The Problem ofChild SoldiersBy Allison ReillyMarch 3rd, 2008Amnesty International
The Basics Anyone under the age of 18 who isinvolved militarily in conflict 300,000 child soldiers fighting inconflicts around the world Child Soldiers in the DRC
Yes, It is a Big Deal Uniquely vulnerable to military recruitmentbecause of emotional and physicalimmaturity Easily manipulated and drawn intoviolence that they are too young to resistor understand Technological advances in weaponry andproliferation have contributed to theincreased use of child soldiers Lightweight automatic weapons can beused by children as easily as adults
Yes, It is a Big Deal Most likely to become child soldiers if theyare poor, separated from their families,displaced from their homes, living in acombat zone or have limited access toeducation Many join because of economic or socialpressure, or because they believe that thegroup will offer food or security. Others are forcibly recruited, "press-ganged" or abducted by armed groups.
Yes, It is a Big Deal In some countries, like Nepal, Sri Lanka andUganda, a third or more of the child soldierswere reported to be girls. In some conflicts, girlsmay be raped, or given to military commandersas "wives May serve as porters, cooks, guards,messengers or spies Many are pressed into combat - forced to thefront lines or sent into minefields ahead of oldertroops Sometimes forced to commit atrocities againsttheir own family or neighbors.
Testimonials “Early on when my brothers and I werecaptured, the LRA explained to us that allfive brothers couldn’t serve in the LRAbecause we would not perform well. Sothey tied up my two younger brothers andinvited us to watch. Then they beat themwith sticks until [they] died. They told us itwould give us strength to fight. Myyoungest brother was nine years old.” - Martin, recruited by the Lord’sResistance Army in Uganda at age twelve
Testimonials "When the mayi-mayi attacked my village, we all ran away...the soldiers captured all the girls, even the very young.Once with the soldiers, you were forced to "marry" one ofthe soldiers…If you refused, they would kill you... My"husband" did not beat me too often. ..But one day, he waskilled in an attack. I felt I was in danger and I should leave.On the way, as I was pregnant, I had my baby. I was alonein the bush, without medication. I still have pain from this.Then I went to the village of my "husband", but his parentsrejected me and my child, after taking all my belongings.They blamed me for his death. I wanted to go to my home,but it is so far away, I was afraid the mayi-mayi would findme and capture me again." -Jasime, from DRC, was recruited in June 2002 by aninsurgent group (mayi-mayi) in South-Kivu, when she was12. She is now 16 and has a four-month-old baby
Problem Behind theProblem Rehabilitation Poverty Arms Trade International Law
What Has Been Done Geneva Conventions Optional Protocol to the Conventionon the Rights of the Child on theInvolvement of Children in ArmedConflict
What You Can Do Sign the Petition! Available both here and at SLAMnesty Action Appeal! Write a letter to the Russian government Donate! Amnesty International or Child SoldierCoalition Trust Atlas Week Event!