.7 “Cambodia introduces conscription”, CO Update, November 2006, War Resisters International, “Cambodia votes for conscription”, BBC News, 25 October 2006.9 Defending the Kingdom of Cambodia, Royal Government of Cambodia Defence White Paper, August 2000, whitepapers/Cambodia-2000.pdf.10 Defending the Kingdom of Cambodia, Royal Government of Cambodia Defence White Paper, August 2006.11 Ibid.12 Child Soldiers in Cambodia, LICADHO (Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights) Briefing Paper, June 1998, www.licadho. org.13 A Survey of Programs on the Reintegration of Former Child Soldiers, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, 30 March 2001, Ian C. Porter, World Bank Country Director, “World Bank defends role in demob process”, letter, Phnom Penh Post, 22 April–5 May 2005, “Cambodia to downsize troops by 40,000”, Xinhua, 16 October 2006.16 Confidential source, October 2007.17 Defending the Kingdom of Cambodia, above note 10.18 Annual report on achievements of the ECCC for 2006, SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 83
  • 86. C A MEROON C ANA DARepublic of Cameroon CanadaPopulation: 16.3 million (7.9 million under 18) Population: 32.3 million (7.0 million under 18)Government armed forces: 14,100 Government armed forces: 62,500Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription Compulsory recruitment age: no conscriptionVoluntary recruitment age: 18; under 18 with Voluntary recruitment age: 16parental consent Voting age: 18Voting age: 20 Optional Protocol: ratified 7 July 2000Optional Protocol: signed 5 October 2001 Other treaties ratified (see glossary):Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 182CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWC Sixteen- and 17-year-olds continued to beThere were no reports of under-18s in the recruited into the armed forces.armed forces. GovernmentContext National recruitment legislation andThere was an increased spill-over of insecurityand refugees from the Central African Republic practicein mid-2007, and Cameroon sent troops from Recruitment into the Canadian armed forcesits Rapid Intervention Battalion to its eastern was entirely voluntary under the terms of theregions.1 National Defence Act. Most Canadian Forces programs permitted enrolment at 17, although 16-year-olds could enrol in the Regular OfficerGovernment Training Plan (Junior Program) and the reserves.1 As of July 2007, 139 16- and 17-year-olds wereNational recruitment legislation and serving in the regular Canadian armed forces,practice and 2,194 16- and 17-year-olds were enrolledPresidential Decree No. 94/185 (September in the reserves.2 Those serving in the Canadian1994), concerning non-officer military personnel, Forces under the age of 18 were permitted toset the minimum recruitment age at 18 (Article leave the forces at any time without penalty.11); recruitment was on a voluntary basis.2 In April However, those who had entered the Regular2001 Cameroon reported to the UN Committee Officer Training Program under the age of 18on the Rights of the Child that there was no could be required to repay their educational costsconscription in Cameroon. The government also should they choose to leave after a year’s service.stated that no child under the age of 18 might Under the National Defence Act, “members ofbe recruited into the armed forces, gendarmerie the Canadian Forces who have not yet reachedor police force, except with parental consent.3 the age of 18 may not be deployed to any theatreNo information was available on the number of of hostilities, or indeed, any area where armedrecruits under the age of 18 in the security forces. combat is a possibility. The Canadian Forces also do not permit persons under the age of 18 to1 International Crisis Group (ICG), CrisisWatch No. be deployed in any domestic emergency where 47, 1 July 2007, weapon use cannot be ruled out.”32 Bart Horeman and Marc Stolwijk, Refusing to Military training and military schools bear arms: A world survey of conscription and conscientious objection to military service, War Canada’s Royal Military College is operated and Resisters International, 1998, managed by the Canadian Forces. However, the3 Initial report of Cameroon to the UN Committee government does not regard it as being bound on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/28/ by the restrictions on the age of recruitment Add.16, 26 March 2001. required by Article 3 of the Optional Protocol.4 In June 2006 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child asked the government to “provide further information on the status of children attending the Royal Military College, particularly as to whether they are considered as just civilian students of a military college or already as military recruits”.584 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 87. At a February 2007 ministerial meeting inDevelopments Paris, Canada and 58 other states endorsedOmar Ahmed Khadr, a Canadian national, the Paris Commitments to protect childrenwas taken into US custody in Afghanistan in from unlawful recruitment or use by armedlate July 2002 when he was 15 years old, and forces or armed groups and the Paris Principles A—Esubsequently transferred to the US naval base and guidelines on children associated withGuantánamo, Cuba. In November 2005 he was armed forces or armed groups. The documentscharged for trial by military commission under reaffirmed international standards anda military order signed by President George W. operational principles for protecting and assistingBush in November 2001. The military commission child soldiers and followed a wide-ranging globalsystem was replaced by a revised system under consultation jointly sponsored by the Frenchthe 2006 Military Commissions Act (MCA). In government and UNICEF.April 2007 Omar Khadr was charged under theMCA with murder and attempted murder in 1 Initial report of Canada to the UN Committee onviolation of the law of war, conspiracy, providing the Rights of the Child on implementation of thematerial support for terrorism, and spying.6 In Optional Protocol, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/CAN/1,June 2007 a military judge dismissed the charges 29 July 2005.against Khadr on a jurisdictional question.7 On 2 Government Response to the Standing Senate24 September 2007 a newly established Court Committee on Human Rights Report, “Children:of Military Commission Review overturned the the silenced citizens – effective implementationruling, allowing proceedings against Khadr to of Canada’s obligations with respect to the rightscontinue. of children”, tabled in the Canadian Senate on 16 In connection with a concern about rules November 2007.and procedures regarding the capture of 3 Initial report, above note 1.persons under the age of 18 in the context of the 4 Ibid.International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) 5 Committee on the Rights of the Child,mission in Afghanistan, the UN Committee Consideration of report submitted by Canadaon the Rights of the Child expressed concern on implementation of the Optional Protocol,in June 2006 about “the lack of information Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/about measures taken to ensure that captured CAN/CO/1, 9 June 2006.persons below 18 are treated in accordance 6 Charge sheet available at international standards of human rights 7 At his arraignment proceedings in Guantánamoand humanitarian law when transferred to on 4 June 2007, the military judge dismissed theother national authorities”. The Committee charges against him because, while Omar Khadrrecommended that the government ensure that had been designated as an “enemy combatant”transfers of such detained persons to national in Guantánamo, nowhere was there a recordauthorities only take place when “there is a of his designation as an “unlawful enemyreason to believe that their human rights will combatant”, the label which (when attached tobe respected and as long as the State party is a non-US national) is a prerequisite for trial bysatisfied that the receiving State is willing and military commission under the to apply the Geneva Conventions”. Noting 8 Concluding observations, above note 5.that Canada exported small arms and light 9 Ibid.weapons, the Committee recommended that “theState party ensure that its domestic legislationand practice prohibit in any case the trade ofsmall arms and light weapons to countries wherepersons who have not attained the age of 18may take a direct part in hostilities as membersof their armed forces or armed groups that aredistinct from the armed forces of a State”.8 With regard to dissemination of the OptionalProtocol, the Committee urged the governmentto “strengthen education and training in alldomestic languages on the provisions of theOptional Protocol for all relevant professionalgroups, in particular military personnel”. It waslikewise suggested that the Optional Protocol bemade “widely known to the public at large and inparticular to children and their parents, through,inter alia, school curricula in a child-friendlyversion”.9CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 8
  • 88. C A PE vERDE C ARIB B E A NRepublic of Cape Verde Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint VincentPopulation: 507,000 (238,000 under 18) and the Grenadines (see individual entriesGovernment armed forces: 1,200 for Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba,Compulsory recruitment age: 18 Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and TrinidadVoluntary recruitment age: 17 and Tobago)Voting age: 18Optional Protocol: acceded 10 May 2002 Population: 505,000Other treaties ratified (see glossary): Government armed forces: see textCRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 182, ACRWC Compulsory recruitment age: not applicable Voluntary recruitment age: 18–1917-year-olds could volunteer for military Voting age: 18service with parental consent. No Optional Protocol: Dominica acceded 20information was available on the presence September 2002of under-18s in the armed forces. Other treaties ratified (see glossary): Dominica: CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182Government Grenada: CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182National recruitment legislation and Saint Kitts and Nevis: CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILOpractice 138, ILO 182 Saint Lucia: CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 182Under the 1992 constitution, all individuals “shall Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: CRC, GC AP Ihave the duty to contribute to the defence of thenation” (Article 83). The constitution also stated and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182that “Military service shall be compulsory” andthat “Conscientious objectors and those who Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia andare unfit for military service shall perform civic Saint Vincent and the Grenadines hadservice, as provided by law” (Article 271). no military forces; security was the Military service, reportedly for two years, was responsibility of their police forces. Saintcompulsory for all men aged between 18 and Kitts and Nevis had a small military force35.1 Volunteers could enlist at the age of 17, withparental consent.2 that patrolled jointly with the police. There In its declaration on accession to the Optional were no reports of under-18s in theseProtocol in 2002, Cape Verde stated that “the security forces.minimum age for special voluntary recruitmentinto the Cape Verdean armed forces is 17 years inaccordance with article 31 of Legislative Decree GovernmentNo. 6/93 of 24 May 1993”, and that “Specialrecruitment shall apply to citizens, who of National recruitment legislation andtheir own freely expressed will, decide to enter practicemilitary service subject to meeting the following The police force in Dominica, Grenada, Saintrequirements: (a) They must have attained the Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadinesminimum age of 17 years; (b) They must have was each country’s sole security force. Nonethe consent of their parents or legal guardians; maintained military armed forces, although(c) They must be mentally and physically fit for the police forces carried out a range of securitymilitary service.”3 duties and the police force in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines included a coastguard and a1 B. Horeman and M. Stolwijk, Refusing to Bear special unit with paramilitary training. The police Arms: A World Survey of Conscription and force in Dominica had around 400 officers, in Conscientious Objection to Military Service, War Grenada about 750, and in Saint Vincent and the Resisters International, London, 1998, www.wri- Grenadines approximately 850.1 Saint Kitts and Nevis had a defence force2 Initial report by Cape Verde to UN Committee consisting of an infantry unit and a coastguard.2 on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/11/ Its police force could also be employed for Add.23, 9 January 2001; summary record of the defence against external aggression.3 746th meeting: Cape Verde, UN Doc. CRC/C/ Recruitment to the security forces was SR.746, 7 November 2000. voluntary. In Dominica and Saint Lucia, the3 Declaration by Cape Verde on acceding to the minimum age for recruitment to the police force Optional Protocol, 10 May 2002, was 18.4 In Grenada and in Saint Vincent and86 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 89. the Grenadines the minimum age was 19.5 The 4 Initial report of Dominica to the Committee onminimum age for recruitment to the defence or the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/8/Add.48,police forces in Saint Kitts and Nevis was 18.6 15 October 2003; Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, Training information, training and military schools 5 Royal Grenada Police Force, Training School; A—EIn Grenada police officers received 18 weeks’ Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,training at the Police Training School.7 In Saint Service Commissions, the cadet corps, a paramilitary youth 6 CIA, above note 1; Saint Kitts and Nevis, 2003organization, enrolled around 180 members in Police Act.2005 and developed new units in all secondary 7 Royal Grenada Police Force, Training School.schools and the community college in 2006.8 8 “St Lucia Cadet Corps on recruitment drive”,A focus of its activities in 2006 was training in Caribbean Net News, 9 October 2006, www.emergency and disaster relief.9 In Saint Vincent the Grenadines a small cadet unit formed 9 Government of Saint Lucia, “Cadet Corps topart of the police force.10 attend Disaster Management Training”, press In Saint Kitts and Nevis secondary-school release, 15 March 2006, of 13 years and above could join the cadet 10 US Department of State, Country Reports oncorps, which was organized by the defence forces Human Rights Practices 2003.but could not be used in military operations. 11 Conway, above note 2.The defence forces conducted basic training of 12 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child,troops, and advanced training was provided by Consideration of initial report submitted byregional, Canadian, UK and US armed forces.11 Dominica, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.238, 30 June 2004.Developments 13 Initial report of Saint Lucia to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/28/In June 2004 the UN Committee on the Rights Add.23, 13 October 2004.of the Child recommended that Dominica 14 Committee on the Rights of the Child,improve its birth registration system, develop its Consideration of initial report submitted by Saintnational plan of action for youth and ensure that Lucia, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/children defined in Dominica as “young persons” C/15/Add.258, 21 September 2005.between the ages of 14 and 18 received the sameprotection as those under the age of 14 definedas “children”.12 The government of Saint Lucia reported to theCommittee on the Rights of the Child in 2004 thatit worked with civil society groups to advance theissue of child rights and had designated 2003–4as the Year of the Child.13 In September 2005the Committee recommended ratification of theOptional Protocol.14International standardsSaint Kitts and Nevis ratified the ILO MinimumAge Convention 138 in June 2005 and the RomeStatute of the International Criminal Court inAugust 2006. Saint Vincent and the Grenadinesratified the ILO Minimum Age Convention 138 inJuly 2006.1 Matthias Lestrade, “Crime Management and Challenges in the 21st Century”, National Symposium on Crime – Commonwealth of Dominica, 2003,; Royal Grenada Police Force,; CIA, World Factbook 2007 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines).2 Stanford Conway, “SKNDF: Over a Century and Counting”, St Kitts–Nevis Observer, 21 October 2005,; CIA, above note 1.3 Saint Kitts and Nevis, 2003 Police Act, www. SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 87
  • 90. In the remote and marginalized north-C E NTR AL AFRIC AN east, the Union of Democratic Forces (UFDR) was mostly active in Vakaga province. It wasR E PUBLIC composed of General Bozizé’s own former supporters and members of the Gula ethnicCentral African Republic group, who claimed long-standing ethnic discrimination by the government.5 In SeptemberPopulation: 4.0 million (2.0 million under 18) and October 2006 the UFDR seized controlGovernment armed forces: 3,200 of several towns, prompting French militaryCompulsory recruitment age: 18 assistance to government forces in DecemberVoluntary recruitment age: 18 2006. The French military intervened once again in an air strike, in which 15 children wereVoting age: 18 reportedly killed, following a UFDR attack onOptional Protocol: not signed Birao in March 2007.6 Birao’s estimated 14,000Other treaties ratified (see glossary): inhabitants fled and 70 per cent of houses wereCRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 thought to have been burned down following the recapture of Birao.7 In April 2007 a peaceThe opposition Popular Army for the agreement was signed between the governmentRestoration of the Republic and Democracy and the UFDR chief of staff, Damané Zakaria, only(APRD) and the Union of Democratic Forces to be rejected by the jailed UFDR leader, Abakar(UFDR) used children in hostilities which Saboune.8 The majority of human rights abuses againstbroke out in early 2005. Both expressed civilians in the north-west were attributedwillingness to demobilize their child to government forces, in particular the GP.soldiers, but only the UFDR had officially Attacks on government forces by the APRD wereentered a disarmament, demobilization typically followed by reprisals against the civilian population by the FACA and the GP. By Septemberand reintegration (DDR) process by 2007 hundreds of summary executions,October 2007. Children were thought to be extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearancespresent in government armed forces, but and rapes of civilians had taken place. In additionwere not believed to be actively involved in the FACA and the GP burned tens of thousands ofhostilities. houses, leading to mass internal displacement.9 By August 2007, 180,000 people were internally displaced in the north-west.10 Human rightsContext violations were also committed by the FACA and the GP in the north-east against the Gula ethnicGeneral François Bozizé won the May 2005 group.11 As of August 2007, 30,000 people wereelections after seizing power in a coup against internally displaced in the region.12 By SeptemberPresident Ange-Félix Patassé in March 2003. 2007 a total of approximately 212,000 peopleFrom May 2005 hostilities were ongoing in the had fled their homes in the north-west and north-north-western and north-eastern provinces east to take refuge in the bush. Another 80,000between the government Central African Armed sought refuge in Chad, Cameroon and southForces (Forces armées Centrafricaines, FACA) and Darfur, Sudan.13the Presidential Guard (Garde présidentielle, GP), The situation in the CAR was exacerbatedand various armed opposition groups.1 by regional conflict and instability. Chadian In the north-west, ex-president Patassé’s government troops regularly conductedtraditional stronghold, the Popular Army for cross-border raids into the CAR, attackingthe Restoration of the Republic and Democracy CAR opposition groups, looting villages and(Armée Populaire pour la Restauration de la raping women and girls. Chadian banditsRépublique et la Démocratie, APRD) launched were implicated in criminal groups, includingattacks on the government almost immediately zaraguinas, attacking people in the north of thefollowing the May 2005 elections. The APRD country. The APRD and the UFDR recruited andwas composed of former members of Patassé’s used children in their forces, and engaged inPresidential Guard and local armed self-defence widespread extortion, kidnappings and beatingsgroups,2 established in response to the failure of the civilian population. UFDR members killedof government forces to protect the local captured civilians.14population from bandits (known as zaraguinas),who commonly attacked civilians and kidnappedchildren repeatedly for ransom.3 In January 2007the APRD launched a failed attack on the town ofPaoua, resulting in further casualties and civiliandisplacement. Conflict between the APRD and thegovernment continued in 2007.488 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 91. stated that many were armed and participatedGovernment in combat. They claimed that many childrenNational recruitment legislation and joined the APRD voluntarily, for protection from government forces.20practice A—EThe 1994 constitution provided for (male-only) Union of Democratic Forces (UFDR)conscription or voluntary recruitment into the The UFDR forcibly recruited children, andgovernment armed forces at 18. Conscription was witnesses reported seeing child soldiers with thenot enforced and there was no legislation relating UFDR in the October–November 2006 child soldiers.15 An inter-agency UN mission reported seeing Neither the constitution nor the criminal code children in UFDR ranks in January 2007. The UFDRcriminalized child recruitment or use. The CAR reportedly used civilians, including young girls,was, however, a party to the Rome Statute of to cook or to transport looted goods.21 Duringthe International Criminal Court (ICC), and the UFDR attacks on the FACA in March 2007, formerconstitution stated that international law took students at the Birao government secondary-precedence over national law and policy. There school were identified among its troops. Manywere moves to reform the criminal code to bring of the children, aged 12 to 17 and most of themit in line with the Rome Statute and to introduce boys, who had participated in the attacks, werea military justice code, which would hold military killed.22personnel criminally liable for serious humanrights violations.16 Disarmament, demobilizationChild recruitment and use and reintegration (DDR)Children were thought to be present in theFACA and the GP but not actively engaged in An adult DDR program, administered by the UNthe current armed conflict, in contrast to the Development Programme (UNDP), was in place2002–3 conflict when large numbers of children from February 2004 to end-February 2007,23were reportedly actively involved.17 Documents with the aim, among others, of integrating ex-providing proof of age of recruits enlisting in the combatants into the national armed forces. Ofarmed forces were checked by recruiters when more than 7,500 combatants who went throughavailable. However, central government records the process, only 26 children, most of them boys,had been destroyed or looted during the 2002–3 were included.24 UNICEF was not involved in thearmed conflict, and no one whose records had process.been lost could obtain copies. The government In February 2007 the APRD told the non-stated that recruiters should use common sense governmental organization (NGO) Human Rightsand ask children questions that would reveal Watch that they would demobilize child soldierswhether they were really 18. If a child joined the immediately, as long as their security could bearmed forces, he was treated as an adult. There guaranteed.25 In March and June 2007 the APRDwere no reports available that any recruiters or requested assistance from the UN country teamothers had been subject to disciplinary measures in a children’s DDR procedure. However, by lateor other sanctions for recruiting children.18 2007 it was not clear that progress had been made, and formal negotiations were hampered by insecurity in the north-western region.26Armed groupsThe number of children in the APRD and the UFDR UFDRwas unknown, but both groups recruited and In April and May 2007 more than 450 childrenused child soldiers. Until May 2007 both groups associated with the UFDR were demobilized, allrefused to recognize 15–18-year-olds as children, of whom were subsequently reintegrated intobut they subsequently accepted that they had their communities and families. Some 75 per centchildren in their ranks and said that they were of this group were boys aged between 13 andwilling to discuss the demobilization of children 17, and 75 per cent had participated in militarybelow the age of 15. Reports indicated that both operations and combat for sustained periodsthe UFDR and the APDR recruited Chadian and that averaged from nine months to a year. SomeSudanese children. Children in the north-east of 10 per cent of the children were as young asthe CAR were also reportedly forcibly recruited by ten, and were used mainly for logistical supportChadian armed groups.19 during 2006 and early 2007.27 On 16 June 2007 a tripartite action plan between the UFDR, thePopular Army for the Restoration of government and UNICEF to allow children to bethe Republic and Democracy (APRD) reintegrated was signed and another group of approximately 200 children was released.28 ItThere were large numbers of child soldiers in the was claimed that by September 2007 the lastAPRD ranks. APRD commanders confirmed the remaining 450–500 children were released intouse of children as young as 12 in their forces, andCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 89
