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Child Soldiers


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A unit of work about child soldies, based on the Red Cross unit for schools in the UK.

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Child Soldiers

  1. 1. Child Soldiers
  2. 2. Learning Outcomes <ul><li>Once you have completed the activities: </li></ul><ul><li>you should begin to understand the plight of child soldiers </li></ul><ul><li>you should understand some of the reasons why children become soldiers </li></ul><ul><li>you should understand how the child’s rights have been infringed. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Child soldiers There are an estimated 300,000 child soldiers all over the world, active in at least thirty countries. Some are as young as eight. The problem is most critical in Africa and Asia, though children are also used as combatants by governments and armed groups in many countries in the Americas, Europe and Middle East. When a village or community is attacked, the surviving children are often taken away to training camps. They are told that those who try to escape or disobey the rules will be killed. While some children are recruited forcibly, others are driven into armed forces by poverty, alienation and discrimination. Many children join armed groups because of their own experience of abuse at the hands of state authorities. Both governments and armed groups use children because they are easier to condition into fearless killing and unthinking obedience. Sometimes, children are supplied with drugs and alcohol.
  4. 4. Child Soldier Questions for discussion What do you think of this picture? Why does a child become a soldier? What would it be like to be a child soldier? How might a child soldier behave differently from an adult soldier? Is the treatment of these children unfair? Why? Discuss what might happen to these children once they stop being soldiers. Where can they go and what can they do?
  5. 5. Child Soldiers Look at the picture. Answer these questions: 1. How old are these children? 2. How might they have become soldiers? 3. What do you think they might have been asked to do? 4. What could have happened to their parents and family? 5. Why might they be frightened? 6. Why are these children often unable to return to their home? 7. What kind of work activities might they have to carry out? 8. What could happen to a child soldier once the fighting has finished? Now write a story describing a day in the life of a child soldier.
  6. 6. Child Soldiers <ul><li>Extension activities </li></ul><ul><li>Make up a drama around the life of a child soldier. Include their capture, their training and living conditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Go through a selection of newspapers and cut out any pictures that show armed conflicts currently taking place around theworld. How might children be used as soldiers in such conflicts? </li></ul><ul><li>Using the internet, investigate how different organisations are attempting to stop the use of child soldiers. e.g. the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross), UNICEF, Amnesty, Human Rights Watch. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Vocabulary conflict war resistance rights fairness abduction fighter soldier combatant fear hope