  • 92. their communities; however, this was not verified 2 Human Rights Watch (HRW), “State of anarchy:by the joint UNICEF–UFDR monitoring structure rebellion and abuses against civilians”, Humanestablished by the tripartite action plan.29 Rights Watch, Vol. 19, No. 13(A) (September The UN Secretary-General’s Representative 2007).on human rights of internally displaced persons 3 “CAR: Villagers flee kidnappers demandingvisited the country during March 2007. He huge ransoms”, 5 March 2007, “Central Africanrecommended that armed groups immediately Republic – Cameroon: CAR refugees in Camerooncease the recruitment of children and enter fear returning home”, 29 November 2007, IRIN.the DDR process. He also recommended that 4 “CAR: Civilians in northwest still afraid of goingthe government and the armed groups comply home”, IRIN, 2 August 2007; Report of thewith their obligations under international Secretary-General on Chad and the Centralhumanitarian law.30 African Republic, UN Doc. S/2007/97, 23 February 2007. 5 HRW, above note 2.Developments 6 ICG, above note 1; “CAR: Rebel activity fuelsThe government referred the situation of insecurity in the northeast”, IRIN, 8 February2002 and 2003 to the International Criminal 2007.Court in December 2004. In May 2007 the ICC 7 Report of the Secretary-General on Chad and theagreed to begin an investigation into the most Central African Republic, UN Doc. S/2007/488, 10serious crimes committed after 1 July 2002. August 2007.The Prosecutor stated that the investigation 8 HRW, above note 2.would focus in particular on allegations of 9 Ibid.; “Central African Republic”, Amnestyrape, which, he said, appeared to have been International Report 2007; US Department“committed in numbers that cannot be ignored of State, Country Reports on Human Rightsunder international law”. Reports received Practices 2006, Central African Republic, 6 Marchby the ICC indicated that the victims included 2007,; “Caught in CAR’s deadlyelderly women, young girls and men, often with crossfire”, BBC News, 30 July 2007.aggravated aspects of cruelty, such as rape 10 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 7.committed by multiple perpetrators, in front of 11 HRW, above note 2.third persons, or where relatives were forced to 12 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 7.participate. Many victims were subsequentlyshunned by their families and communities. The 13 UNHCR News Stories, “Central African Republic’sICC Office of the Prosecutor also continued to quiet conflict uproots more than 290,000”, 27monitor closely allegations of crimes committed September 2007,; “Thousands flee from CAR violence”, BBC News, 25 Marchsince the end of 2005.31 2006. On 25 September 2007 the UN SecurityCouncil adopted Resolution 1778 (2007) on the 14 HRW, above note 2.Central African Republic and Chad. It established 15 Child Soldiers Coalition, discussion with ministerMINURCAT, a “multidimensional presence” for information, Bangui, March 2007.of UN and EU personnel, comprising police, 16 “La Centrafrique va se doter d’un code de justicemilitary liaison officers and civilian personnel. It militaire”, APA Bangui, 11 July 2007, www.mandated the protection of civilians in danger, refugees and internally displaced 17 Confidential coalition interviews, Bangui, Marchpersons, and the facilitation of humanitarian 2007.aid and movement of humanitarian personnel 18 Confidential source, Bangui, March north-eastern CAR and eastern Chad.32 Up to 19 Confidential source, November 2007.4,000 UN-mandated European Union troops were 20 “CAR: Conflict forces children into insurgency”,expected to be deployed to Chad by early 2008.33 IRIN, 23 February 2007; HRW, above note 2.In November 2006 the mandate of the UN Peace- 21 HRW, above note 2.Building Support Office in the Central AfricanRepublic (BONUCA), authorized in 2000 by the 22 Report of the Secretary-General on children inSecurity Council, was renewed until 31 December armed conflict, UN Doc. A/62/609-S/2007/757,2007.34 21 December 2007. The UFDR and the APRD were among the 23 Funded by the World Bank Multi-country MDRPparties listed as recruiting and using child and UNDP, See also Africansoldiers in the 21 December 2007 report of the Development Bank – World Bank strategy for theSecretary-General to the UN Security Council on CAR 2007–2008, and armed conflict.35 24 Confidential source, Bangui, March 2007. 25 HRW, above note 2.1 International Crisis Group (ICG), “Central African 26 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 22. Republic: anatomy of a phantom state”, Africa 27 Ibid. Report No. 136, 13 December 2007.0 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 93. 28 UNICEF, “Central African Republic signed child soldiers reintegration agreement, 16 June 2007, CHA D Report of the Secretary-General, above note 22. Republic of Chad30 Report of the Representative of the Secretary- A—E General on human rights of internally displaced Population: 9.7 million: (5.3 million under 18) persons, Addendum: Mission to the Central Government armed forces: 25,400 African Republic, preliminary note, UN Doc. Compulsory Recruitment Age: 20 A/HRC/4/38/Add.5, 16 March 2007. Voluntary Recruitment Age: 18 (lower with31 International Criminal Court (ICC), “Prosecutor parental consent) opens investigation into the Central African Voting Age: 18 Republic”, press release, 22 May 2007; Optional Protocol: ratified 28 August 2002 “Background: Situation in the Central African Republic”, 22 May 2007; Treaties ratified (see glossary):32 UN Security Council Resolution S/RES/1778 CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWC (2007) on the situation in Chad, the Central African Republic and the subregion. Increased recruitment of children by33 Reuters Foundation, AlertNet, “Chad fighting Chadian armed forces and Chadian and raises stakes of EU peace deployment”, 27 Sudanese armed groups was reported in November 2007, 2006 and 2007, in particular along Chad’s34 UN Security Council, Statement by the President eastern border with Sudan and from its of the Security Council, UN Doc. S/PRST/2000/5, 10 February 2000; UN Security Council, Statement refugee and displaced persons camps. by the President of the Security Council, UN Doc. Despite an agreement by the government S/PRST/2006/47, 22 November 2006. to facilitate the demobilization of child35 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 22. soldiers, an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 children remained in armed forces and groups in September 2007. Context Constitutional changes in June 2005 allowed President Idriss Déby to run for a third term in office. They exacerbated tensions over governance and access to Chad’s oil wealth and intensified political and armed resistance to the president.1 Between 2005 and 2006 the two principal Chadian armed opposition groups were the United Front for Change (Front uni pour le changement, FUC), and the Platform for Change, Unity and Democracy (Socle pour le changement, l’unité et la démocratie, SCUD).2 These groups launched several attacks against the government between 2005 and 2006.3 In April 2006 an FUC- led offensive on the capital, N’Djaména, sought to oust President Déby and resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths.4 President Déby, of Zaghawa ethnicity, was elected for a third term in office in May 2006. The elections, in which under-age voting was reported, were boycotted by major opposition parties.5 In December 2006 FUC leader Mahamat Nour signed a peace accord with the government that extended a general amnesty to all FUC soldiers and called for “the creation of the conditions” for the integration of FUC soldiers into the Chadian National Army (Armée Nationale Tchadienne, ANT).6 Following the agreement Nour was appointed minister of defence, and other FUC officials took government posts in March 2007. The government stated that it would not accept child soldiers from the FUC in the ANT.7CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 1
  • 94. From 2006, three, at times overlapping, villages and raping women and girls. Chadiandimensions of conflict contributed to an emerging anti-Déby groups based themselves in the CAR,humanitarian and human rights crisis in eastern and Chadian bandits were involved in criminalChad and along the border with Sudan. These groups attacking civilians in the northern CAR.15were internal armed conflict between government Reports indicated that children in the CAR wereforces and opposition groups, inter communal forcibly recruited by Chadian armed groups andand ethnically based violence in the east, and that the CAR armed groups recruited Chadian andthe Darfur conflict and tensions between Chad Sudanese children.16and Sudan along their common border, which By late 2007 there were approximatelyled to a proliferation of arms and cross-border 240,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad, almostbanditry. In addition, the Darfur conflict enabled all located in the east. Of these, 60 per centChadian armed opposition groups to use Sudan were estimated to be under 18. There wereas a base for attacks against Chadian government approximately 45,000 refugees from the CARforces, and Sudanese armed opposition groups, in eastern Chad and approximately 180,000including the Justice and Equality Movement and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Chad, thethe Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA), to seek vast majority of whom were also located in therefuge in eastern Chad.8 Increasingly frequent east. It was estimated that school-age childrenattacks by Sudanese government-backed constituted approximately 30 per cent of the IDPJanjaweed militias on eastern Chadian villages population in eastern Chad.17resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians inlate 2006.9 In April 2007, after attacks, allegedlyby Janjaweed, on their villages, 9,000 Chadians Governmentmoved to Habile camp, administered by the UN National recruitment legislation andrefugee agency UNHCR, for internally displacedpersons (IDPs).10 practice Intercommunal violence between the On ratification of the Optional Protocol inZaghawa and Tama ethnic groups in north- 2002 Chad declared that the minimum ageeastern Chad escalated during the second half of for recruitment into the Chadian armed forces2006. Fuelled by clan disputes and competition was 18. It stated that enlistment was voluntary,for water and grazing lands, hostilities were and could take place only on a fully informedadditionally embedded in and informed by basis.18 The 1996 constitution stated that thenational political dynamics. Dozens of Tama defence of the country and of national territorialcivilians were killed and thousands were integrity was the duty of every citizen, and thatdisplaced in attacks on Tama villages between military service was compulsory (Article 51).August and November 2006. The attacks were A national law adopted in January 1991 on thereportedly carried out by Zaghawa militias reorganization of the armed forces stated that the(loyal to the president) backed by the Chadian minimum age of recruitment into the ANT was 18,government.11 By January 2007 up to 1,500 FUC and that the minimum age for conscription wassoldiers, mostly of Tama ethnicity, had taken 20.19 However, the 1992 General Statute of theup positions in and around Guéréda in north- Army provided that a person under the age of 18eastern Chad, prompting a renewed spate of could be enrolled with the consent of a parent orethnic violence between the Tama and Zaghawa guardian.20 The Labour Code prohibited childrengroups.12 under the age of 18 from undertaking any work In October 2007 a peace accord was signed which by its nature was likely to cause harm toin Libya between the Chadian government and the health, safety or morals of children.21four armed opposition groups, which included In November 2006 the minister of defencetwo factions of the Union of Forces for Democracy ordered the military leadership not to recruitand Development (Union des forces pour la children, and a memorandum was issued by thedémocratie et le développement, UFDD), the ministry stating that the recruitment of childrenChadian National Concord (Concorde nationale below the age of 18 was prohibited. In Februarytchadienne, CNT), and the Rally of Forces for 2007 the government acknowledged that childrenChange (Rassemblement des forces pour le had been associated with armed groups andchangement, RFC), a SCUD splinter group. The forces in Chad and that the ANT might haveagreement called for an immediate ceasefire, recruited and used children.22 Following thethe integration of opposition fighters into the peace agreement with the FUC, the ANT statednational army and the start of a process to that it would not accept under-age FUC soldiersintegrate the parties into the government.13 into its ranks.However, heavy fighting between the ANT andthese groups resumed in eastern Chad in late Child recruitment and deployment2007.14 Children were known to have been recruited and ANT forces regularly conducted cross-border used in the ANT as of mid-2007. One official toldraids into the Central African Republic (CAR), Human Rights Watch that boys between the agesattacking CAR armed opposition groups, looting2 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 95. of 12 and 15 were deployed to make tea, find ANT control abandoned their positions in easternwater, collect firewood and mind goats. Another Chad and returned to Darfur.28senior ANT official stated that “child soldiers areideal because they don’t complain, they don’t Chadian-backed Sudanese armedexpect to be paid, and if you tell them to kill, they opposition groups A—Ekill”. Recruitment of children between January Massive recruitment took place among the2006 and July 2007 into the ANT took place in the refugee and IDP communities in eastern ChadSalamat and Ouddai regions in the east, and in by Sudanese armed opposition groups in Marchthe Wadi Fira region in the north-east. Civilians and April 2006. Recruitment was at times carriedwere reportedly recruited en masse in late 2006 out forcibly, with reports of torture as a coerciveat a time of ANT losses, and included children means. In July 2007 the UN reported that theas young as 14, who were rapidly organized into Chadian government alleged that more thanunits to defend the capital, and issued uniforms 1,000 children had been recruited by the SLA inand weapons. The ANT reportedly held captured refugee camps in the east.29 In March 2006 thearmed opposition-group child soldiers as young G-19 faction of the SLA, working in co-operationas 13 in the same facilities as adult soldiers.23 with Chadian government officials, recruited,Militias incorporated into the ANT some forcibly, 4,700 Sudanese refugees, including hundreds of children, from the BreidjingIn late 2006 the government incorporated village- and Treguine UN-supervised refugee camps 50level and ethnically based self-defence militias, km west of Adré, in eastern Chad.30 Most of thesecomposed mainly of the Dadjo clan group, into people subsequently returned to the camps.the ANT in areas where it was militarily weak, In 2006, Sudanese children were recruitedsuch as the Dar Sila area in south-eastern Chad. from the Djabal and Goz Amir refugee camps inThis resulted in widespread child recruitment. eastern Chad, where teachers were among theAn agreement between the Dadjos and the recruiters.31 In January 2007, 39 children wereZaghawas in November 2006 stipulated that the recruited from the Breidjing refugee camp byDadjos would provide young people in exchange Sudanese armed opposition groups.32for arms and training. Soldiers who appeared tobe under 18 were reported in self-defence forces Other armed groupsin Goungour, Borot, Koloy, Modoyna, Tiero and Unidentified armed groups increasingly recruitedDogdore.24 children in the east during 2006 and 2007. They were known to attract new members by offeringArmed groups financial compensation on joining as well as monthly pay.33 In February 2007 the governmentUnited Front for Change (FUC) alleged that there were hundreds of childrenThe FUC, concentrated in north-eastern Chad, in the UFDD and claimed that a significantrecruited children as young as 12 on a large scale proportion of UFDD prisoners captured duringbefore its integration into the ANT in late 2006. combat in Abeche in November 2006 wereMore than 25 per cent of the FUC was estimated children.34to be made up of children, including childrenunder 15. There were confirmed reports thatbetween January 2006 and May 2007 the FUC Disarmament, demobilizationabducted children in the Guéréda area on their and reintegration (DDR)way to school or the market to strengthen theirforces.25 Children reportedly joined up to avenge In September 2007 an estimated 7,000 to 10,000killings of family members by Zaghawa militias, children, used in combat and non-combat roles,or to protect themselves in a context of armed were identified by the UN as needing DDR fromviolence and insecurity. While girls were not armed forces and groups.35 The government andrecruited in large numbers, the 3rd Brigade was UNICEF signed an agreement on 9 May 2007 tocomposed of 52 women and girls. Some female begin the demobilization of children from thesoldiers had reportedly taken part in operations ANT and integrated FUC forces. By July 2007, 425against ANT forces in late 2006. Girl members boys – ex-FUC members – had been released fromof the brigade said they had enlisted after being government military installations.36 However,raped or to seek protection from rape by Zaghawa despite promises from the government, UNICEFmilitias. Children were also forcibly recruited by had by July been granted access to only onethe FUC from refugee camps in Darfur.26 government military installation, at Mongo in Following the 2006 peace agreement, FUC south central Chad, where they identified 383leader Mahamad Nour became minister of child soldiers, some as young as eight, in Maydefence, and in March 2007 the first FUC officials 2007. Evidence suggested that ANT personnelaccepted positions in the Chadian government.27 were concealing children to prevent them fromBy October 2007 FUC troops operating outside registering for demobilization.37 Children whoCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 3
  • 96. were demobilized could not be reunited with their 1 Human Rights Watch (HRW), “They Came Here tofamilies because of ongoing hostilities.38 Kill Us”: Militia Attacks and Ethnic Targeting of In May 2007 the UNHCR in Abeche organized Civilians in Eastern Chad, January 2007.a series of three refugee-protection workshops 2 Report of the Secretary-General on children andfor local authorities, with specific reference to armed conflict in Chad, UN Doc. S/2007/400, 3the need to prevent child recruitment in the east. July 2007.As of July 2007 a strategy on prevention, release 3 “Chad: Déby dissolves presidential guardand reintegration of children associated with following wave of desertions”, IRIN, 31 Octoberarmed forces and groups was being developed 2005; “Chad fight-back kills ‘300 rebels’”, BBCby a consortium of government ministries, UN News, 20 December 2005.agencies and local NGOs.39 4 International Crisis Group (ICG), Chad: Back towards War?, June 2006.Developments 5 US Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2006, Chad, www.state.In May 2006 the UN Emergency Relief Co- gov.ordinator expressed serious concern over 6 HRW, Early to War: Child Soldiers in the Chadrecruitment in and around refugee camps and Conflict, July 2007.IDP sites, and the increasing militarization of 7 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 2.refugee camps.40 In September 2007 the UN 8 HRW, above note 1; Report of the Secretary-Security Council Working Group on Children General, above note 2.and Armed Conflict expressed grave concernover the recruitment and use of children by 9 “Chad”, Amnesty International Report 2007; UNHCR, “Lives in limbo as terror resumes inarmed groups and local commanders of the eastern Chad”, 1 November 2006,; strongly condemned the continuousrecruitment and use of children by armed groups, 10 UNHCR, “Some 9,000 Chadians move to IDPin particular the SLA, the Sudanese rebel Justice camp after brutal village attacks”, 10 April 2007, Equality Movement (JEM) and the UFDD;and urged the government to criminalize the 11 HRW, above note 1.unlawful recruitment and use of children in 12 HRW, above note 6.armed conflict.41 Chad was listed as a situation 13 “Chad: peace deal signed to end rebellion”, IRIN,of concern in the UN Secretary-General’s October 26 October 2007.2006 and December 2007 Reports on Children 14 “Chad’s battle army in east”, BBC News, 19and Armed Conflict.42 October 2007; “Hundreds dead in Chad fighting”, On 25 September 2007 the UN Security BBC News, 27 November 2007.Council adopted Resolution 1778 (2007) 15 HRW, “State and Anarchy: Rebellion and Abusesconcerning the CAR and Chad. Its provisions against Civilians”, September 2007.established the United Nations Mission in the 16 Confidential source, November 2007.Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), 17 OCHA, “Humanitarian Action in Chad: Facts anda “multidimensional presence” of UN and EU Figures Snapshot Report”, 15 November 2007,personnel, comprising police, military liaison and civilian personnel. Its mandate 18 Declaration on accession to the Optionalauthorized the protection of civilians in danger, Protocol, refugees and internally displacedpersons, and the facilitation of humanitarian aid 19 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 2.and movement of humanitarian personnel in the 20 Child Soldiers Coalition, Child Soldiers: Globalnorth-eastern CAR and eastern Chad.43 Up to Report 2004.4,000 UN-mandated EU troops were expected to 21 US Department of State, Country Reports onbe deployed to Chad by early 2008.44 Human Rights Practices, March 2007, www.state. At a February 2007 ministerial meeting in gov.Paris, Chad and 58 other states endorsed the 22 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 2.Paris Commitments to protect children from 23 HRW, above note 6.unlawful recruitment or use by armed forces 24 Ibid.; Report of the Secretary-General, above noteor armed groups and the Paris Principles and 2.guidelines on children associated with armed 25 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 2.forces or armed groups. The document reaffirmedinternational standards and operational 26 HRW, above note 6.principles for protecting and assisting child 27 Ibid.soldiers and followed a wide-ranging global 28 “Chad: Unravelling the meaning of latest ex-consultation jointly sponsored by the French revolt”, IRIN, 19 October 2007.government and UNICEF. 29 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 2. 30 HRW, Violence beyond Borders: The Human Rights Crisis in Eastern Chad, June 2006.4 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 97. 31 Report of the Secretary-General on children in armed conflict, UN Doc. A/61/529-S/2006/826, CHI L E 26 October 2006.32 Report of the Secretary-General on children in Republic of Chile armed conflict, UN Doc. A/62/609-S/2007/757, A—E 21 December 2007. Population: 16.3 million (4.9 million under 18)33 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 2. Government armed forces: 75,70034 HRW, above note 6. Compulsory recruitment age: 1835 Security Council Working Group on children Voluntary recruitment age: 18 (see text) and armed conflict, Conclusions on children Voting age: 18 and armed conflict in Chad, UN Docs. S/AC Optional Protocol: ratified 31 July 2003 51/2007/16, 3 July 2007, and S/AC 51/2007/16, Other treaties ratified (see glossary): 24 September 2007. CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 18236 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 32.37 HRW, above note 6. There was no information about under-18s38 Confidential sources, February 2008. in the armed forces.39 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 2.40 Ibid. Government41 Security Council Working Group, 24 September 2007, above note 35. National recruitment legislation and42 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 31. practice43 UN Security Council Resolution S/RES/1778 Military recruitment was transformed following (2007) on the situation in Chad, the Central the death in May 2005 of 44 conscripts during African Republic and the subregion. a compulsory training exercise in sub-zero44 Reuters Foundation, AlertNet, “Chad fighting temperatures in the Andes mountains.1 The raises stakes of EU peace deployment”, 27 victims, some of whom were from the indigenous November 2007, Mapuche community, had received only a few weeks’ military training.2 Demands for reform focused on the recruitment system, which was widely seen as targeted at the poorest sectors of the population. In practice only 15–20 per cent of those liable each year did active service.3 A new law came into effect in September 2005 to modernize recruitment and mobilization. Under the new law all citizens were automatically registered for compulsory military service at the age of 18. Citizens aged 18–45 had to fulfil their military obligations, either through two years’ compulsory military service (for men) or (for men and women) through voluntary military service or being available for mass mobilization. Quotas were first filled by volunteers and the remainder chosen by lottery. Those declared able to do military service but who delayed their enlistment could be called up for an additional year. The law also established a channel for complaints of ill-treatment or abuse.4 In 2007, for the first time since compulsory military service was introduced in Chile over a century earlier, all quotas were filled by the selection of 15,000 candidates from among 40,000 volunteers.5 Students could delay military service until they completed their studies, when they could choose to serve in the regular forces for a year or in an armed forces professional institution for a total of 180 days, or to follow a Military Instruction Special Course (Curso Especial de Instrucción Militar) for 150 days.6 The 2005 law also increased the minimum age for voluntary recruitment from 17 to 18.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 
  • 98. Individuals who wanted to bring forward their 10 FLACSO, Programa Seguridad y Ciudadanía,registration for military service could do so, Reporte del Sector Seguridad en América Latinabut could only undertake active service when y el Caribe, Informe Nacional: Chile, August 2006,they were at least 18. This effectively prevented from participating in hostilities. By law 11 Initial report, above note 7.the minimum age of recruitment could not be 12 Ley moderniza el servicio militar obligatorio, ab.lowered even in exceptional circumstances suchas a state of emergency.7 Women aged 18–24 could volunteer to domilitary service.8 There were around 1,000 femalevolunteers in the army, and they constitutedabout 15 per cent of the air force.9Military training and military schoolsEach branch of the armed forces had its owntraining schools. Officer schools offered fouryears of military, legal, economic, scientific andmoral training, including human rights education.Non-commissioned officers took a two-yearcourse to obtain a technical diploma.10 Candidates to military schools offeringbasic training were required to have completedsecondary education. Some schools stipulatedalso that candidates had to be 18. Courses werefor between two and five years.11 Students atmilitary schools were considered to be on activeservice.121 “Tragedia militar podría cambiar conscripción obligatoria en Chile”, Terra, 24 May 2005, www.; “Families angry at deaths in Andes”, Guardian (UK), 21 May 2005, www. “El derecho a decir No”, Quechua Network, 25 May 2005, David Álvarez Veloso, Servicio Militar en Chile: un debate obligatorio, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)-Chile, July 2006, Ley moderniza el servicio militar obligatorio, No. 20.045 of 2005, Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional de Chile, “Por primera vez en 107 años habrá sólo voluntarios realizando la milicia en las Fuerzas Armadas chilenas”, Terra, 3 April 2007, http:// armadas_1496070.htm.6 Dirección General de Movilización Nacional, Servicio militar,, No voluntarios sorteados.7 Initial report of Chile to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on implementation of the Optional Protocol, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/CHL/1, 6 July 2007.8 Dirección General de Movilización Nacional, Servicio militar, above note 6, Servicio militar femenino.9 Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Participación de las mujeres en las fuerzas armadas, March 2005, CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 99. C HINA Government National recruitment legislation andPeople’s Republic of China practice A—EPopulation: 1,315.8 million (352.7 million under The 1982 constitution provided for conscription18) as the sacred obligation of every citizen ofGovernment armed forces: 2,255,000 the People’s Republic of China to defend theCompulsory recruitment age: 18 motherland and resist aggression, and providedVoluntary recruitment age: 17 (see text) for the power of the president to proclaim a stateVoting age: 18 of war and issue mobilization orders (Articles 55Optional Protocol: ratified 20 February 2008 and 80).Other treaties ratified (see glossary): The 1984 Military Service Law, revised in 1998, provided the legal basis for militaryCRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182 service. The armed forces were recruited mainlyBecause of the high number of volunteers, by conscription but included volunteers and a militia with a reserve service (Article 2).7 Articleit had apparently not been necessary 12 stated that “Each year, male citizens who haveto enforce conscription. The minimum reached 18 years of age by 31 December shallvoluntary recruitment age was apparently be enlisted for active service. Those who are not17. There were close links between the enlisted during the year shall remain eligible for active service until they are 22. To meetmilitary and the education system, and the needs of the armed forces, female citizenssecondary-school and higher education may be enlisted for active service.” Conscriptsstudents were required by law to undergo had to be registered for military service by 30some military training. September in the year in which they turned 18 (Article 13). However, it appeared that, because of the number of volunteers from rural areas andContext the downsizing of the standing army, the Peoples’The predominantly Muslim population in the Liberation Army had not found it necessary toXinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, particularly enforce conscription.alleged Uighur nationalists characterized by the The minimum age for voluntary recruitmentgovernment as “ethnic separatists, terrorists and was not specified in the Military Service Law,religious extremists”,1 continued to face denial of which stated, “To meet the needs of thetheir human rights, including freedom of religion armed forces and on the principle of voluntaryand access to education. The authorities used participation, male and female citizens who havethe “war on terror”, initiated by the United States not yet reached 18 years of age by 31 December(USA) following the attacks of 11 September of a certain year may be enlisted for active2001, as justification for the detention and service” (Article 22). However, in the “Decisionimprisonment of alleged Uighur separatists.2 An of the State Council and the Central Militaryincreased number of Uighurs were extradited to Commission on Amending the Regulations onChina from Central Asian countries, reflecting Conscription Work” of September 2001, Articlegrowing pressure by China on governments in the 3(3) of the Regulations on Conscription Work wasregion. One individual, who was under 18 at the revised as follows: “To meet the needs of thetime of his arrest in Pakistan in 2001 and who was armed forces and on the principle of voluntarysubsequently detained in Guantánamo Bay, was participation, male and female citizens whoamong a group of five Uighurs who were released have reached 17 years of age but have not yetand transferred to Albania in May 2006.3 reached 18 years of age by 31 December of a Restrictions on the rights to religious belief, certain year may be enlisted for active service.”8expression and association, and discrimination This appeared to impose a minimum voluntaryin employment, continued to be reported from recruitment age of 17. China’s second periodicthe Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan report to the UN Committee on the Rights ofareas.4 Many people were detained, including the Child quoted the Military Service Law aschildren between the ages of approximately six stipulating that “no one in China under the ageand ten.5 of 15 may voluntarily enlist in any armed force”.9 China was a member of the Shanghai This might, however, be an error.Cooperation Organisation (SCO), established In its declaration to the Optional Protocol,in June 2001, comprising also Kazakhstan, China stated that the minimum age for voluntaryKyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan recruitment was 17. However, there was anand Uzbekistan, whose goals included mutual apparent contradiction later in the declaration,co-operation in security matters.6 which stated that the Regulations on the Recruitment of Soldiers “provides that in orderCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 7
  • 100. to meet the needs of the armed forces and on resided in the country.14 However, more than 50the principle of voluntary participation, male schools for the children of migrant workers wereand female citizens who have not yet reached 17 reportedly closed down in Beijing in Septemberyears of age by 31 December of a given year may 2006, the authorities claiming that the schoolsbe recruited for active service”.10 were unregistered and substandard.15 It was Reservists in the militia or reserve service widely assumed the closures were linked to ahad to be between 18 and 35 (Article 23) but age crackdown on unregistered migrant workerslimits could be extended, including “in frontier in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games inareas on land or sea, areas inhabited by minority Beijing.16nationalities as well as urban units in special China had submitted a second periodic reportcircumstances” (Articles 37 and 38). The militia to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child inprovided assistance and support to the People’s June 2003. In the concluding observations to itsLiberation Army, including in preparations against consideration of the report, the Committee calledwar, defending China’s borders and maintaining for an independent expert to be allowed to visitpublic order, as well as participating in combat and confirm the well-being of Gedhun Choekyioperations (Article 36).11 Nyima, the disputed reincarnation of the Panchen Lama – the second most important figure in TibetMilitary training and military schools after the Dalai Lama.17 Gedhun Choekyi NyimaThe Law on Military Service stated that “military had disappeared in 1995, aged six, and had sinceinstitutes and academies may, according to the then been held by the Chinese authorities inneeds in building up the armed forces, enrol “protective custody”.18cadets from among young students. The age limit At a February 2007 ministerial meeting infor the cadets to be enrolled must be the same Paris, China and 58 other states endorsed theas that for the active servicemen” (Article 30). It Paris Commitments to protect children fromtherefore appeared that under-18s could enrol for unlawful recruitment or use by armed forcesmilitary training at specialist institutions. or armed groups and the Paris Principles and There were close links between the military guidelines on children associated with armedand the education system. The Military Service forces or armed groups. The documentsLaw required secondary school and higher reaffirmed international standards andeducation students to undergo one month’s operational principles for protecting and assistingmilitary training (Articles 43–46). child soldiers and followed a wide-ranging global consultation jointly sponsored by the French government and UNICEF.DevelopmentsThe Law on the Protection of Minors which came 1 On the labelling of Chinese Uighur separatistsinto effect in 1992 defined “minors” as “citizens as “terrorists”, see Human Rights Watch (HRW),under the age of eighteen”. A revised Law on Devastating blows, religious repression ofthe Protection of Minors was adopted by the Uighurs in Xinjiang, April 2005.Standing Committee of the National People’s 2 Amnesty International Report 2006.Congress and came into force on 1 June 2007. 3 Confidential source, September 2007.It required People’s Courts to set up special 4 Amnesty International Report 2007.tribunals to try cases involving under-age 5 “Chinese troops detain Tibetan children”,offenders and ensure that a guardian was present Associated Press, 11 October 2006, at www.when a child was questioned by the police or While millions of children accompanied 6 Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, www. worker parents, it was estimated thatas many as 20 million rural children, most of 7 Military Service Law of 31 May 1984.them cared for by relatives, were left behind 8 (Chinese government official webby parents migrating to cities to work. The portal), “Decision of the State Council and theresidency registration system, which restricted Central Military Commission on Amending theaccess to education and healthcare, discouraged Regulations on Conscription Work”, Septembermigrant worker parents from taking their 2001, with them. Official reports claimed 9 Second periodic report of China to the UNnegative consequences in health, schooling Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc.and psychological development in children left CRC/C/83/Add.9, 15 July 2005.behind.13 10 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights A September 2006 amendment to the of the Child on the involvement of children inCompulsory Education Law (which guaranteed armed conflict, China: Ratification,nine years of free education to all children) 20 February 2008, for the right to education of children English/CNs/2008/101_200/164E.pdf.of migrant workers regardless of where they 11 Military Service Law, above note 7.8 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 101. 12 “Revised Law on Protection of Minors Effective next June”, Xinhua, 30 December 2006, at http:// COLOM B I A “Life bitter for migrant workers’ children left Republic of Colombia home alone”, Xinhua, 15 December 2006, at A—E Population: 45.6 million (16.8 million under 18)14 Chinese Radio International report, 7 July 2006, Government armed forces: 208,600 Compulsory recruitment age: 1815 Amnesty International Report 2007. Voluntary recruitment age: 1816 HRW, “China: Beijing closes schools for migrant Voting age: 18 children in pre-Olympic clean-up”, 25 December Optional Protocol: ratified 25 May 2005 2006. See also Amnesty International (AI), Other treaties ratified (see glossary): People’s Republic of China: Internal migrants: CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 discrimination and abuse: the human cost of an economic “miracle” (ASA 17/008/2007), 1 March Children were both forcibly and voluntarily 2007. recruited and used by the two armed17 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of second periodic report opposition groups, the FARC and the ELN. submitted by China, Concluding observations, UN They were used as combatants, to lay Doc. CRC/C/CHN/CO/2, 24 November 2005. mines and explosives and to carry out18 “Tibet’s missing spiritual guide”, BBC News, 16 other military tasks. Girls were subjected May 2005. to sexual abuse, including rape and forced abortion. Some children reportedly remained with paramilitary groups which had failed to demobilize fully. Government forces used captured and surrendered child soldiers to gather intelligence on opposition forces. Context The armed conflict which had so far lasted 40 years continued between government forces and the opposition Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC) and the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN), accompanied by widespread human rights abuses and breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL), including abuses against children.1 The government, headed by President Alvaro Uribe Vélez, continued to pursue its democratic security policy, announced in June 2003, which involved civilians in the conflict, particularly in gathering information.2 The government reported a decline from 2002 to 2007 in murders and “massacres” (defined as the killing of more than three people at the same time and in the same place).3 However, the number of enforced disappearances increased from 2004 to 2005, and the level of IHL violations was relatively constant in 2005 and 2006. Reports of hostage-taking declined during the same period.4 Government efforts to resume peace talks and discuss the release of hostages with the FARC were stalled after the president blamed the group for a car bomb explosion at a Bogotá military college in October 2006.5 Government and FARC forces attacked each other throughoutCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 
  • 102. © Jason P. Howe 2005Female government soldier puts camouflage cream on a boy’s face during a “Soldiers for aDay” session at school, Colombia100 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 103. the remainder of 2006 and periodically in 2007.Eleven FARC hostages were shot and killed in GovernmentJune 2007.6 Peace talks with the ELN, initiated National recruitment legislation andin December 2005, had produced no tangibleresults by October 2007.7 practice A—E More than 31,000 adult members of The minimum age for recruitment to the armedColombia’s largest paramilitary group, the United forces was 18, established by Law 418 of 1997 forSelf-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas conscription and Law 548 of 1999 for voluntaryUnidas de Colombia, AUC), were demobilized recruitment.17 However, the government’s 2005between 2003 and 2006, although some units declaration on ratification of the Optionalhad not fully disbanded.8 The army-backed AUC Protocol signalled an apparent exception towas responsible for widespread human rights recruitment legislation. The declaration statedabuses and child recruitment before 2003.9 that “minors in age” could be recruited with theThe 2005 Justice and Peace Law, providing the consent of their parents.18 The recruitment oflegal framework for demobilization, was widely children into illegal armed groups was an offencecriticized for failing to comply with international under the criminal code, with prison sentenceslaw, raising fears that AUC members would of between six and ten years, in addition tonot be held accountable for abuses and other the possibility of fines.19 Law 418 of 1997 alsocriminal acts.10 The law allowed paramilitaries prohibited the recruitment of children by armednot to provide information on offences they had forces or armed groups, with a penalty of up tocommitted, not to turn over illegally obtained five years’ imprisonment (Article 14).assets and not to disclose information about Laws on membership of armed groups andtheir groups’ criminal activities.11 Article 64 stated the use of children for intelligence-gatheringthat “the handing over of minors by members of appeared to be contradictory. The Childhood andoutlawed armed groups shall not be grounds for Adolescence Code expressly prohibited the uselosing the benefits referred to in this law and Law of demobilized children for intelligence-gathering782 of 2002”.12 activities.20 However, Decree 128 of 2003 stated From early 2006 the UN and civil society that children could be used for activities relatedgroups in Colombia increasingly warned of the to intelligence work (Article 22), and could berearming of demobilized paramilitary units, financially rewarded for supplying informationthe continued existence of groups not involved (Article 9). Law 782 of 2002 stated that a childin the AUC demobilization and the merging of could only be recognized as belonging to ansome former paramilitary units with criminal armed group by the spokesperson of the grouporganizations, often involved in drug trafficking. in question or as a result of evidence provided byEvidence was also emerging of new armed groups the child (Article 53), even though providing suchand criminal organizations establishing business evidence could involve children being used inrelations over drugs with elements of the FARC intelligence work.and the ELN. Some of the groups reportedly Laws and implementing regulations onoperated along similar lines to the AUC, including demobilization treated children recruited byinvolvement in counter-insurgency operations illegal armed groups primarily as victims ofand efforts to control territory.13 violence requiring special care and protection. Internal armed conflict continued to have Law 782 of 2002 defined children involved ina devastating impact on civilians. They were armed groups as victims of the armed conflictvictims of extrajudicial executions, enforced rather than as combatants (Article 15). In Marchdisappearance, death threats, anti-personnel 2005 the Constitutional Court handed downmines, indiscriminate attacks and forcible Judgment 203 which revoked another provisiondisplacement in large numbers.14 Children of Law 782 which allowed the prosecution offormed a high proportion of the victims, in minors involved in armed groups (Article 19).21part because fighting forces at times operated However, under the Childhood and Adolescencein and near schools and other places where Code, prosecution for membership of, or for actschildren were likely to gather. In one case, in committed during membership of, an armedMarch 2006, army troops took up positions in group could be waived for all but the mosta village school near Puerto Asís, Putumayo, serious acts – those “which may constitute gravecausing 30 village families to leave their homes breaches of international humanitarian law,after the FARC announced that it would attack crimes against humanity or genocide under thethe site.15 In June 2006 the Representative of the Rome Statute”.22UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights ofInternally Displaced Persons observed that “the Child recruitment and deploymentarmed forces had installed their headquarters in Government security forces did not officiallythe middle of the village [of Toribo, Cauca], next recruit under-18s, but continued to use capturedto a primary-school, and had erected posts in children for intelligence-gathering, despitethe central square of town immediately next to a the legal prohibition of the practice. Theplayground and a church centre”.16CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 101
  • 104. Ombudsman’s Office reported that in Cauca a accord in Germany.34 The UN High Commissionerchild demobilized from the FARC was used as an for Human Rights continued to receive someinformant during a military operation and was reports of recruitment of children by the ELN inlater killed at the age of 19 while in combat with Arauca and other parts of the country.35 Morethe FARC.23 Captured children continued to be than 50 children demobilized in 2005 and 2006held by security forces for longer than the 36- said that they had been in the ranks of the ELN.hour period provided for by law, after which they Two girls aged 14 and 15 were reported to havehad to be placed in the care of the Colombian been forcibly recruited in Nariño in DecemberInstitute of Family Welfare (Instituto Colombiano 2006.36de Bienestar Familiar, ICBF).24 Children who hadleft armed groups told the Ombudsman’s Office Paramilitary and other armed groupsthat they were kept in police stations and army Children were believed to remain with the AUCbases for longer periods and were pressured to and other partially demobilized paramilitarygive information about the groups they had left.25 groups, such as the Peasant Self-Defence ForcesThe UN Committee on the Rights of the Child of Casanare and the Cacique Pipinta Front.37expressed concern about these practices, which The Ombudsman’s Office reported that moreplaced children at serious risk of reprisals by than 200 children in the AUC ranks had not beenarmed groups.26 demobilized in 2006.38 Sixteen-year-olds could enter air force train-ing programs and 17-year-olds could train withthe national army as non-commissioned officers Disarmament, demobilizationin the infantry. Students could also enrol ascadets in military secondary-schools, where they and reintegration (DDR)carried out “special” military service from years The rules and practices governing demobilization4 to 6, including 1,300 hours of military training were unclear. Law 782 of 2002 stated thatand participation in military exercises.27 children surrendering to the armed forces should Government programs such as “soldiers be placed in the care of the ICBF within 36 hours.for a day” (soldados por un día) and “peas- Decree 128 stated that only those who voluntarilyant soldiers” (soldados campesinos) aimed to left an armed opposition or paramilitary groupfamiliarize children with the “war dynamic”.28 The were allowed to benefit from the government-UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom run DDR program. However, since child soldiersof opinion and expression was among those were required to identify themselves as memberswho observed that the programs “militarize the of an armed group under Law 782, those whocountryside” and “ultimately endanger entire escaped or were discharged, and those afraidvillages, exposing them to the retaliation of the to reveal their identity, were unable to receiveguerrillas”.29 assistance. In practice the majority of FARC and ELN child soldiers entering the DDR program had surrendered to the security forces and beenArmed groups handed over to the ICBF.39 Some 3,300 formerChildren were recruited and used by the child soldiers, mostly from the FARC, had takenopposition FARC and ELN and various other part in the government’s DDR program since itsarmed groups, mostly operating in urban areas, inception in November 1999.40including some paramilitaries who had failed Some 300 children were formally releasedto demobilize.30 Recruitment of children by the by the AUC and handed over to the authoritiesFARC and ELN extended to areas of Ecuador and during the demobilization process which began inVenezuela near the Colombian border.31 2003. However, the majority of AUC child soldiers left the groups informally and made their way toRevolutionary Armed Forces of the ICBF on their own, thus failing to meet theColombia (FARC) requirements of the collective demobilization process. Concerns were expressed that manyChildren were forcibly recruited by the FARC or former AUC child soldiers consequently receivedjoined up for lack of alternatives in a context of no demobilization or reintegration support.41rural poverty. They acted as combatants, laid The DDR program was run by the ICBF,explosives, ferried supplies, carried messages working in partnership with a number ofand served as guides. Girls were subjected international and national organizations thatto sexual abuse including rape and forced provided direct services, care and support.abortions.32 Child recruitment by the FARC was Returning children initially received medicalrecorded in at least eight departments, including attention and counselling at a “transition home”.Arauca, Cauca and Putumayo.33 They were then transferred to specialized institutional care centres for adolescentsNational Liberation Army (ELN) up to the age of 18 for nine to 12 months inThe ELN pledged in 1998 to stop child preparation for “reintegration”.42 The programrecruitment, on signing the Puerta del Cielo initially envisaged that children would be102 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 105. reunited with their families or placed in a foster forces or armed groups and the Paris Principleshome. In practice security concerns and the and guidelines on children associated withrisk of re-recruitment made it impossible for armed forces or armed groups. The documentsmany child soldiers to return to their families reaffirmed international standards andin areas affected by the armed conflict. Foster operational principles for protecting and assisting A—Ecare presented a major challenge, with families child soldiers and followed a wide-ranging globalfearful of being targeted by the armed groups. consultation jointly sponsored by the FrenchThe stigmatization of child soldiers, frequently government and UNICEF.perceived as violent and threatening, meant The FARC and the ELN were listed asthat families were reluctant to receive former recruiting and using child soldiers in the UNchild soldiers. Those leaving the specialized Secretary-General’s annual reports on childrencare centres moved either to youth homes or and armed conflict between 2002 and 2007.youth protection facilities for those with special Paramilitary groups were listed for childprotection problems. While efforts continued recruitment and use between 2003 and 2005,to strengthen fostering and family-based care, with the eception of two listed up to 2007.approximately 60 per cent of those entering theDDR program were in institutional care in 2007.43 1 Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Child soldiers from the FARC and ELN, many Rights on the situation of human rights inof whom came from rural areas and enlisted Colombia, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2006/9, 16 May 2006.voluntarily for economic reasons, experienced 2 International Crisis Group (ICG), “Tougherparticular difficulties adapting to life in the challenges ahead for Colombia’s Uribe”, Latincities where the centres were located. They were America Briefing No. 11, 20 October 2006.separated from family, friends and community 3 Programa Presidencial de Derechos Humanossupport systems, and faced the additional y Derecho Internacional Humanitaria,challenge of stigmatization by the population. Vicepresidencia de la República, “IndicadoresChild soldiers demobilizing from the AUC de situación y resultados operacionales de lapresented greater psychological and behavioural Fuerza Pública (comparativo 2006–2007)” andproblems, including drug addiction.44 “Situación de derechos humanos y derecho internacional humanitaria,” December 2004,Developments 2005, 2006, 4 International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),The Committee on the Rights of the Child “Colombia: Humanitarian Situation Remains ofconsidered Colombia’s Third Periodic Report Concern”, 1 February 2006; ICRC, “Colombia”,on the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Annual Report 2006, 2006. In its concluding observations the 5 “Colombia’s president vows to defeat rebels,”Committee called on the government to take New York Times, 3 November 2006, www.nytimes.effective measures to prevent the recruitment com.and involvement of children in armed groups. It 6 Simon Romero, “Colombian rebels blamed forurged the government to issue clear instructions hostage deaths,” New York Times, 28 June 2007,and training to the armed forces to ensure captured child soldiers were no longer 7 ICG, “Colombia: moving forward with the ELN?”,interrogated or used for intelligence gathering Latin America Briefing No. 16, 11 October 2007.and were handed over to civilian authorities 8 Alto Comisionado para la Paz, “Cuadroswithin 36 hours. The Committee further urged Resumen: Areas Despejadas 2003–2006: 31.671the government to increase substantially demovilizados”, www.altocomisionadoparalapaz.resources for social reintegration, rehabilitation reparations for returning child soldiers. It 9 Human Rights Watch (HRW), You’ll Learn not toasked the government to consider withdrawing Cry: Child combatants in Colombia, Septemberits reservation under Article 124 of the Rome 2003.Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). 10 Amnesty International (AI), Colombia: Justice andThe reservation allowed a country not to submit Peace Law Will Guarantee Impunity for Humancases of those accused of war crimes to the Rights Abusers, 26 April 2005.ICC for seven years. Once this period was over, 11 Sentencia C-370/2006, Corte Constitucionalonly war crimes committed after the seven-year de Colombia, 18 May 2006; HRW, “Smokemoratorium could be submitted to the ICC. The and mirrors: Colombia’s demobilization ofCommittee expressed concern that the current paramilitary groups”, August 2005.position blocked accountability for those 12 Article 64, Diario Oficial 45,980, Ley 975, 25 Julyresponsible for the recruitment of child soldiers 2005.and the planting of landmines.45 At a February 2007 ministerial meeting in 13 Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights inParis, Colombia and 58 other states endorsed Colombia, UN Doc. A/HRC/4/48, 5 March 2007;the Paris Commitments to protect children ICG, “Colombia’s new armed groups”, 10 Mayfrom unlawful recruitment or use by armed 2007, SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 103
  • 106. 14 See, for example, Human Rights Council, 4th 31 Coalición contra la vinculación de niños, niñas sess., provisional agenda item 2, Report of the y jóvenes al conflicto armado de Colombia and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Rights, above note 13; HRW, “Maiming the Frontiers: Children at the Borderline, February people: guerrilla use of antipersonnel landmines 2007. and other indiscriminate weapons in Colombia”, 32 Report of the UN High Commissioner for July 2007. Human Rights on the situation of human rights15 Human Rights Council, above note 14. in Colombia, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2005/10, 2816 Report of the Representative of the Secretary- February 2005; Special Rapporteur on the Rights General on the human rights of internally of Women of the Inter-American Commission displaced persons, Walter Kälin, Addendum: on Human Rights (IACHR), “Violence and Mission to Colombia, UN Doc. A/HRC/4/38/ Discrimination against Women in the armed Add.3, 24 January 2007. conflict in Colombia”, OEA/Ser.L/V/II, Doc. 67, 18 October 2006; Defensoría del Pueblo and UNICEF,17 Law No. 418 of 1997 and Law No. 548, http:// “La niñez y sus derechos, Caracterización de las niñas, niños, adolescentes desvinculados de los18 Declaration on accession to the Optional grupos armados ilegales”, November 2006. Protocol, 33 Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human19 Law No. 599 of 24 July 2000, ‘por la cual Rights, above note 1; Report of the UN High se expide el Código Penal’, Art. 162 (illicit Commissioner for Human Rights, above note 13. recruitment). 34 Acuerdo del Puerto del Cielo con el ELN, 15 July20 Código de la Infancia y la Adolescencia, Article 1998, 176. 35 Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human21 Sentencia C-203/05, Corte Constitucional de Rights, above note 1. Colombia, 8 March 2005, www.secretariasenado. 36 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 30. 37 Report of the Secretary-General on children and22 Código de la Infancia y la Adolescencia, Article armed conflict, UN Doc. A/62-S/2007/757, 21 175. This article largely took the approach of Law December 2007; “Smoke and mirrors”, above 418 of 1997 and legislation extending it. note 11.23 Report of the Secretary-General on children and 38 Defensoría del Pueblo, Defensoría Delegada para armed conflict, UN Doc. A/62/608/S/2007/757, los Derechos de la Niñez, la Juventud y la Mujer, 21 December 2007. Caracterización de las niñas, niños y adolescentes24 Law 782 of 2002. desvinculados de los grupos armados ilegales:25 Defensoría del Pueblo, Caracterización de los Inserción social y productiva desde un enfoque niños, niñas y adolescentes desvinculados de derechos humanos, Bogotá, 2006, www. de los grupos armados ilegales: Inserción social y productiva desde un enfoque de 39 Y Care International, Overcoming Lost derechos humanos, Bogotá, 2006, www. Childhoods, Lessons Learned from the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Former26 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Child Soldiers in Colombia, 2007, www. Consideration of report submitted by Colombia, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/COL/ 40 Informe alterno, above note 28; Procuraduría CO/3, 8 June 2006. General de la Nación, Seguimiento a políticas27 See, for example, Colegio Militar Simón públicas de desmovilización y reinserción, Bolívar, “Reseña histórica”, www. Bogotá, June 2006, Vol. II.; Colegio Militar 41 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 37; José María Córdoba, “Información general”, www. Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, above note 13.28 Informe alterno a la Representante Especial del 42 Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar, Secretario General para la cuestión de los niños “Programa de Atención a Jóvenes Desvinculados y los conflictos armados, Situación de derechos y Amenazados poer el Conflicto Armado”, www. humanos y derecho humanitario de la niñez 2005–2006, Bogotá, 2007, 43 Y Care International, above note 39.29 UN Economic and Social Council, Commission 44 Ibid. on Human Rights, 61st sess., provisional agenda item 11(c), Civil and Political Rights, Including the 45 Concluding observations, above note 26. Question of Freedom of Expression: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Ambeyi Ligabo, Addendum: Mission to Colombia, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2005/64/Add.3, 26 November 2004.30 Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, UN Doc. A/61/529-S2006/826, 26 October 2006.104 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 107. © Christian Relief Network 2005 A—EFormer child soldier talks to a professional counsellor at a rehabilitation centre in Beni,Democratic Republic of the CongoCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 10
  • 108. C OMOROS CONG O , D e m o c ra t i cUnion of the Comoros Repu b l i c o f t h ePopulation: 798,000 (387,000 under 18) Democratic Republic of the CongoGovernment armed forces: unclear1Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription Population: 57.5 million (31.0 million under 18)Voluntary recruitment age: 18 Government armed forces: 51,000Voting age: 18 Compulsory recruitment age: no conscriptionOptional Protocol: not signed Voluntary recruitment age: 18Other treaties ratified (see glossary): Voting age: 18CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWC Optional Protocol: ratified 11 November 2001 Other treaties ratified (see glossary):There were no reports of under-18s in the CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182armed forces. An estimated 7,000 child soldiersGovernment remained in government forces and armed groups, including foreign armed groupsNational recruitment legislation and mostly to be found in the eastern provincespractice of Equateur, Ituri, Katanga, North andThere was no conscription in Comoros. Military South Kivu, and Maniema. They wererecruitment was governed by law No. 97-06(AF), used as combatants, porters, guards andwhich specified that the minimum age for sexual slaves. Children were recruited fromentrance into the armed forces was 18.2 The 2001 constitution enshrined in its refugee camps in Rwanda and used bypreamble respect for international human rights armed groups in North Kivu.standards, in particular those relating to therights of children, and specifically includes theright of children to be protected from violence. Context Nearly 5.5 million people were estimated to haveArmed groups died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since the beginning of the armed conflict inThere were no new reports of the recruitment of 1998.1 Exploitation of mineral and other economicchildren by armed political groups or militias. resources fuelled the conflict, which wasChildren associated with armed groups on the characterized by systematic human rights abusesisland of Nzwani during the secession crisis in and population displacement, particularly in the1997 were reintegrated into civilian life through east and north-east. Following an agreement intwo socio-economic programs with the support 2002 a government of national unity took officeof the World Bank and the UNDP. The programs in July 2003, composed of representatives ofended in 2002.3 Nzwani still had an armed militia, the former government, major armed groups,thought to be about 500 strong.4 opposition political parties and civil society.2 Priorities for the transition included restoringDevelopments security and the extension of state authority throughout the national territory, the creation of aInternational standards unified national army and the demobilization and reintegration of combatants, including children.3In August 2006 Comoros ratified the Rome The UN mission in the DRC (MONUC) maintainedStatute of the International Criminal Court. a peacekeeping force of 16,000 troops across the country.41 The military resources of the Comoros consist of Delayed presidential and legislative elections a small standing army and a 500-member police were held in July and October 2006. In December force, as well as a 500-member defence force. President Joseph Kabila was inaugurated and A defence treaty with France provides naval became head of the DRC’s first democratically resources for protection of territorial waters, elected government.5 However, parts of the training of Comorian military personnel, and air country remained under the control of different surveillance. France maintains a small maritime base and a Foreign Legion contingent on Mayotte. armed forces and groups, with some military commanders resisting army unification and2 Confidential source, April 2007. operating parallel chains of command. Tensions3 Ibid. were exacerbated by delayed and poorly4 “Comoros: An expensive statement”, IRIN, 3 managed army unification, which left thousands August 2007.106 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 109. of former combatants without reintegrationsupport.6 Government Armed activity by foreign armed groups National recruitment legislation andcontinued, causing insecurity, violence anddisplacement in the east. These groups included practice A—Ethe Rwandan Democratic Forces for the Liberation The February 2006 constitution defined a childof Rwanda (Forces démocratiques pour la as any person below the age of 18. All forms oflibération du Rwanda (FDLR)), and the Ugandan exploitation of children were punishable by theAllied Democratic Forces and National Army for law (Article 41), and public authorities were underthe Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU). A small obligation to protect young people from threatsnumber of Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army to their health, education and developmenttroops were located in the remote Garamba Park (Article 42). The organization of military orarea.7 By late 2007 about 15,300 foreign fighters, paramilitary formations, private militias or youthprimarily from the FDLR, had been repatriated.8 armies was prohibited (Article 190).However, regional relations continued to be The 2004 Defence and Armed Forces Lawcharacterized by tension and mistrust. In 2004 prohibited the individual requisition of one orRwanda threatened three times to renew military more children below the age of 18 in the event ofoperations in the DRC, citing the need to protect a mobilization (Article 10) and the maintenanceCongolese Tutsi and to counter the threat posed of a youth army or youth subversive groupby the FDLR.9 (Article 41). Responsibility for child-soldier Hostilities continued in several areas, demobilization was held by the Minister ofparticularly Ituri, Katanga, and North and South National Defence, Demobilization and FormerKivu provinces, where ethnic tensions were Combatants (Article 25).14 A previous decree-law,manipulated for political ends or control of of 9 June 2000, ordered the demobilization ofeconomic resources in politically or militarily children below the age of 18 from armed forcesstrategic areas.10 Human rights abuses against and groups. A May 2005 circular issued by thecivilians, including rape and murder, were widely military prosecutor instructed regional and localcommitted by armed forces and groups involved military prosecutors to initiate proceedingsin hostilities. Those suspected of committing against all those accused of child recruitmentabuses continued to enjoy near-total impunity. A or use in military operations. The same circularhandful of military and armed-group leaders were instructed military prosecutors to refer illegallyarrested and prosecuted, but dozens of others recruited children accused of crimes to awere promoted to senior military or government competent civilian court, or to the official DDRpositions.11 program for demobilization.15 Children were recruited and used by all A comprehensive Child Protection Code wasparties to the armed conflict for combat and awaiting approval by parliament in October roles, and thousands of girls were used The code prohibited the forced recruitment ofas sexual slaves. An estimated 30,000 children children or their use in armed conflict (Articlewere awaiting demobilization from armed 50a), as well as the enlistment or use offorces and other parties to the armed conflict children in the national armed forces, the policeat the end of 2003. Child recruitment by the and armed groups (Article 73). Prison termsformer Congolese army officially ended in 2003, of between ten and 20 years were specifiedalthough some children remained in individual for these offences (Article 193). The codeunits. National army unification and the national criminalized rape, (Article 175) and sexual slaverydisarmament, demobilization and reintegration (Article 189), with prison terms of 7–25 and(DDR) programs did not begin in earnest 10–25 years respectively. A wide range of otheruntil 2005; some 30,000 children had been acts of sexual violence and exploitation weredemobilized by mid-2007.12 Thousands of others, criminalized by the code.16including many girls, escaped, were abandonedor left the armed forces without being officially Child recruitment and deploymentdemobilized. From 2005 the UN reported an Children remained in FARDC units which hadoverall reduction in child-soldier recruitment and completed the army unification program (knownuse by armed forces and groups – a consequence as integrated units) and in those awaitingof a decrease in the number of active fighting unification (non-integrated units). In mid-2006zones, the progressive incorporation of armed more than 26 cases of child recruitment andgroups into the national army and the associated other violations by FARDC were brought to thedemobilization process for adults and children.13 attention of FARDC chief of staff by MONUC.However, some 7,000 child soldiers remained in Children were seen in FARDC brigades inarmed groups and the Armed Forces of the DRC Kasai Occidental, Katanga and South Kivu.17(Forces armées de la République démocratique FARDC troops undergoing redeployment indu Congo, FARDC). Active recruitment continued Ituri and the Kivus abducted children to carryin some areas in 2007, particularly in North Kivu. equipment and belongings.18 In mid-2007CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 107
  • 110. local sources reported seeing children used as camps and threatened child-protection workersguards and “wives” in integrated and non- throughout 2007.integrated units in the Fizi area, South Kivu. Some 300 to 500 children, some as youngChildren interviewed complained of lack of food as 13, were reportedly serving in newly formedand harsh conditions.19 Some child soldiers “mixed” brigades in North Kivu in April 2007,were abandoned by commanders en route to and were deployed to fight against Mai-Mai andunification centres in several locations, including the FDLR.26 Forcible recruitment was reported inSouth Kivu and Katanga, possibly for fear of Ngungu and Rutshuru (North Kivu) in July, andprosecution.20 Children captured from armed children were being hidden by troops loyal togroups were detained by FARDC members in Nkunda in these and other zones in violation oforder to gather information on armed groups Military HQ Command’s orders. Children wereor to extort money from family members. Some told to lie about their age (to state that theyhad been beaten while in detention. Former child were adults) and those who managed to escapesoldiers faced intimidation and harassment by returned to their villages, where they remainedFARDC members, including non-respect for their at risk of re-recruitment.27 MONUC reported inofficial demobilization certificates.21 October that around 200 children remained in the FARDC units loyal to Nkunda, particularly among North Kivu brigades.28Armed groups An upsurge in child recruitment from refugeeChild recruitment in armed units loyal camps and communities in Rwanda occurred from January 2007.29 Children said they were offeredto Laurent Nkunda money and employment if they returned to NorthChild soldiers were actively recruited and used Kivu, but on arrival were recruited into “mixed”in hostilities by FARDC brigades and other armed brigades loyal to Nkunda.30 Rwandan authoritiesunits loyal to Laurent Nkunda, predominantly carried out a joint assessment with officials fromin North Kivu. Recruitment intensified in late the UN refugee agency UNHCR in May. They2006 and continued throughout 2007. Nkunda, visited refugee camps to establish mechanismsa former military officer of the armed wing of the for improved child protection, including improvedRwanda-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy control over the exit of children from the(Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie- camps.31 The Rwanda government initiated anGoma, RCD-Goma), remained hostile to the investigation into the alleged removal of eightarmy unification process and exerted control children from Kiziba camp in July, for deploymentover troops and territory. Troops loyal to Nkunda in South Kivu.32 Some Rwandan child soldiersclashed with the FARDC in Bukavu in 2004 and repatriated to Rwanda were reportedly arrestedin Sake in August and November 2006, after and beaten by the authorities.33Nkunda mobilized his troops, ostensibly toconfront threats posed by the FDLR.22 An arrest Armed groups in Ituriwarrant for Nkunda, widely accused of human Numerous armed groups, often formed alongrights abuses, was issued by the government in ethnic lines, continued to operate in Ituri, anSeptember 2005, but he remained at large as of area of considerable natural wealth. TensionsOctober 2007. between Hema and Lendu (pastoralist and In January 2007 some armed units loyal to agriculturalist respectively) and associatedNkunda agreed to enter the FARDC following communities, over land use, arms smuggling andRwanda-facilitated talks under an informally other resources, persisted throughout 2004. Theagreed process known as mixage, under groups carried out killings, rape and abductionswhich Nkunda-affiliated troops combined with of the civilian population, as well as burninggovernment forces into five “mixed” brigades property and looting.34 All the groups recruitedwhich remained in North Kivu. In practice and used children. Some groups signed an “actNkunda retained command over the newly of engagement” with the government in Mayformed FARDC units and his own troops, and 2004. They committed to joining the transitionalcontrolled parts of North Kivu. Troops loyal process and agreed to take part in a pilot DDRto Nkunda were deployed to fight against the program initiated in September.35 However,FDLR and Mai Mai militias,23 especially in Masisi disarmament was repeatedly delayed asand Rutshuru, throughout 2007, contributing commanders attempted to negotiate amnestiesto rising insecurity, ethnic tension and human and to secure senior FARDC posts.rights abuses in the province.24 In July 2006 Several leaders of armed groups wereAlphonse Batibwira, a non-governmental arrested in March 2005 after nine UNorganization (NGO) staff member, was killed peacekeepers from Bangladesh were killed inwhile trying negotiate the release of child the Bunia area. They included Thomas Lubanga,soldiers. A member of the non-integrated 81st head of the Union of Patriotic Congolese (Unionbrigade, loyal to Nkunda, was accused of the des patriotes congolais, UPC/L), and Germainkilling. 25 Commanders of mixed brigades denied Katanga, head of the Ituri Patriotic Resistancethe presence of children, obstructed access to108 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 111. Front (Front de résistance patriotique en Ituri, Other armed groupsFRPI).36 The two were subsequently indicted by Mai-Mai militias – local defence groups – wereand handed over to the International Criminal active in the eastern provinces of Katanga, theCourt (ICC). From 2005 the FARDC and MONUC Kivus and Maniema during the armed conflict.increased their efforts to compel the groups to They received direct military support from the A—Edisarm and to protect the civilian population. The armed forces, as well as entering opportunisticCongolese Popular Armed Forces (Forces armées alliances with adversary groups. Some Mai-Maipopulaires congolaises, FAPC) was completely groups entered the transitional process in 2003.dismantled in 2006 and hundreds of children, Others, particularly in Katanga and North andincluding numerous girls, joined the DDR South Kivu, were not eligible for, or remainedprogram. Some children could have remained hostile to, army unification and the DDRwith remnants of the group, which crossed the program.47 Seventy-six children were releasedborder into Uganda.37 from one group in Katanga in May 2006 when While militarily weakened, the FRPI and the Mai-Mai leader Kyungu Mutanga surrendered,Nationalist and Integrationist Front (Front des but children probably remained among the 2–nationalistes et intégrationnistes, FNI) continued 4,000 remaining militia members.48 Children wereto operate, and in 2005 they attempted to deployed by Mai-Mai to fight troops affiliatedconsolidate their remaining forces under a new with Laurent Nkunda in North Kivu from 2006,alliance, the Congolese Revolutionary Movement and recruitment was ongoing in 2007. Children(Mouvement révolutionnaire congolais, MRC).38 were recruited and used by BanyamulengeChildren continued to be recruited and re- (Congolese Tutsi) militias in South Kivu.49recruited by the FNI, led by Peter Karim Udagathroughout 2005. In July 2006 Karim agreedto disarm and enter the DDR program, and 87 Disarmament, demobilizationchildren were demobilized from his forces. By lateAugust the UN reported that the FNI was again and reintegration (DDR)recruiting children, including by force.39 Several Ongoing impunity for human rights violations,dozen children were released from these groups including for sexual violence, hindered theor escaped during the first months of 2007, but successful reintegration of former child soldiers.some FNI commanders actively obstructed the Efforts by the government, the internationalrelease of children.40 Local sources estimated community, donors and NGOs were hampered bythat as of April 2007 several hundred children a context of poverty, weak or non-existent stateremained in these groups.41 They included institutions and an infrastructure devastated bychildren forced to remain unless amnesty war.conditions for disarmament were met by the Funding for adults’ and children’s DDR wasauthorities.42 established by the World Bank and the Multi- country Demobilization and ReintegrationForces démocratiques pour la Program in 2002. In the absence of a nationallibération du Rwanda (FDLR) body, DDR was initially carried out by UNICEFRwandan armed groups opposed to the Rwandan and NGOs with assistance form MONUC childgovernment had been present in the eastern protection advisers.50 A national body, theDRC since shortly after the 1994 genocide, and Commission Nationale de Désarmement,the Rwandan FDLR had been active in North and Démobilisation et Réinsertion (CONADER), wasSouth Kivu from about 2004. While officially established in December 2003 to oversee a DDRopposed to the Rwandan government, it primarily program for an estimated 150,000 adult fightersengaged in criminal activities in the Kivus, and 30,000 children. An operational frameworkincluding extortion and trading in minerals.43 for children’s DDR was adopted by CONADERReports persisted of Congolese government in March 2004.51 By December 2006 CONADERassistance in the form of weapons and military stated that 30,000 children had been releasedsupport to the FDLR, and in early 2007 some from armed forces and groups.52 Four thousandFARDC brigades might have been assisted by the children were released between October 2006FDLR in fighting troops loyal to Laurent Nkunda. and August 2007, mainly from “mixed” brigadesKillings, abductions and looting by the FDLR were and armed groups.53reported throughout 2006 and 2007.44 Numerous Implementation of the children’s DDR programcases of rape were reported, including the rape was delayed, owing to continued hostilities, lackof a four-year-old girl in South Kivu in 2006. In at of political and military will, mismanagement ofleast one case a group of abductees was released funds and poor co-ordination and timetabling.54after a ransom was paid.45 The FDLR recruited Throughout 2005 CONADER, the UN and NGOsand used a number of children, some of whom were forced to respond on an emergency basis towere deployed to fight against Nkunda-affiliated urgent needs to identify, demobilize, transport,troops in 2007, although numbers were difficult shelter and feed thousands of children. Mostto establish.46 reintegration programs did not start until 2006.55CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 10
  • 112. Reintegration support was consistently Community-based initiatives were establishedunderfunded or entirely absent. In December from 2004 to respond to the needs of girls in2006 CONADER said that of the 30,000 some regions, but thousands of girls received nodemobilized children some 14,000 had yet to reintegration support. Despite well-documentedreceive reintegration assistance. By mid-2007 evidence of widespread sexual violence againstCONADER was winding down and international girls, their complex medical and psychosocialfunding had virtually ceased.56 CONADER needs remained largely unmet. Programs towas slow to approve funding for NGO-based assist girl mothers and their children remainedreintegration projects. Most programs were virtually non-existent.65 Existing provisionestablished in urban centres and inaccessible to was largely provided by NGOs working atthe majority of child soldiers, who were based in the community level.66 Returning girls wererural areas.57 rejected by their communities because of their An estimated 11,000 children escaped involvement in sexual activity.67or left the armed forces and groups withoutbeing officially demobilized.58 Children, many Other treatment of child soldiersof them used in frontline combat, saw adults Children were arrested, detained and tried inreceive demobilization packages and support military courts for military offences and otherfor a one-year period, while they returned crimes allegedly committed while they were inhome without material support, training or armed forces or groups. The trials contravenedother assistance. Some reportedly resorted to Article 114 of the Military Justice Code, whichidentifying themselves as adults to enter the stipulated that persons below the age of 18 didadult program.59 Others were either forcibly re- not fall under military jurisdiction.68 A decree-recruited or re-enlisted “voluntarily” in the face of law passed in 2000 ordered the demobilizationa dearth of alternatives. of children illegally recruited or used by armed Thousands of girls were recruited and used forces and groups, and the provision wasby armed forces and groups during and after reinforced in May 2005 by a circular issued by thethe armed conflict, and girls continued to be military prosecutor (auditeur général) instructingassociated with armed forces and groups in the military prosecutors to refer illegally recruitedeastern DRC. They performed combat duties children accused of crimes to a competent civilianand portering, provided medical assistance court or the national body responsible for DDRand carried out domestic labour. Thousands for demobilization.69were raped, resulting in serious and permanent At least 12 children were known to haveinjuries; many had children as a result of rape.60 been sentenced to death since 2003.70 The ChildGirl soldiers were initially largely overlooked Soldiers Coalition was informed in mid-2007by the government and the donor community. that executions were no longer carried out in theMost girls did not enter the official DDR program, DRC,71 but at least five children were believed tofearing stigmatization by their communities if remain in detention under sentence of death inthey were identified as child soldiers. Others July 2007 in prisons in the eastern DRC.72remained with their military “husbands” for fear The arrest and detention of child soldiers onof violence and recrimination if they left.61 Only charges of desertion and other military offences12 per cent of formally demobilized children (such as abandonment of duty and disobeyingwere girls, despite estimates that girls might orders) appeared to have decreased overhave comprised up to 40 per cent of the total the previous two years, but cases of childrennumber of child soldiers during the armed detained for desertion continued to be identified.conflict. CONADER reported in May 2006 that Captured child soldiers were also held by theof the 18,500 demobilized children at that date, FARDC so that information on the activities ofonly 2,900 (15 per cent) were girls. A World Bank armed groups could be extracted from them.73official told Amnesty International in March 2006that very little was being done for girl soldiers,adding that “we have no good profile of who Developmentsthese girls are”.62 In April 2007 DRC Child Soldiers Coalition Impunitymembers identified 415 girls in the ranks of On 29 January 2007 the ICC confirmed threearmed forces and groups in South Kivu. All the charges against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, headcommanders denied the presence of girls in their of the UPC, for conscripting and enlistingranks, alleging that they were dependents or children under the age of 15 and for using them“wives”. Local sources reported that many girls to participate actively in hostilities in Ituri fromremained with the 115th brigade of the FARDC, September 2002 to 13 August 2003.74 His trial,Mai Mai groups and the FDLR in North Kivu.63 the first in the ICC’s history, was scheduled toMilitary commanders and fighters frequently begin in early 2008. Germain Katanga, of theassumed possession of the girls, claimed them Ituri-based FRPI, was indicted by the ICC in Juneas “wives” and saw no obligation to identify or on three counts of crimes against humanity,release them.64 including murder, inhumane acts and sexual110 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 113. enslavement, and six counts of war crimes, protecting and assisting child soldiers andincluding child-soldier recruitment and use. followed a wide-ranging global consultationKatanga was transferred to The Hague in October jointly sponsored by the French government and2007. UNICEF. A Mai-Mai militia leader based in Katanga Mrs Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Special A—Eprovince, Kyungu Mutanga, also known as Representative of the Secretary-General for“Gédéon”, surrendered to MONUC in 2006 children and armed conflict, visited the DRC inand was subsequently held by the FARDC March 2007. She urged the authorities to takealong with his wife and four child soldiers timely and decisive action against the violators ofpreviously with his group.75 He was charged children’s rights, including the arrest of Laurentwith “insurrection, crimes against humanity, Nkunda, and called for measures to demobilizewar crimes and terrorism”, and his trial, which children still in the FARDC and armed groups.began in August 2007, was ongoing in October.76 Mrs Coomaraswamy expressed concern at theNational authorities prosecuted Jean-Pierre extent of sexual violence in the eastern DRCBiyoyo, a FARDC member and former leader and the prevailing climate of impunity for suchof the Mudundu 40 militia. He was tried by a crimes. She noted that long-term developmentmilitary court and sentenced in March 2006 to strategies were required along with adequatelife imprisonment for insurrection and to five donor support for the work of child-protectionyears’ imprisonment for the arbitrary arrest agencies.81and illegal detention of children (de facto child The FARDC and numerous armed groupsrecruitment) carried out in South Kivu in April (including many of those named above) were2004.77 Biyoyo escaped from prison in June 2006 repeatedly listed as parties responsible forand the following February returned to Bukavu as recruiting and using children between 2002 andpart of a military delegation to address military 2007 in the annex to the Secretary-General’sunits resisting the army unification process in annual reports on children and armed conflict.Minembwe (South Kivu).78 Most were additionally named as responsible for Laurent Nkunda remained at large despite killings, abductions and rape.82being widely accused of serious human abuses,including responsibility for a massacre in 1 International Rescue Committee, Mortality in theKisangani in May 2002, summary executions, DRC, an Ongoing Crisis, January 2008, http://torture, rape and looting following hostilities in in 2004, as well as forced recruitment 2 Amnesty International Report 2005.and use of children in hostilities. In September 3 Global and Inclusive Agreement on Transition in2005 the government issued an international the DRC, 16 December 2002, warrant for Nkunda on charges ofinsurrection, war crimes and crimes against 4 Report of the Secretary-General on the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,humanity.79 UN Doc. S/2007/671, 14 November 2007. Impunity for rape and other acts of sexualviolence contributed to the widespread 5 Report of the Secretary-General on the UNand continued commission of these crimes, Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN Doc.S/2007/156, 20 March 2007.with children (girls and boys) comprising ahigh proportion of the victims. A handful of 6 Amnesty International (AI), DRC, Children at War:prosecutions was successfully carried out. In Creating Hope for their Future, October important case, in April 2006, seven FARDC 7 Report of the Secretary-General on children andmembers were convicted of crimes against armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of thehumanity for mass rapes carried out in Equateur Congo, UN Doc. S/2007/391, 28 June 2007.province in 2003. The court applied the Rome 8 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 4.Statute of the ICC, which qualified rape as a crime 9 Amnesty International Report 2005.against humanity. A further dozen or so FARDC 10 Ibid.soldiers were convicted by military courts and 11 Human Rights Watch World Report 2008.sentenced to prison terms of between eight and 12 DRC, Children at War, above note 6.ten years in 2006 and 2007.80 13 Report of the Secretary-General on children andOther developments armed conflict in the DRC, UN Doc. S/2006/389, 13 June 2006, and Report of the Secretary-At a February 2007 ministerial meeting in Paris, General, above note 7.the DRC and 58 other states endorsed the Paris 14 Loi No. 04/023 du 12 novembre 2004 portantCommitments to protect children from unlawful organisation générale de la défence et lesrecruitment or use by armed forces or armed forces armées, Journal officiel de la Républiquegroups and the Paris Principles and guidelines on démocratique du Congo, 13 November 2004.children associated with armed forces or armedgroups. The documents reaffirmed internationalstandards and operational principles forCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 111
  • 114. 15 Circular No. AG/0631/D8a/2005, 19 May 2005, 37 Report of the Secretary-General on children and cited in MONUC Child Protection Section, armed conflict, UN Doc. A/61/529-S/2006/826, Arrestations et détentions dans les prisons et 26 October 2006. cachots de la RDC et la détention des enfants 38 Eighteenth Report of the Secretary-General on et la justice pour mineurs, March 2006, www. the UN Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN Doc. S/2005/506, 2 August 2005;16 RDC, Ministère de la Condition Féminine, Projet DRC, Children at War, above note 6. de Code de Protection de l’Enfant, version 39 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 37; definitive à traiter au Conseil des Ministres, MONUC Press release, 18 August 2006. October 2007. 40 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 7.17 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 13. 41 Interviews with child protection agencies, Bunia,18 Ibid. March 2007; report on the national workshop on19 Confidential sources, South Kivu, July 2007. DDR, Goma, 12–14 April 2007.20 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 13. 42 “RDC, Peter Karim, dernier chef milicien d’Ituri a21 DRC, Children at War, above note 6. rendu les armes”, Agence France-Presse, 7 April 2007; interviews with child protection agencies,22 Human Rights Watch (HRW), “DRC: Arrest Laurent Bunia, March 2007. Nkunda for war crimes”, 1 February 2006; Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed 43 ICG, The Congo: Solving the FDLR Problem Once conflict, UN Doc. A/61/529 S/2006/826, 26 and for All, May 2005; ICG, Congo: Bringing October 2006. peace to North Kivu, October 2007.23 Mai Mai groups were locally based armed 44 HRW, above note 24. militias. Mainly active in the eastern provinces 45 Report of the Secretary-General on children and of Maniema, Katanga and the Kivus, they were armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the backed by government forces during the armed Congo, UN Doc. S/2007/391, 28 June 2007. conflict but entered opportunistic alliances with 46 UNICEF, Report of the National Workshop on opposing forces. Some entered the unification Children’s DDR, Goma, 12–14 April 2007. process but others remained outside and 47 DRC, Children at War, above note 6; Report of the engaged in armed activity against FARDC units. Secretary-General, above note 13.24 HRW, Renewed Crisis in North Kivu, October 48 Report of the Secretary-General on children and 2007; International Crisis Group (ICG), Congo: armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Bringing Peace to North Kivu, 31 October 2007. Congo, UN Doc. S/2007/381, 28 June 2007.25 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 7. 49 Coalition information from local sources, eastern26 HRW, “Army should stop use of child soldiers”, DRC, June 2007. 19 April 2007; RDC-Humanitaire, “Implications 50 A separate process was established for the of the mixage for the demobilisation of children demobilization and repatriation of all foreign associated with armed groups”, February 2007, groups, which was managed by MONUC.; Coalition sources, eastern DRC, June 2007. 51 DRC, Children at War, above note 6.27 Coalition sources, June 2007 52 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 13.28 MONUC, “MONUC denounces the presence of 53 Report of the secretary-General, above note 32. children in FARDC’s ranks”, press statement, 31 54 DRC, Children at War, above note 6. October 2007. 55 Coalition sources, July 2007.29 Coalition sources, eastern DRC, April 2007 56 Coalition sources, July 2007.30 HRW, above note 26. 57 Coalition sources, eastern DRC, April 2007.31 HRW, above note 24. 58 UNICEF, above note 46.32 Report of the Secretary-General on Children and 59 Under the adult DDR program fighters received armed conflict, UN Doc. A/62/609-S.2007/757, a monetary sum on demobilization followed by a 21 December 2007. monthly allowance for one year.33 Coalition source, July 2007. 60 Child Soldiers: Global Report 2004; report of the34 MONUC Human Rights Division, The Human Secretary-General, above note 13. Rights Situation in the DRC, 10 May 2006; 61 Beth Verhey, Reaching the Girls: Study on Girls Seventeenth Report of the Secretary-General on Associated with Armed Forces and Groups in the the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the DRC, Save the Children and NGO Group: CARE, Congo, UN Doc. S/2005/167, 15 March 2005. IFESH, IRC, April, 2005.35 Third Special Report of the Secretary-General on 62 DRC, Children at War, above note 6. the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the 63 Coalition sources, DRC, April 2007. Congo, UN Doc. S/2004/645, 12 August 2004. 64 DRC, Children at War, above note 6.36 Seventeenth Report of the Secretary-General, above note 34. 65 Coalition interviews, March, April and July 2007.112 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 115. 66 Save the Children UK, The Forgotten Casualties of War, April 2005,; CON G O , R e p u b l i c o f Verhey, above note 61.67 Verhey, above note 61. Republic of Congo68 Military Justice Code, Law No. 023/2002 of 18 A—E November 2002, Article 114. Population: 4.0 million (2.2 million under 18)69 MONUC Child Protection Section, Circular No. Government armed forces: 10,000 AG/0631/D8a/2005,19 May 2005, cited in Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription Arrestations et détentions, above note 15. Voluntary recruitment age: 1870 MONUC Child Protection Section, Arrestations et Voting age: 18 détentions, above note 15. Optional Protocol: not signed71 Coalition source, July 2007. Other treaties ratified (see glossary):72 Ibid. CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWC73 MONUC Human Rights Section, “Monthly report on human rights, March 2007”, 16 April 2007. There were no reports of under-18s in the74 International Criminal Court, “Pre-trial Chamber armed forces. An unknown number of child I commits Thomas Lubanga Dyilo for trial”, press soldiers and former child soldiers were release, 29 January 2007, thought to remain with an armed group.75 MONUC, “The human rights situation in the DRC, July to December 2006”, 8 February 2007, www. Context76 MONUC, monthly human rights assessment, Implementation of the March 2003 peace September 2007. agreement between the government and the77 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 13; National Resistance Council (Conseil national MONUC, “RD Congo: l’ONU est ‘consternée’ par de résistance, CNR) (known as the Ninjas) was l’impunité à l’est du pays pour les coupables repeatedly delayed. The situation in the Pool du recrutement des enfants”, MONUC News, 12 region in south-eastern Congo, the stronghold March 2007. of the Ninjas, remained particularly difficult.78 Le Potentiel, Kinshasa, 1 March 2007; “RDC: By March 2007 security appeared to have un Officier condamné au sein d’une mission improved, but the fragility of the improvement officielle, l’ONU préoccupée”, Agence France- was underlined by the failure fully to implement Presse, 1 March 2007. disarmament, demobilization and reintegration79 HRW, above note 22; AI, DRC, Civilians Pay the (DDR) programs or to control the spread of Price for Political and Military Rivalry, September small arms.1 In January 2007 CNR leader Frédéric 2005. Bitsangou, alias Pasteur Ntoumi, announced80 Reports of the Secretary-General, above notes 7 that the CNR had applied to be registered and 13. as a political party and committed itself to81 UN, Report of the Special Representative of disarmament.2 In May Frédéric Bitsangou was the Secretary-General for Children and Armed appointed by presidential decree as general Conflict, UN Doc. A/62/228, 13 August 2007. delegate in charge of promotion of peace and82 Reports of the Secretary-General, above notes 32 post-conflict reconstruction, but failed to take up and 37. his post as expected in September after a dispute with the government.3 Former CNR child soldiers, not always under the control of their former leaders, were reported to be a major factor in the insecurity in the Pool region through their involvement in armed robbery. UNICEF expressed concern that the pres- ence of armed elements increased the threat of sexual violence.4 Government National recruitment legislation and practice There had been no conscription since 1969. Enlistment in the armed forces was voluntary with a minimum recruitment age of 18.5CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 113
  • 116. couraging participation in the program, adaptingArmed groups psychosocial support to female trauma profilesNo recent information was available on the and conflict experiences, providing appropriaterecruitment of child soldiers by the CNR. The apprenticeships and training, and sensitizingvast majority of former child soldiers who had spouses and families.15fought with the CNR during the conflict were A project on Prevention and Reintegration ofby 2007 believed to be over 18. However, child Children involved in Armed Conflict was imple-soldiers were reported as guarding the railway in mented between 2004 and 2007 by the Interna-the Pool region, suggesting that recruitment in tional Program on the Elimination of Child Laboursome form may have been continuing.6 Estimates (IPEC) of the International Labour Organizationdating from 2003 were that some 1,500–1,800 (ILO). It focused on socio-economic reintegrationformer child soldiers required demobilization, support and preventing recruitment of childrenbut the reliability of these figures had not been by armed groups. Approximately 200 former childestablished.7 soldiers, more than 70 of them girls, received professional training or work placements, while over 650 vulnerable children, including more thanDisarmament, demobilization 200 girls, participated in the anti-recruitmentand reintegration (DDR) program.16 In 2006 an estimated 34,000 weapons wereThe governmental commission for the illegally held in Congo by members of formerreintegration of former combatants, Haut armed groups as well as by the civilian popula-Commissariat à la Réinsertion des Ex- tion. In September 2005, 507 firearms and overcombattants, estimated that over 4,600 child 3,600 pieces of ammunition were destroyed,soldiers took part in Congo’s conflicts between and weapons collected between December 20051993 and 2002.8 and March 2006 from 800 civilians and former Between February 2002 and December soldiers were destroyed in March 2006 through2004, 965 former child soldiers, most of whom an internationally funded weapons collectionwere by then over 18, were among 9,000 program.17former combatants taking part in an Emergency The CNR received an unknown sum of moneyDemobilization and Reintegration Program (Projet from the Congolese government to disarm itsd’Urgence de Démobilisation et de Réinsertion, combatants in the Pool region. Progress was notPDR).9 clear, and in May 2007 a first symbolic burning of After significant delays due in part to collected weapons was postponed.18the difficulty in establishing the number ofbeneficiaries and a financial managementsystem, a National Disarmament, Demobilization Developmentsand Reinsertion Program (Programme national In 2006 the UN Committee on the Rights ofde désarmement, démobilisation et réinsertion, the Child expressed concern that despitePNDDR), partially funded by the Multi-country international support for a DDR process, theDemobilization and Reintegration Program physical and psychological recovery needs of(MDRP),10 received its first disbursement in many former child soldiers had not been met. ItOctober 2006. It was expected that by July 2007 recommended that particular attention be paid toreintegration support would have been delivered the specific needs of girls and to the reintegrationto some 1,000 former combatants who had self- of former child soldiers into the educationdemobilized.11 Up to 30,000 former combatants, system.19including 19,000 from the 1998–9 conflict, were At a February 2007 ministerial meeting inexpected to benefit from the PNDDR.12 Paris, the Republic of Congo and 58 other states Of former child soldiers to have been endorsed the Paris Commitments to protect chil-provisionally identified, 517 were girls and 1,261 dren from unlawful recruitment or use by armedboys.13 forces or armed groups and the Paris Principles Building on the lessons of other MDRP-sup- and guidelines on children associated withported DDR programs in the region, the PNDDR armed forces or armed groups. The documentsexplicitly recognized the necessity of addressing reaffirmed international standards and opera-the particular needs of former child soldiers, tional principles for protecting and assistingrecruited as children but demobilized as young child soldiers and followed a wide-ranging globaladults. It proposed that particular attention be consultation jointly sponsored by the Frenchpaid to psychosocial counselling and support, government and skills, independent living skills, employmentorientation and guidance for former child soldiers International standardsup to the age of 21 in the case of males and 25 in The Republic of Congo ratified the Rome Statutethe case of females.14 The PNDDR also recognized of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Maythe special attention required to address theneeds of former girl child soldiers, including en-114 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 117. 2004 and the African Charter on the Rights andWelfare of the Child in September 2006. COSTA R I C A1 UNICEF Humanitarian Action Report 2007: Republic of Costa Rica Republic of Congo, A—E Population: 4.3 million (1.5 million under 18)2 “Congo: Govt, agencies welcome decision Government armed forces: no armed forces to make rebel group political party”, IRIN, 1 February 2007, Compulsory recruitment age: not applicable3 “Congo: Ntoumi ‘problem’ is solved, says Voluntary recruitment age: not applicable president”, IRIN, 5 October 2007. Voting age: 184 UNICEF, above note 1. Optional Protocol: ratified 24 January 20035 Rachel Brett and Margaret McCallin, Children: Other treaties ratified (see glossary): The Invisible Soldiers, Rädda Barnen (Save the CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 Children–Sweden), Stockholm, 1998; Guy S. Goodwin-Gill and Ilene Cohn, Child Soldiers, The minimum age for recruitment to the Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1994. police, the country’s only security force,6 Information from Haut Commissariat à la was 18. Réinsertion des Ex-combattants, May 2007.7 Information from Lead Specialist, World Bank, April 2007. Government8 Haut Commissariat, above note 6. National recruitment legislation and9 Ibid.10 The Multi-country Demobilization and practice Reintegration Program (MDRP) supports Under the 1949 constitution, which abolished the demobilization and reintegration of ex- armed forces, the police force was the country’s combatants in the greater Great Lakes region of only security force, and military forces could be central Africa (Angola, Burundi Central African organized only under a continental agreement Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, or for national defence and had always to be Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda). subordinate to civilian control.1 It is financed by the World Bank, 12 donor Police recruits had to be 18 and to have governments and the European Commission, completed their third year of general basic and involves governments in the region, the UN education (secondary education).2 Police training and its agencies, and regional organizations. See was vocational, accredited by the Ministry of Education and civilian in nature, and directed11 World Bank, above note 7. towards upholding civil law, democracy and12 MDRP, Republic of Congo Activities at a Glance, human rights.3, updated March 2007. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child13 Haut commissariat, above note 6. recommended in May 2007 that the prohibition14 World Bank Document, Technical Annex for a on recruiting children under 15 and their direct Program of US$17 million from the MDRP multi- participation in hostilities be expressly set out donor trust fund to the Republic of Congo for an in law.4 emergency reintegration program, Report No. 33787, 14 December 2005, World Bank, above note 7. Disarmament, demobilization16 Le projet BIT/IPEC fait le bilan de ses activités, and reintegration (DDR) There were about 13,000 refugees in Costa Rica,17 “Congo: small arms continue to threaten political 10,000 of whom were Colombian.5 In May 2007 transition and stability”, IRIN, 9 May 2006. the Committee on the Rights of the Child noted18 Haut commissariat, above note 6. the lack of information in Costa Rica’s 200519 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, report to the Committee about child refugees Consideration of report submitted by the and migrants from countries affected by armed Republic of Congo, Concluding observations, UN conflict, and about “measures adopted with Doc. CRC/C/COG/CO/1, 20 October 2006. regard to their identification, physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration”. The Committee recommended early identification of those who might have been recruited or used in hostilities, and assistance for their recovery and reintegration.6 1 Constitución Política de la República de Costa Rica, Article 12.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 11
  • 118. 2 2001 Ley General de Policía.3 Initial report of Costa Rica to the UN Committee CôTE D ’ I vO I R E on the Rights of the Child on implementation of the Optional Protocol, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/ Republic of Côte d’Ivoire CRI/1, 22 December 2005.4 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Population: 18.2 million (8.9 million under 18) Consideration of initial report submitted by Costa Government armed forces: 17,050 Rica on implementation of the Optional Protocol, Compulsory recruitment age: 18 Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/ Voluntary recruitment age: 18 CRI/CO/1, 1 May 2007. Voting age: 215 “Costa Rica, el segundo país con más refugiados Optional Protocol: not signed en Latinoamérica”, EFE, 15 June 2006, at www. Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWC6 Concluding observations, above note 4. Children, including former child soldiers from the Liberian conflict, were recruited for use in pro-government militias and the armed opposition group Forces armées des Forces nouvelles (FAFN) at least until late 2005. Active recruitment of children appeared to have stopped from October 2006, but by late 2007 children reportedly continued to be associated with both militias and the FAFN, despite concerted efforts at demobilization. Context The conflict in Côte d’Ivoire began with an attempted coup against President Laurent Gbagbo in September 2002, and led to the country being divided into two territories. The south was controlled by the government and the north by the opposition New Forces (Forces nouvelles), which had been formed out of the Côte d’Ivoire Patriotic Movement (Mouvement patriotique de Côte d’Ivoire, MPCI), and two other armed opposition groups, the Ivorian Popular Movement of the Great West (Mouvement populaire ivoirien du grand ouest, MPIGO), and the Justice and Peace Movement (Mouvement pour la justice et la paix, MJP). The January 2003 Linas-Marcoussis agreement, signed by all parties to the conflict and aimed at bringing them all within a transitional government of national reconciliation, was only partially and reluctantly implemented.1 Interests within neighbouring countries fuelled the conflict. The Liberian government of President Charles Taylor reportedly supported armed opposition groups in western Côte d’Ivoire, which included fighters from armed groups in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and Liberian fighters and Liberian nationals recruited from refugee camps in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana fought in both pro-government militias and armed opposition groups.2 In April 2004 a UN peacekeeping force (United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, UNOCI) was deployed. Also present in the country were116 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 119. French troops, initially sent in September 2002 mainly as an economic opportunity. Manyto protect foreign nationals, whose presence had had first been forcibly recruited as children insubsequently been endorsed and clarified by UN one conflict, and then had willingly crossedSecurity Council resolutions.3 The international borders to take up arms in another conflict,troops patrolled a buffer zone, known as the often with a different armed group. A 2005 A—E“zone of confidence”, between the north and study by Human Rights Watch found that mostsouth of the country. had been motivated by promises of financial A number of agreements, including the Accra gain, and many could not articulate the politicalAgreement III of July 20044 and the Pretoria objective of the group they fought with. TheAgreement of April 2005,5 were reached with risk of re-recruitment was exacerbated by highinternational mediation, but political stalemates, rates of youth unemployment and corruptiondisagreements about implementation and and deficiencies in the implementation ofoutbreaks of violence hindered the peace disarmament, demobilization and reintegrationprocess.6 Presidential elections originally (DDR) programs.13 An August 2006 report by thescheduled for October 2005 were postponed UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) noted thatseveral times. In November 2006 UN Security high levels of unemployment, particularly youthCouncil Resolution 1721 extended the transitional unemployment, across west Africa posed a riskgovernment’s mandate and tasked it with to stability in the region. This was reiterated in acompleting the peace process by October 2007. 2007 report by the UN Secretary-General which In March 2007 President Gbagbo and the highlighted also the importance of reform of theleader of the Forces nouvelles, Guillaume security sector in countries in the region as aSoro, signed the Ouagadougou peace accord, means of addressing it.14under which Guillaume Soro was named primeminister.7 The agreement included provisionsfor creating a new transitional government, Governmentmerging the Forces nouvelles and the national National recruitment legislation anddefence and security forces within an integratedcommand centre, disarming combatants, practicegranting amnesty for all crimes relating to The Armed Forces Code of 7 September 1995national security committed since September established a minimum age of 18 for compulsory2000, and organizing a presidential election.8 and voluntary military service for men andAs a supplement to the agreement, in April the women.president signed a decree, applicable to both In October 2006 the UN reported that theresides, granting amnesty for crimes committed was at that time no tangible evidence of childrenduring the armed conflict. However, contrary participating in the regular armed forces (Forcesto the Ouagadougou agreement and the 2003 nationales de Côte d’Ivoire, FANCI), but thatamnesty law, which excluded from amnesty children were evidently associated with armed“crimes constituting serious violations of human militia groups close to the ruling party, therights and international humanitarian law and Popular Ivorian Front (Front populaire ivoirien,crimes listed in Articles 5–8 of the Treaty of Rome FPI). 15on the International Criminal Court”, the amnestydecree did not expressly exclude crimes underinternational law, such as the recruitment and Armed groupsuse of children as soldiers.9 Children were associated with armed groups In April 2007 there were reports that on both sides of the conflict, in pro-governmentdemilitarization in the zone of confidence had militias and the Forces armées des Forcesled to an increase in violence, including rape, nouvelles (FAFN).16 By August 2007 the UNagainst people living in the region.10 The fragility reported that there had been no substantiatedof the peace process was highlighted in June by evidence of the active recruitment and use ofa rocket attack on Prime Minister Soro’s aircraft. children by armed groups since October 2006.17He escaped uninjured but four of his companions Anecdotal reports from the west of the countrywere killed.11 indicated that children continued to be used as Many aspects of the conflicts in Liberia and servants and that girls were sexually abusedin Sierra Leone since the 1990s and in Côte by the FAFN. The environment continued to bed’Ivoire since 2002 were intricately linked, with unstable, and delays in the disarmament ofoperations across borders, including in Guinea, militias and the FAFN and in the establishmentwhich bordered all three countries, and a of a joint military structure made childrencomplex web of governments and armed groups vulnerable to re-recruitment and use by theseproviding support to factions in neighbouring groups.countries.12 A migrant population of thousandsof young fighters, including child soldiers,crossing the borders between Liberia, Guinea,Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire, saw conflictCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 117
  • 120. © Coalition 2006Children in a local community group beside a military camp in Bouaké, northern Côted’Ivoire118 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 121. Pro-government militias assets freeze on several individuals for serious violations of human rights and internationalAccording to reports, scores or even hundreds humanitarian law in Côte d’Ivoire. Among themof Liberian children who had been reunited with was a FAFN commander, Martin Kouakou Fofié.their families following their demobilization According to the Security Council, forces underin Liberia were re-recruited in Liberia between A—E his command had, among other abuses, engagedlate 2004 and early 2005 to fight alongside in recruitment of child soldiers.26pro-government militias in the west of Côte The FAFN was one of the parties listed ind’Ivoire. Most of these children had originally reports of the Secretary-General in Februarybeen forcibly recruited by various armed groups 2005 and October 2006 as recruiting or usingduring the conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone.18 children in situations of armed conflict. The FAFNIn late 2004 around 20 child members of the Lima was also named as being responsible for rapeforce supplétive, a militia operating alongside the and other grave sexual violence.27 The Secretary-Ivorian armed forces, were reportedly recruited General’s report of October 2006 indicated thatfrom a camp for Liberian refugees in western while children continued to be associated withCôte d’Ivoire.19 In September and October 2005, the FAFN, they had committed to an action planin Liberian counties bordering government- in November 2005 to demobilize children.28 Thecontrolled areas of Côte d’Ivoire, Liberian FAFN leadership had objected to their continuedchildren, alongside hundreds of other former inclusion on the list stating that it was not theirfighters in the Liberian conflict, were recruited policy to recruit children, although children mightinto pro-government militias in western Côte be found around their camps in search of basicd’Ivoire in anticipation of renewed fighting with assistance such as food.29opposition forces.20 At least four pro-government militiasoperational in areas under the control of the Disarmament, demobilizationgovernment in the west of the country – theLiberation Front for the Great West (Front pour and reintegration (DDR)la libération du grand ouest, FLGO), the Patriotic The disarmament, demobilization andAlliance of the Wè People (Alliance patriotique reintegration (DDR) process, which under thedu peuple Wè, APWE), the Patriotic Resistance Accra III Agreement was due to start in OctoberUnion of the Great West (Union patriotique de 2004, was delayed in its implementation, atrésistance du Grand Ouest, UPRGO) and the times because the FAFN were not willing toIvorian Liberation Movement for the West of Côte disarm in the absence of the implementation ofd’Ivoire (Mouvement ivoirien de libération de other agreed reforms,30 and later on becausel’ouest de la Côte d’Ivoire, MILOCI) – reportedly pro-government militias were unwilling to hand incontinued to maintain child soldiers in their ranks their arms.31in late 2006.21 These four groups were among In 2004 the National Commission forthe parties listed by the Secretary-General in Disarmament, Demobilization and ReintegrationFebruary 2005 and October 2006 as recruiting or (Commission nationale de désarmement,using children in situations of armed conflict.22 démobilisation et réintegration, PNDDR) The Young Patriots (Jeunes Patriotes), a estimated that 30,000 ex-combatants wouldpro-government party, used children in violent participate in the program, including 26,000 FAFNdemonstrations. In one such demonstration (of whom 3,000 were children), and 4,000 FANCIin Guiglo in January 2006, during which UN personnel recruited since September 2002.32 Apeacekeepers were also attacked, five Ivorians, later estimate was that just over 48,000 wouldincluding two children aged 14 and 16, were benefit from the DDR program, including 5,500killed.23 FANCI and over 42,500 FAFN.33 By June 2007 UNICEF indicated that it hadForces armées des Forces nouvelles helped 1,900 of an estimated 4,000 child soldiers(FAFN) to be reinserted into their communities, butIn November 2004 demobilized Liberian children concerns remained that instability in the countryin Bong and Nimba counties in eastern Liberia could lead to the re-recruitment of these children.were believed to have been recruited to fightwith the FAFN in Côte d’Ivoire. Former Liberian Pro-government militia groupscommanders were identified as being involved In 2005 the PNDDR estimated that there werein the recruitment.24 Six hundred children in 10,000 militia members, considered by theDanané, near to the Liberian border, who in 2006 UN to be an underestimate.34 By Septemberwere reported as having self-demobilized, had 2005, 4,800 militia members had beenreceived military training from pro-FAFN Liberian formally registered but no weapons had beenfighters.25 collected.35 In early August 2006, when almost In February 2006, pursuant to Security 1,000 had disarmed, the PNDDR suspended theCouncil Resolution 1572 (2004), the UN disarmament of the militias because of the lowSecurity Council imposed a travel ban and anCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 11
  • 122. ratio of weapons to combatants and the high security forces, as the Forces de défense et denumber of unserviceable weapons surrendered.36 sécurité–Forces nouvelles) submitted a report In late 2005 four pro-government militia on the implementation of the action plan whichgroups had submitted a list of 150 children for indicated that 85 children, including 27 girls, hadDDR, but the UN noted that an effective end to been identified for release to UNICEF.45the use of child soldiers by such groups woulddepend on being able to identify the groups,which required the full involvement and support Developmentsof the government.37 In September 2006 the four Côte d’Ivoire was among the conflicts designatedmain militia groups in the west, FLGO, MILOCI, by the UN Security Council for the setting upAPWE and UPRGO, submitted action plans to of a Monitoring and Reporting Mechanismthe UN to end the association of children with (MRM) on six grave violations of children’s rightstheir forces.38 In April 2007, at militia-group focal (including child recruitment and use) establishedpoints for child demobilization, the PNDDR and by its Resolution 1612 (2005) on children andUNICEF began to identify children within these armed conflict. The action plans by FAFN andgroups in areas near to the border with Liberia. pro-government militias for ending the use ofA total of 204 children, including 84 girls, were child soldiers were the first such action plans toregistered for demobilization and were by August be negotiated by the UN under the frameworkbeing assisted through UNICEF programs. The established by Resolution 1612 (2005).46UN noted that there were particular challenges The UN Special Representative for Childrento identifying and reintegrating children in and Armed Conflict visited Côte d’Ivoire inthis process, arising from the fact that the September 2007. Although the Ouagadougoucombatants and associated children were not agreement made no explicit reference toalways based in camps but often dispersed children, the Special Representative obtainedwithin their communities.39 The UN estimated in firm commitments from the government and non-May 2007 that 1,100 militia members remained to government actors with regard to the protectionbe disarmed.40 of children associated with armed groups and armed forces. In particular, the governmentForces armées des Forces nouvelles promised to create an inter-ministerial structure(FAFN) to co-ordinate work on these issues. The Special Representative also stressed the importanceThe UN estimated a caseload of around 4,000 of ending the use and involvement of youths inchildren for demobilization from the FAFN, political violence.47although no exact figures were available.41 The There were allegations of other seriousfirst demobilizations of children by the FAFN violations of children’s rights, including thetook place in Bouaké between October 2003 and trafficking of children and the use of child labourFebruary 2004. Further demobilizations occurred particularly in cocoa plantations.48 In June 2007in April and July–August 2004. In February 2005 UNICEF reported that it was working with thedemobilizations took place in Man, where by co-operation of the government and the Forceslate June 87 children had been identified, the nouvelles, particularly along the borders, toyoungest being nine years old. Nine girl soldiers curtail trafficking, and had intercepted 100identified could not be demobilized at that time children.49 Sexual violence against women andas there were no reception facilities for them.42 girls by members of, or persons affiliated to, In November 2005 the FAFN submitted to government forces, armed groups and pro-the Secretary-General’s Special Representative government militias took place in a climatein Côte d’Ivoire an action plan for preventing of widespread impunity.50 There were alsorecruitment and releasing children associated allegations of UN peacekeepers involved inwith their forces, and made serious efforts with sexual exploitation and abuse of women andregard to implementation.43 In October 2006 girls.51the Secretary-General stated that since July At a February 2007 ministerial meeting in2005, 327 children associated with fighting Paris, Côte d’Ivoire and 58 other states endorsedforces in areas under the control of the Forces the Paris Commitments to protect childrennouvelles had been demobilized, in addition to from unlawful recruitment or use by armed600 children trained by Liberian commanders forces or armed groups and the Paris Principleswho had self-demobilized in Danané. By October and guidelines on children associated with2006 the Forces nouvelles claimed that no more armed forces or armed groups. The documentschildren were associated with their forces in reaffirmed international standards andBouaké and Katiola and sought assistance from operational principles for protecting and assistingUNOCI in identifying and demobilizing children child soldiers and followed a wide-ranging globalin other areas under their control.44 In August consultation jointly sponsored by the French2007 the FAFN (which under the terms of the government and UNICEF.March 2007 Ouagadougou agreement wasto be merged with the national defence and120 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 123. International standards 17 Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Côte d’Ivoire, UN Doc.In June 2007 Côte d’Ivoire ratified the African S/2007/515, 30 August 2007. See also SpecialCharter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, “Côte d’Ivoire: A—E1 International Crisis Group (ICG), “Côte d’Ivoire”, The Government is committed to give children an eminent place in the peace process”, press2 For a more detailed account see Child Soldiers: release, 7 September 2007. Global Report 2004. 18 HRW, above note 13.3 Amnesty International (AI), “Côte d’Ivoire: clashes 19 Report of the Secretary-General on children and between peacekeeping forces and civilians: armed conflict, UN Doc. A/59/695-S/2005/72, lessons for the future” (AFR 31/005/2006), 19 9 February 2005; Coalition correspondence with September 2006. Office of UN Special Representative on Children4 Second Report of the UN Secretary-General and Armed Conflict, March 2005. on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, UN Doc. 20 HRW, “Côte d’Ivoire: Government Recruits Child S/2004/697, 27 August 2004. Soldiers in Liberia”, 28 October 2005.5 Fifth progress report of the Secretary-General 21 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 15. on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, UN Doc. 22 Reports of the Secretary-General, above notes 19 S/2005/398, 17 June 2005. and 16.6 See, for example, Reports of the Secretary- 23 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 16. General on the UN Operation in Cote D’Ivoire, 24 HRW, above note 13. 2004. 25 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 15.7 ICG, above note 1. 26 UN Security Council, “Security Council Committee8 Thirteenth progress report of the Secretary- concerning Côte d’Ivoire issues list of individuals General on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, UN subject to measures imposed by resolution 1572 Doc. S/2007/275, 14 May 2007. (2004)”, SC/8631, UN Department of Public9 AI, “Côte d’Ivoire: Crimes under international law Information, 7 February 2006. cannot be amnestied” (AFR 31/006/2007), 4 May 27 Reports of the Secretary-General, above notes 19 2007. and 16.10 Médecins Sans Frontières, “Ivory Coast: 28 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 16. Increasing violent attacks against civilians in the former Zone of Confidence”, 25 April 2007. 29 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 17.11 “Des roquettes contre la paix ivoirienne”, Le 30 See, for example, Third progress report of the Figaro, 30 June 2007. Secretary-General on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, UN Doc. S/2004/962, 9 December 2004,12 See entries on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in and Fifth progress report, above note 5. this volume. 31 See, for example, Tenth progress report of the13 See Human Rights Watch (HRW), Youth, Poverty Secretary-General on the UN Operation in Côte and Blood: The Lethal Legacy of West Africa’s d’Ivoire, UN Doc. S/2006/821, 17 October 2006. Regional Warriors, March 2005; Report of the Secretary-General on ways to combat subregional 32 Third progress report of the Secretary-General, and cross-border problems in West Africa, UN above note 30. Doc. S/2004/200, 12 March 2004; Report of the 33 Fifth progress report of the Secretary-General, Secretary-General on inter-mission co-operation above note 5. and possible cross-border operations between 34 Fourth progress report of the Secretary-General the UN Mission in Sierra Leone, the UN Mission in on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, UN Doc. Liberia, and the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, UN S/2005/186, 18 March 2005. Doc. S/2005/135, 2 March 2005. 35 Sixth progress report of the Secretary-General14 UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Youth on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, UN Doc. Unemployment and Regional Insecurity in S/2005/604, 26 September 2005. West Africa, 2nd edn, August 2006, www. 36 Eleventh progress report of the Secretary-General; Report of the Secretary-General on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, UN Doc. on cross-border issues in West Africa, UN Doc. S/2006/939, 4 December 2006. S/2007/143, 13 March 2007. 37 Seventh progress report of the Secretary-General15 Report of the Secretary-General on children on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, UN Doc. and armed conflict in Côte d’Ivoire, UN Doc. S/2006/2, 3 January 2006. S/2006/835, 25 October 2006. 38 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 17.16 Report of the Secretary-General on children and 39 Ibid. armed conflict, UN Doc. A/61/529–S/2006/826, 26 October 2006. 40 Thirteenth progress report of the Secretary- General, above note 8. 41 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 15.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 121
  • 124. 42 Child Soldiers Coalition, Child Soldiers and Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and CROAT I A Reintegration in West Africa, November 2006.43 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 16. Republic of Croatia44 Tenth progress report of the Secretary-General, above note 31. Population: 4.6 million (873,000 under 18)45 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 17. Government armed forces: 20,800 Compulsory recruitment age: 1846 Report of the Secretary-General, above note 15. Voluntary recruitment age: none47 Office of the UN Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict, above note 17. Voting age: 1848 “Child cocoa workers still ‘exploited’”, BBC News, Optional Protocol: ratified 1 November 2002 2 April 2007. Other treaties ratified (see glossary):49 UNICEF, “Child trafficking in Côte d’Ivoire: efforts CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 under way to reverse a tragic trend”, press release, 14 June 2007. There were no reports of under-18s serving50 AI, Côte d’Ivoire: Targeting women – the forgotten in the armed forces. victims of the conflict (AFR 31/001/2007), 15 March 2007.51 UN News Centre, “Côte d’Ivoire: UN, Moroccan Context officials meet to address allegations of sexual Impunity for war crimes committed during the abuse”, 23 July 2007; “Des Casques bleus 1991–5 war remained widespread. The Croatian suspectés d’abus sexuels en Côte d’Ivoire”, Le judicial system failed to address adequately Figaro, 21 July 2007. wartime human rights violations, regardless of the ethnicity of the victims or of the perpetrators.1 The government, supported by UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and domestic institutions, provided a national program for child victims of the war to combat long-term consequences such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and somatic and psychological symptoms.2 Government National recruitment legislation and practice Conscription was provided for in Article 47.1 of the 1990 constitution, and was further regulated by the 2002 Defence Law. The length of military service was six months, and all men between the ages of 18 and 27 were eligible for conscription. Reservist obligations applied up to the age of 55 during wartime. 3 In its Initial Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Optional Protocol, the government stated that “[a]lthough there is no need to bring a treaty into the legal system by enacting a specific law, the Defence Law (Official Gazette Nos. 33/2002 and 58/2002) has specific provisions related to compulsory recruitment of male conscripts, but only those who have reached the age of 18, as the Defence Law has no provision for the compulsory recruitment of children … Under the provisions of articles 34, 42 and 43 [of the Defence Law], the requirement to enlist takes effect at the beginning of the year in which the person subject to military service reaches the age of 19, and under all circumstances, lapses at the end of the year in which he turns 30 … Croatian legislation122 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 125. does not recognize the institution of ‘voluntary 2 Initial report of Croatia to the UN Committee onrecruitment’ (‘enlisting’).”4 the Rights of the Child on implementation of the In February 2007 it was reported that Croatia Optional Protocol, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/HRV/1,was initiating a large-scale plan for all-volunteer 11 January 2007.armed forces. One of the first steps toward this 3 Quaker Council for European Affairs, The Right to A—Ewould be the suspension of compulsory military Conscientious Objection in Europe, 2005, www.service, only voluntary recruits being enrolled in armed forces. However, obligatory military 4 Initial report, above note 2.service could be periodically reactivated if there 5 Vjesnik On-line, in Croatian, not enough recruits to meet defence needs. 6 Initial report, above note 2.An all-volunteer Croatian army would most likely 7 Croatian Ministry of Defence, be achieved before 2010.5 8 Committee on the Rights of the Child,Military training and military schools Consideration of report submitted by Croatia, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/In its Initial Report on the Optional Protocol, HRV/CO/1, 5 October 2007.Croatia stated that it had “no high schoolsoperated by or under the control of the armedforces within the meaning of article 3, paragraph5, of the Protocol. Nevertheless, pursuant toarticle 4 of the Law on the Service in the ArmedForces of the Republic of Croatia (OfficialGazette Nos. 33/2002, 58/2002 and 175/2003)a conscript is also a cadet who is defined asa ‘person educated at a military school undera contract of education’, but the point here isthat a person of age is educated at university(faculties) for the requirements of the CroatianArmed Forces.”6 In January 2005 the Ministryof Defence introduced student scholarships atZagreb University and Split University. Successfulcandidates would have the status of “cadet”,take part in army training and be obliged to stayin the armed forces for at least ten years aftergraduating.7DevelopmentsIn its Concluding Observations on Croatia’s InitialReport on the Optional Protocol, the Committeeon the Rights of the Child recommended thatviolation of the provisions of the OptionalProtocol regarding the recruitment andinvolvement of children in hostilities be explicitlycriminalized in legislation and that extraterritorialjurisdiction be established for these crimes whenthey are committed by or against a citizen of orsomeone with links to Croatia.8 In October 2007 Croatia endorsed the ParisCommitments to protect children from unlawfulrecruitment or use by armed forces or armedgroups and the Paris Principles and guidelineson children associated with armed forces orarmed groups. The two documents, which werepreviously endorsed by 59 states at a February2007 ministerial meeting in Paris, reaffirmedinternational standards and operationalprinciples for the protection of and assistance tochild soldiers, following a wide-ranging globalconsultation jointly sponsored by the Frenchgovernment and UNICEF.1 Amnesty International Report 2007.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 123
  • 126. The Youth Labour Army (Ejército Juvenil delC U BA Trabajo, EJT) was part of the armed forces, and its members were paid a salary. Their activitiesRepublic of Cuba focused on promotion of social and economic development and the rational use of naturalPopulation: 11.3 million (2.7 million under 18) resources, as well as environmental protection.8Government armed forces: 49,000 Territorial troop militias (milicias de tropasCompulsory recruitment age: 16 territoriales) were considered part of theVoluntary recruitment age: 17 armed forces when on active military service.9Voting age: 16 One million men and women in militia unitsOptional Protocol: ratified 9 February 2007 throughout the country had rapid access toOther treaties ratified (see glossary): infantry and artillery equipment.10CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138 Military training and military schoolsSixteen-year-olds were liable for Girls and boys who had completed nine years ofcompulsory military service in the armed basic education and were aged 15 could enter one of 14 Camilo Cienfuegos military schools,forces or the police. which provided pre-university vocational officer training and secondary-school diplomasGovernment in sciences and humanities. Graduates were expected to go on to one of the militaryNational recruitment legislation and academies.11 There were eight military academies trainingpractice members of the regular armed forces.12 TheBoys had to register for conscription with the College of National Defence was a postgraduatemilitary authorities in the year they turned 16.1 institution managed by the armed forces forAll male citizens were liable for two years of the training of military personnel and civilianscompulsory military service between 1 January responsible for national defence.13of the year they turned 17 and the last day of Every province had a school for defencethe year they turned 28. Men up to the age of 45 preparedness that trained territorial troop militiawere liable for service in the reserve for up to one leaders and municipal, local and regional defenceyear. A form of alternative service was available councils. Militias and other bodies regularlyas long as the armed forces were able to maintain participated in “defence days”, when theymilitary preparedness.2 The minimum age for received military training.14voluntary recruitment for both boys and girls was Basic military instruction for defence17.3 preparedness was compulsory for pre-university Compulsory military service could be students from age 15.15carried out in the armed forces or the police.“Exemplary” conscripts could be granted earlyrelease from service or assisted in obtaining Developmentsa university education on discharge. Thegovernment reported that thousands of female International standardsvolunteers had joined the armed forces.4 All Cuba ratified the Optional Protocol in Februarymembers of the Communist Youth (Juventud 2007. It declared that the minimum age forComunista) organization, male and female, were voluntary recruitment into its armed forces wasrequired to do military service, except in cases 17, and that the guarantees and safeguards forof physical impediment or need beyond their this provision were contained in Act No. 75 (thecontrol.5 National Defence Act) of 21 December 1994 and A new recruitment drive in December 2004 Decree-Law No. 224 (the Active Military Servicewas reported to have been necessary because Act) of 15 October 2001.16of a reduction in the number of males availabledue to a lower birth rate and the shorter period 1 Confidential source, March 2007.served by university students.6 2 Ley de la Defensa Nacional, No. 75. Military preparedness was based on a 3 Declaration by Cuba on ratification of thedefence system in place since the 1980s called Optional Protocol, 9 February 2007, www2.ohchr.the “war of all the people” (guerra de todo el org.pueblo). In the event of large-scale external 4 Servicio Militar Activo,, this would deploy every citizenand all society’s moral and material resources 5 “La defensa de la Patria: primer programa de la Revolución”, Juventud Rebelde, 4 Decemberorganized into a territorial defensive system to 2004, the enemy in their own place and ways.7124 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 127. 6 Gerardo Arreola, “Pide Raúl Castro a rama juvenil del Partido Comunista reforzar su apoyo al C YP R U S reclutamiento militar”, Revista Opositor, 9–16 December 2004, Republic of Cyprus7 Guerra de todo el pueblo, Sistema Defensivo A—E Territorial, Population: 835,000 (205,000 under 18)8 Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, Ejército Juvenil Government armed forces: 10,000 del Trabajo, Compulsory recruitment age: 189 Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, Milicias de Voluntary recruitment age: 17 (not confirmed) tropas territoriales. Voting age: 1810 Preparación para la defensa, Preparación de los Optional Protocol: not signed Ciudadanos, Other treaties ratified (see glossary):11 Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, Escuelas CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 militares Camilo Cienfuegos.12 Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, Academias The minimum voluntary recruitment age militares. was believed to be 17, but it was not known13 Preparación para la defensa, Colegio de Defensa whether under-18s were serving in the Nacional. armed forces.14 Preparación para la defensa, Escuelas de Preparación para la Defensa, and Preparación de los Ciudadanos. Context15 Ministerio de Educacion, Estructura de los planes de estudio de la educacion pre-universitaria, Cyprus had been divided since 1974. The northern part, named the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, remained occupied by16 Declaration, above note 3. Turkish armed forces and was not recognized internationally as a separate state from the Republic of Cyprus, the southern part. A buffer zone patrolled by the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) separated the two parts. In April 2004 Greek and Turkish Cypriots took part in separate simultaneous referendums on whether Cyprus should be reunited when it joined the European Union (EU) on the basis of a power-sharing agreement brokered by the UN. A majority of Turkish Cypriots (65 per cent) voted yes, but Greek Cypriots rejected the settlement by a three-to-one majority (76 per cent). As a result, Cyprus remained divided when it joined the EU on 1 May 2004. The whole island was by law an EU member state, but the body of laws that states had to adopt to join the EU was suspended in the north.1 Government National recruitment legislation and practice The constitution provided for conscription, stating that “No person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour”, but that this should not include “any service of a military character if imposed or, in case of conscientious objectors, subject to their recognition by a law, service exacted instead of compulsory military service” (Article 10). Conscription was regulated by the National Guard Law, No. 20, of 1964. All male citizens on completion of their eighteenth year and up to the age of 50 were liable on 1 January each year for national service of 25 months’ duration.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 12
  • 128. Among those exempted from conscription were Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprusmembers of the clergy; the only or eldest sonof a family whose father or brother died or went Population: 201,0005missing during national service or during or after Government armed forces: not knownthe 1974 Turkish invasion; and members of the Compulsory recruitment age: 19Maronite, Armenian and Latin (Roman Catholic) Voluntary recruitment age: 17communities. Military service could be reduced Voting age: 18in a number of cases, including to 13 months for Treaties ratified: not applicableorphans and the eldest sons of large familiesand to 21 months for conscripts with only one The minimum voluntary recruitment ageliving parent. Women could enlist as volunteers was 17, but it was not known whetheron a contract for an initial duration of three yearsthat could be renewed for subsequent three-year under-18s were serving in the armedperiods. 2 forces. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Childin 2003 noted that it was possible to volunteer Governmentfor military service from the age of 17 in 2003,and expressed concern that under-18s could be National recruitment legislation anddeployed, since no distinction was made betweenthe ages for recruitment and for deployment. practiceThe Committee encouraged Cyprus to clarify the Under the constitution, all citizens were liable forminimum age for voluntary recruitment and to military service: “National service in the armedensure that no one under 18 was deployed as a forces shall be the right and sacred duty of everycombatant to armed conflicts. 3 citizen” (Article 74).6 The legal basis for conscription was theMilitary training and military schools Military Service Law, No. 59, of 2000. All citizensNo information was available on military were liable for compulsory military service fromtraining and schools. However, male and female the age of 19. The length of service ranged fromgraduates of military schools in Greece could 8 to 15 months. Those considered Turkish Cypriotbecome officers of the National Guard.4 citizens because of their parents’ origin but who resided abroad could qualify for shorter terms. Recruits planning to go into university educationDevelopments could defer or bring forward their service.7 TheAt a February 2007 ministerial meeting in Paris, minimum age for voluntary recruitment was 17,Cyprus and 58 other states endorsed the Paris provided that the recruit had parental consentCommitments to protect children from unlawful (Article 18).recruitment or use by armed forces or armedgroups and the Paris Principles and guidelines on Military training and military schoolschildren associated with armed forces or armed There were no military schools.8groups. The documents reaffirmed internationalstandards and operational principles for 1 UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Countryprotecting and assisting child soldiers and Profile, a wide-ranging global consultation 2 Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office,jointly sponsored by the French government and “Cyprus National Guard”, 2005, at CyprusNet,UNICEF. 3 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of report submitted by Cyprus, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/ Add.205, 2 July 2003. 4 Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office, “Cyprus National Guard”, 2005. 5 North Cyprus Online, Demographic Information, 6 The Constitution of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, 7 Guvenlik Kuvvetleri Komutanligi, “Obligation of military service”, 8 Information from Office of the Representative of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, London, 2004.126 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 129. of the Child in 2005 that under-18s could enterC ZECH REPUBLIC military secondary-schools, and that they provided four years of general education andCzech Republic “education and training for duties on the warrant officer level, training for a chosen specialization, A—EPopulation: 10.2 million (1.9 million under 18) as well as full secondary vocational and technicalGovernment armed forces: 24,800 education”. The government also reportedCompulsory recruitment age: 18 (conscription that “Students entering military schools arephased out by 2005) not soldiers and do not become soldiers inVoluntary recruitment age: 18 the course of study. This rule would continueVoting age: 18 to apply in crisis situations: teachers-soldiersOptional Protocol: ratified 30 November 2001 would be detailed to other duties and the schools temporarily closed down. Military schoolOther treaties ratified (see glossary): graduates do not incur any financial or otherCRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182 obligations towards the armed forces. There is no pressure on the students to apply for regularThere were no reports of under-18s in the army jobs.”8armed forces. DevelopmentsGovernment In its Concluding Observations on theNational recruitment legislation and government’s initial report on the Optional Protocol, the Committee on the Rights of thepractice Child recommended that the provisions in theConscription ended in December 2004, with draft Criminal Code be strengthened so that thethe last conscripts due to leave the Czech army criminalization of the recruitment of childrenthat month.1 As of 1 January 2005, compulsory in armed forces is not limited to recruitment inrecruitment would only occur in a state of times of war or armed conflict. The Committee“national danger” or war.2 All men between the further recommended that the involvement ofages of 18 and 28 had previously been liable for children in hostilities be explicitly made a crimecompulsory military service. 3 Men and women subject to the principle of universality.9who were at least 18 could volunteer for military At a February 2007 ministerial meeting inservice under the terms of Act 221/1999 on Paris, the Czech Republic and 58 other statesRegular Soldiers. Act 585/2004 allowed those endorsed the Paris Commitments to protectover 18 to volunteer for the Active Reserve.4 children from unlawful recruitment or use by The government reported to the UN armed forces or armed groups and the ParisCommittee on the Rights of the Child in 2005 that Principles and guidelines on children associatedthe state’s security was ensured by the armed with armed forces or armed groups. Theforces and security corps, that no member of documents reaffirmed international standardsthese forces could be under 18 years old, and and operational principles for protecting andthat this age limit could not be lowered in any assisting child soldiers and followed a wide-crisis situations.5 ranging global consultation jointly sponsored by the French government and UNICEF.Military training and military schoolsSome military secondary schools were downsized International standardsand stopped admitting new pupils in the The Czech Republic ratified the ILO Minimum Ageacademic year 2003–4; these were the school in Convention 138 in April 2007.Vyskov which trained specialists for the artilleryand engineer corps, the school in Brno which 1 “Bill brings end to nearly 140 years of compulsoryprovided warrant officer training and the Military military service”, Radio Prague, 24 SeptemberConservatory for military musicians. 6 The schools 2004, Vyskov and in Brno closed in 2006 and the 2 Initial report of the Czech Republic to theMilitary Conservatory was due to close by the end UN Committee on the Rights of the Child onof August 2008. The military education system implementation of the Optional Protocol, UN Doc.currently comprised the Military High School and CRC/C/OPAC/CZE/1, 15 August 2005.High Technical School of the Ministry of Defence 3 Bart Horeman and Marc Stolwijk, Refusing toat Moravska Trebova, the University of Defence in Bear Arms: A world survey of conscription andBrno, and the Educational and Training Centre of conscientious objection to military service, Warthe Ministry of Defence at Komorni Hradek.7 Resisters International, 1998, The minimum age for enrolment in a military 4 Information from the embassy of the Czechsecondary-school was 15. The government Republic in the UK, 28 June 2007.reported to the UN Committee on the Rights 5 Initial report, above note 2.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 127
  • 130. 6 Ibid.7 Ministry of Defence, Military Education, www. DENM A R K Initial report, above note 2. Kingdom of Denmark9 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Population: 5.4 million (1.2 million under 18) Consideration of report submitted by the Czech Republic, Concluding observations, UN Doc. Government armed forces: 21,700 CRC/C/OPAC/CZE/CO/1, 21 June 2006. Compulsory recruitment age: 18 Voluntary recruitment age: 18 Voting age: 18 Optional Protocol: ratified 27 August 2002 Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 There were no reports of under-18s in the armed forces. Government National recruitment legislation and practice The obligation to perform military service was set out in Article 81 of the 1953 constitution and the 1980 National Service Act.1 According to the Danish Defence Personnel Organization, men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 were liable for conscription.2 The 1998 Ministry of Defence Order No. 1083 stipulated that no one under the age of 18 could be conscripted or could volunteer for service in the armed forces. This minimum age of 18 also applied to joining the volunteer Home Guard, in keeping with the provisions of the 2004 Home Guard Act.3 The 1987 Civilian Service Act (amended in 1992 and 1998) provided for an alternative service for conscientious objectors – with the length of alternative service matching that of military service.4 Developments In its November 2005 Concluding Observations on Denmark’s initial report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning implementation of the Optional Protocol, the Committee expressed concern that the government had failed to follow reporting guidelines and had not included relevant legislation with its submission. The report also failed to include information regarding assistance for the physical and psychological recovery of former child soldiers and dissemination of the Optional Protocol and its incorporation into training programs for relevant professionals.5 At a February 2007 ministerial meeting in Paris, Denmark and 58 other states endorsed the Paris Commitments to protect children from unlawful recruitment or use by armed forces or armed groups and the Paris Principles and guidelines on children associated with armed forces or armed groups. The documents reaffirmed international standards and128 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 131. operational principles for protecting and assistingchild soldiers and followed a wide-ranging global DJIB O U T Iconsultation jointly sponsored by the Frenchgovernment and UNICEF. Republic of Djibouti A—E Population: 793,000 (383,000 under 18)1 Quaker Council for European Affairs, The Right to Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Government armed forces: 11,000 Europe: A Review of the Current Situation, April Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription 2005. Voluntary recruitment age: 182 Information from the Danish Defence Personnel Voting age: 18 Organization, October 2007. Optional Protocol: signed 14 June 20063 Initial report of Denmark to the UN Committee on Other treaties ratified (see glossary): the Rights of the Child on the Optional Protocol CRC, GC AP 1 and 2, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, UN There were no reports of under-18s in the Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/DNK/1, 21 April 2005. armed forces.4 Right to Conscientious Objection, above note 1.5 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of initial report submitted by Context Denmark on implementation of the Optional Djibouti had experienced no armed conflict Protocol, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/DNK/Co/1, 24 November 2005. since the signature in May 2001 of a final peace agreement between the government and the armed faction of the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (Front pour la restauration de l’unité et de la démocratie, FRUD).1 France provided significant amounts of aid and financial support. Some 2,700 French troops remain stationed in Djibouti under agreements signed at independence. Djibouti also hosted 1,800 US troops and was the headquarters of the US-led Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF–HOA) which supported counter-terrorism activities in the region.2 Government National recruitment legislation and practice The constitution stated that “the defence of the Nation and the territorial integrity of the Republic is the sacred duty for every Djiboutian citizen”. There was no compulsory military service, and the minimum age for voluntary recruitment was 18.3 A voluntary national service program, the Service national adapté (SNA), which accepted volunteers between the ages of 17 and 25, continued to operate. One of the stated aims of the SNA was to assist unqualified young people by providing them with professional training with the Djiboutian armed forces. During the two-year training, recruits were subject to military discipline and on its completion were given priority for jobs. There was no obligation or expectation that recruits would remain with the armed forces,4 and military training could form no more than 30 per cent of training provided. Military activities covered by the SNA included participation in operations to help the public in cases of natural or industrial disasters and activities relating to guarding military installations.5CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 12
  • 132. Developments DOMI N I C A NDuring the 1991–4 conflict, both governmentforces and the FRUD used landmines. The REPU B L I Cgovernment declared the country to be “minesafe” in January 2004 following a five-year Dominican Republicde-mining program. However, in February2004 the Minister of Foreign Affairs reportedly Population: 8.9 million (3.5 million under 18)acknowledged that more work was needed if Government armed forces: 24,500Djibouti were to be mine-free by March 2009. Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription inThree girls were reportedly injured by a mine in peacetimeSeptember 2004.6 Voluntary recruitment age: 16 A UN Security Council committee repeatedly Voting age: 18reported that several countries, includingDjibouti, were violating an arms embargo on Optional Protocol: signed 9 May 2002Somalia by providing military support to an Other treaties ratified (see glossary):armed group, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182Djibouti was specifically accused of supplyingmilitary uniforms and medicines, which it The minimum age for voluntary recruitmentdenied.7 The UIC was responsible for significant was 16.levels of new recruitment and training of childrenin Somalia, some as young as ten, in late 2006.8 Djibouti signed the Optional Protocol in GovernmentJune 20069 and ratified the International LabourOrganization’s Worst Forms of Child Labour National recruitment legislation andConvention 182 in February 2005.10 practice Under the Armed Forces Law, enlistment into1 US Department of State, Bureau of African Affairs, the armed forces was compulsory in times of Background Note: Djibouti, January 2008, www. war or serious public disorder, and voluntary in peacetime. The minimum age to be a member2 UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Country of the armed forces was 16.1 However, the Profiles, Djibouti, 2007, government reported to the UN Committee on the3 Initial report of Djibouti to the UN Committee on Rights of the Child in 2007 that the minimum age the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/8/Add.39, for voluntary recruitment was 18.2 3 August 1998.4 Journal official de la République de Djibouti, Military training and military schools Décret N. 2003-0240/PRE portant création du The Armed Forces Superior Studies Specialized Service national adapté, 17 December 2003, Institute (Instituto Especializado de Estudios Superiores de las Fuerzas Armadas, IEESFA)5 Journal official de la République de Djibouti, was established in 2005 to centralize all military Arrêté No. 2003-0914/PR/MDN portant training and instruction. It grouped eight organisation et modalités de fonctionnement military academies and institutes, including du Service national adapté, 21 December 2003, the Military Institute of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. Its courses6 Landmine Monitor Report 2006, Djibouti, www. had to be approved by the Ministry of Higher Education, and its procedures and methodology7 UN Security Council, Report of the Monitoring had to promote and defend democratic values, Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council emphasizing respect and protection of human resolution 1676 (2000), UN Doc. S/2006/913, 22 rights and a culture of peace.3 November 2006.8 UN Security Council, Report of the Secretary- General on Children and Armed Conflict, UN Doc. Developments A/61/529-S/2006/826, 26 October 2006. In May 2005 thousands of Haitians and9 Declaration on accession to the Optional Dominicans of Haitian origin were expelled Protocol, across the border to Haiti.4 In September 200510 International Labour Organisation, Worst Forms the Inter-American Court of Human Rights of Child Labour Convention C 182, 1999, www.ilo. found the state’s application of nationality org (ilolex database). laws and regulations to be discriminatory in the case of two girls of Haitian descent, born in the Dominican Republic, who had been denied Dominican nationality.5130 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 133. 1 Ley Orgánica de las Fuerzas Armadas.2 Second periodic report of Dominican Republic to ECUA D O R the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/DOM/2, 16 July 2007. Republic of Ecuador3 Decreto No. 146-05, “Que crea el Instituto A—E Especializado de Estudios Superiores de las Population: 13.2 million (5.1 million under 18) Fuerzas Armadas (IEESFA)”. Government armed forces: 56,5004 Jesuit Refugee Service, “República Dominicana: Compulsory recruitment age: 18 Autoridades dominicanas expulsan en masa a Voluntary recruitment age: 17 miles de haitianos y dominicanos de ascendencia Voting age: 18 haitiana”, 16 May 2005, Optional Protocol: ratified 7 June 20045 Amnesty International Report 2006; Inter- Other treaties ratified (see glossary): American Court of Human Rights, Case of the Girls CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182 Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic, Judgment of 8 September 2005, Series C No. 130, www. The minimum age for voluntary recruitment was 17. Very few Colombian former child soldiers benefited from assistance in Ecuador. Context The Colombian armed conflict continued to affect Ecuador profoundly, with a marked increase in incursions by Colombian armed groups, thousands of asylum seekers, and smuggling and violence in border areas, as well as health concerns related to coca-eradication by means of spraying with glyphosate.1 Ecuador maintained a position of non-interference in the armed conflict in Colombia.2 Between 2000 and 2006, 700 killings were reported in Sucumbíos province, near the border with Colombia, as a result of the increased milita- rization of the area. None had been investigated by the authorities.3 The victims included civilian men, women and children.4 There were approximately 250,000 Colombian asylum seekers in Ecuador. In 2006 between 600 and 700 Colombians requested asylum each month.5 Government National recruitment legislation and practice According to the Law on Military Service, military age started at 18, when males had to fulfil their duties as determined by law, while women could be called up if required by national defence needs.6 Married men, household heads, members of religious orders, the disabled, prisoners, military and police cadets, students at military schools and Ecuadoreans abroad were exempted from military service.7 At the age of 17 all males were required to register with the military authorities and then selected to serve through a lottery system. On turning 18 they were enlisted into active service in three batches, in February, May and August.8 Military service lasted for nine months but couldCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 131
  • 134. also be performed for shorter and more intensive (usually age 16) were required to participate inperiods.9 In 2007 nearly 5,000 18-year-olds were community service programs organized by thedue to join active service.10 Recruits received Ministry of Education, such as teaching literacyuniforms, meals and a monthly stipend, as well and undertaking cultural promotion and civilas literacy, vocational and academic instruction. 11 defence activities.22 As part of this program, Those who had not been selected to join ac- students could volunteer to attend military in-tive service were at the age of 19 included in the struction every Saturday morning from NovemberCivil Defence Auxiliary Units (Unidades Auxiliares to June as members of the Voluntary Militaryde la Defensa Civil) at their places of residence Student Instruction and Community Support Pro-for a fixed time determined by law.12 gram (Instrucción Militar Estudiantil Voluntaria y Every male aged 18–55 had to have his Apoyo a la Comunidad).23military passbook (libreta militar) to work, studyor travel abroad or to obtain his university degreeor driver’s licence. Ecuadorean males wishing to Armed groupstravel abroad paid a “military compensation”: During 2005 and 2006 Colombian militarythose who did not do military service paid US$32, forces and armed groups reportedly enteredexempted men $20 and former conscripts $5.13 Ecuador’s border areas.24 In April 2007 eight All male and female nationals and residents men and one woman, presumed members ofaged 18–60 and regardless of their family circum- the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombiastances were required to participate in national (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia,mobilization in case of necessity. National mobi- FARC), were detained in Cuembí and Sansahuari,lization included military, civilian and economic Sucumbíos province, Ecuador, by members of themobilization.14 Ecuadorean armed forces.25 In June 2007, following a prolonged campaign Although Ecuador had no official records ofby human rights non-governmental organizations Colombian children and young people formerly(NGOs), the Constitutional Court declared Articles involved in the armed conflict in Colombia, most88 and 108 of the Compulsory Military Service organizations working with children and ado-Law to be unconstitutional. Article 88 established lescents believed that there could be dozens ofpenalties for those not fulfilling military service Colombian former child combatants in Ecuadorobligations, including being unable to register for and hundreds more who had crossed the borderuniversity, run for public office and travel abroad, when faced with the threat of recruitment.26while Article 108 provided that objectors had todo alternative service inside military units.15 Volunteers for the navy had to be at least 17 Disarmament, demobilizationand to have completed secondary education.16 and reintegration (DDR) The Resistance Forces (Fuerzas de Resisten-cia) were made up of civilians organized, trained Between 2004 and 2006 around 7,500 peopleand equipped by the army as a reserve force, to requested asylum each year.27 It was estimatedsupport military activities in civil defence, first aid that 27 per cent of asylum seekers were underand environmental protection. At the end of 2006 18.28 Although the 2002 Children’s and Youththe Resistance Forces had 1,600 members.17 Code had a stated policy of protection of children The National Police was an auxiliary force, in the event of disaster or armed conflict,29 thereassisting in the maintenance of internal security were no special protection policies for refugeeand defence.18 children.30 Data was scarce and incomplete and the government did not keep its own statistics.31Military training and military schools Only a very few demobilized Colombian children were known to have benefited fromIndividuals wishing to become professional reception programs in Ecuador. Most youngsoldiers underwent a practical and technical Colombians did not admit to being combatantscourse, including jungle training, and were then because of the stigma attached to it, as well asgiven a three-year contract.19 fear of being denied asylum.32 Students at the Army Polytechnic SuperiorSchool and the Naval University obtained nation-ally recognized tertiary-level degrees on graduat- Developmentsing. Human rights courses were incorporated In September 2005, on considering Ecuador’sthroughout the military educational system.20 consolidated second and third report, the UN The air force had five primary and second- Committee on the Rights of the Child reiteratedary-schools (Ecuadorian Air Force Experimental its concern over the high number of victimsEducational Units, Unidades Educativas Experi- of violence and displacement, and the healthmentales de la Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana, UEFAE) and environmental effects of spraying of illegalthroughout Ecuador accepting children from crops.33grade 1 (typically age six).21 Secondary school students in the fifth year132 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 135. International standards 21 Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana, Apoyo al Desarrollo, Educación, ratified the Optional Protocol on 7 22 Ministerio de Educación, “En vigencia reglamentoJune 2004. Its declaration stated that under the sustitutivo de participación estudiantil”, 21 Julyconstitution military service was compulsory, 2006, at 18 years of age, with provision for A—Ealternative service for conscientious objectors.34 23 Colegio Mixto Isaac Newton, www.isaacnewton. 24 Amnesty International Report 2006 and 2007.1 Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Directiva de Defensa Nacional, 2 September 2005, http:// 25 Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, “Militares ecuatorianos capturaron a ocho presuntos miembros de las FARC en la frontera norte”,2 “‘Ecuador no se entrometerá en conflicto armado Boletín No. 26, 25 April 2007. de Colombia’, reitera su Ministra de Defensa”, El Tiempo (Colombia), 14 March 2007, www. 26 Coalition interview with Simone Schwartz, UNHCR Ecuador, 10 January 2006.3 Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional 27 Ministerio de Defensa, Plan Ecuador. (CEJIL), “CEJIL y organizaciones ecuatorianas 28 Cladem Ecuador, Alternative report to the denuncian ante la CIDH la violencia e impunidad Convention on Children’s Rights, Period: en la frontera de Ecuador y Colombia”, 25 1996–2002, November 2004, October 2006, 29 Consolidated second and third periodic reports of4 Amnesty International Report 2007. Ecuador to the UN Committee on the Rights of the5 Noticias ACNUR, “Misión del Alto Comisionado a Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/65/Add.28, 15 July 2004. Ecuador y Colombia”, 9 March 2007, www.acnur. 30 Foro Ecuatoriano permanente de organizaciones org. por y con los Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes,6 Communication to Child Soldiers Coalition from El Cumplimiento de la Convención sobre los Ecuadorean embassy, London, 10 May 2007. derechos del niño en el Ecuador: 15 años después, 16 May 2005, “Se acuartelarán la próxima semana”, La Hora, 12 February 2007, 31 Respuestas escritas del Gobierno del Ecuador al Comité de los Derechos del Niño, UN Doc. CRC/C/8 Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Resumen de RESP/86, 2 May 2005. Noticias, 25 March 2007. 32 Coalition interview with social worker from Tulcán9 Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (Ecuador), 25 February 2005. (FLACSO), Programa Seguridad y Ciudadanía, Reporte del Sector Seguridad en América Latina 33 Committee on the Rights of the Child, y el Caribe, Informe Nacional: Ecuador, August Consideration of combined second and third 2006, reports submitted by Ecuador, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.262, 1310 Resumen de Noticias, above note 8. September 2005.11 “Se acuartelarán la próxima semana”, above note 34 Declaration on accession to the Optional 7. Protocol, Ley de Seguridad Nacional, at http://midena. (Información institucional, Seguridad nacional).13 Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, “Obtener la libreta militar”, 17 April 2007.14 Ley de Seguridad Nacional.15 Serpaj (Servicio Paz y Justicia) Ecuador, “Pasemos la voz: ni un joven más al servicio militar”, 2 July 2007,; Ley de Servicio Militar Obligatorio en las Fuerzas Armadas Nacionales, Articles 88 and 108.16 Armada de la República del Ecuador, Ingreso a la Armada, Tripulantes, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, “Fuerzas de resistencia conmemoran aniversario”, 22 January 2007.18 Ley Orgánica de las Fuerzas Armadas, Ley No. 109. RA/1990, at FLACSO, Informe Nacional, above note 9.20 Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Libro Blanco de la Defensa, Capitulo V, Sistema de la Defensa Nacional, “Educación”.CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 133
  • 136. is genuine and entirely willing, with the informedEGYPT consent of the parents or legal guardians after the volunteers have been fully informed of theArab Republic of Egypt duties included in such voluntary military service and based on reliable evidence of the age ofPopulation: 74.0 million (29.7 million under 18) volunteers.”4Government armed forces: 468,500Compulsory recruitment age: 18 Military training and military schoolsVoluntary recruitment age: 16 Military training for recent secondary schoolVoting age: 18 graduates was provided in some militaryOptional Protocol: acceded 6 February 2007 academies, such as the Air Defence AcademyOther treaties ratified (see glossary): and the Egyptian Naval College in Alexandria,CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWC the Egyptian Air Academy in the Sharqiya Governorate and the Armed Forces TechnicalMilitary service remained compulsory Institute.5 Children aged between 11 and 15 couldfor men aged between 18 and 30, and the be accepted in certain military schools provided that they had completed their primary schoolminimum age for voluntary recruitment education.6remained 16. DevelopmentsContext In December 2005 police violently dispersedIn April 2006 the government renewed for an more than 2,500 Sudanese refugees andadditional two years the Emergency Law (Law migrants who had been staging a peaceful sit-inNo. 162 of 1958), which allowed for the trial near the office of the UN refugee agency UNHCRof civilians before military and state security in Cairo since the previous September. As acourts.1 New armed political groups emerged, result, at least 27 Sudanese nationals, includingsuch as the Tawhid wa-l-Jihad (Unity and Holy several children, were killed and others wereWar), accused by the government of being injured.7responsible for bombings in the Sinai Peninsulawhich left hundreds of civilians killed and injured International standardsbetween 2004 and 2006.2 Members of al-Gama’a Egypt acceded to the Optional Protocol on 6al-Islamiya (Islamic Group), which renounced February 2007.8violence in late 1997, were reported to haveforged links with al-Qaeda in 2006, although 1 “Egypt”, Human Rights Watch World Report 2008.this was denied by its leadership.3 There were no 2 International Crisis Group, “Egypt’s Sinaireports of under-18s in these groups. Question”, 30 January 2007, www.crisisgroup. org.Government 3 “Egyptian group denies Al-Qaeda tie-up”, Al- Jazeera, 11 August 2006, http://english.aljazeera.National recruitment legislation and net.practice 4 Declaration on accession to Optional Protocol,Major constitutional amendments in March did not affect military service, which, in 5 Egyptian armed forces website, http://www.mmc.accordance with Article 58 of the constitution and 1 of the 1980 Military and National Service 6 Law 122 (1982) on Establishing ElementaryAct, remained compulsory for men aged between Technical Military Schools, Article 14.18 and 30. Standard military service lasted three 7 “Egypt”, Amnesty International Report 2007;years; lesser terms were stipulated for those “Egypt must probe Cairo violence”, BBC News, 31with certain types of education, such as higher December graduates. 8 See The minimum age for voluntary recruitmentinto the armed forces remained 16. In itsdeclaration on accession to the Optional Protocolin February 2007, the government statedthat “in accordance with its current laws theminimum age for conscription into the armedforces of Egypt is 18 years and the minimumage for voluntary recruitment into the armedforces is 16 years. The Arab Republic of Egypt iscommitted to ensuring that voluntary recruitment134 CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
  • 137. prosecutors and judges in the region on drug-E L S ALvADOR enforcement and counter-terrorism practices.9Republic of El Salvador Government A—EPopulation: 6.9 million (2.8 million under 18)Government armed forces: 15,500 National recruitment legislation andCompulsory recruitment age: 18 practiceVoluntary recruitment age: 16 The constitution provided for compulsory militaryVoting age: 18 service for all nationals aged 18–30 (Article 215).Optional Protocol: ratified 18 April 2002 Individuals had to enrol on the militaryOther treaties ratified (see glossary): register within one month of turning 17, but only 18-year-olds could be called up. The ArmedCRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182 Forces (Military and Reserves Service) ActMilitary service was compulsory for 18- stated that “Salvadorans over 16 years of age may voluntarily submit to the Recruitment andyear-olds. There were no under-18s in the Reserves Department or its subsidiary offices anarmed forces. application to perform military service, and the Department shall accept them according to the needs of the service”.10 El Salvador’s declarationContext on ratification of the Optional Protocol statedHarsh anti-gang laws and law enforcement that such applications required parental consent.measures were used against gangs (maras). However, there was a permanent order from theThere were an estimated 10,500 gang members General Staff of the Armed Forces “to refrainin El Salvador, with connections to other Central from accepting minors among newly recruitedAmerican countries and the USA.1 In 2004 the personnel”.11National Council for Public Security started The Committee on the Rights of the Childimplementing a Safe Country plan, the Super recommended that El Salvador explicitly prohibit byHeavy Hand (Mano Súper Dura) policy.2 Members law the voluntary recruitment of 16- and 17-year-of the armed forces patrolled with the civilian olds, to reflect current practice, and the recruitmentpolice. Children were blamed for increasing . of children under the age of 15, into armed forcescriminal violence, although of the 300,000 or groups. It also recommended the prohibition ofsuspects detained between 2000 and 2006, under-18s directly participating in hostilities. Thefewer than 6 per cent were under 18. Human government told the Committee that legal reformsrights organizations accused the government of were under way to raise the minimum age ofthe arbitrary detention of hundreds of youths voluntary recruitment from 16 to 18.12under the security policy.3 Some 43 per centof under-18s were held without proof of illegal Military training and military schoolsassociation.4 Candidates for the Capitán General Gerardo The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Barrios Military School had to be aged 17–22 andcalled on El Salvador to abrogate its second Anti- to have completed their secondary education.13gang Law of April 2004 and to apply the Juvenile In 2005 there were four 17-year-olds attendingOffenders Act as the only legal instrument in the school – three males and one female. Thethe area of juvenile justice.5 The authorities five-year curriculum of military and academicconsidered lowering the age of criminal subjects, approved by the Ministry of Education,responsibility to 12, with penalties ranging from included study of the international law of armedtherapy to custody in a juvenile detention centre.6 conflict and human rights. Most teachers were In March 2005 the Inter-American Court military officers.14of Human Rights requested El Salvador toestablish a national commission to determine thewhereabouts of children who had disappeared Disarmament, demobilizationduring the 1980–91 armed conflict.7 Children hadbeen abducted and given to families in other and reintegration (DDR)countries for illegal adoptions. In September In 2006 the government reported that former2005 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs referred the members of the Farabundo Martí Nationalcase of the Serrano Cruz sisters, on which the Liberation Front (Frente Farabundo MartíCourt’s decision was based, for investigation.8 para la Liberación Nacional, FMLN), who were In September 2005 the governments of El 15 and 16 in January 1992 and who had notSalvador and the USA signed an agreement benefited from a land program agreed betweento establish an International Law Enforcement the government and the FMLN, had receivedAcademy (ILEA) to train police officers, educational and technical training.15 According to official statistics, 152 children had opted to return to school, while 97 had chosen technicalCHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008 13
  • 138. training. Only nine children had successfully beenincorporated into the educational system and just EQUATO R I A Lone had completed the course of studies. Duringthe armed conflict an estimated 2,000 childrenserved in the FMLN, and 80 per cent of recruits in GUIN E Athe government armed forces were under 18.16 Republic of Equatorial Guinea In 2006 the Committee on the Rights ofthe Child criticized the lack of information on Population: 504,000 (257,000 under 18)measures and the program adopted with regard Government armed forces: 1,300to former child soldiers and children affected by Compulsory recruitment age: not establishedthe armed conflict.17 Voluntary recruitment age: 18