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Child Soldiers

Page history last edited by Chelsea 14 years, 6 months ago



Picture taken from: http://www.tamilnational.net/images/2009/personal/Child_Soldiers_Coalition_TamilNational.jpg


What is the problem?


          Hundreds of thousands of children, both boys and girls, are involuntarily being recruited into government armies, paramilitaries, and civil militia in more than 30 countries around the world (Kindberg 1). Most are abducted from their homes and their schools and forced to become soldiers. However, some children join to avenge family members and because they see it as the only way to survive. Although there are no exact figures, hundreds of thousands of children under the age of 18 serve in government forces or armed rebel groups and some are as young as eight years old (Facts About Child Soldiers).




Why is this happening? 


          There are several reasons as to why children are being forced to join militaries. Some are due to breakdowns in social structure, but the main reason is because children, as sadistic as it may sound, are cheaper to keep than adults are (Kindberg 2). Children need less food than adults and they don’t need to be paid because the armies keep them petrified that the next day will be their last. Also, when conflicts drag on, children are used to maintain high numbers of fighters even after heavy casualties (2). Lastly, children are not as mature as adults so they can be easily trained and brutalized into a very violent lifestyle.




Picture taken from http://www.appletreeblog.com/wp-content/2009/01/child-soldiers-congo.jpg

What are the children made to do?


     Once abducted, the children are forced into battle, most of the times in the front line. Even though both boys and girls are made to battle, many of the girls are subjected to rape and sexual assault. Some are even given to military commanders as “wives” (Facts About Child Soldiers). However, many children may serve as porters or cooks, guards, messengers, or spies. On several occasions, they have been used for suicide missions or to clear landmines (Facts About Child Soldiers).


Which of their rights are being violated?

   "On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights" (The Universal Declaration...). 

This declaration was to be publicized through all of the member countries of the UN and displayed around those countries to prevent future violation of rights. There are two rights that are being violated by using children as soldiers.


Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment.


Article 26: Everyone has the right to education.


     As the children are tortured, beat, and threatened to join the army, the militias around the world invovling children in such atrocities have violated Article 5. Also, because the children are being driven from schooling where children should be (and many want to be there), Article 26 has been violated.


Where at is this happening?


     These atrocities are happening in more than thirty countries around the world including the Congo, Colombia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Sudan. As mentioned before, a breakdown in social structure could result in child soldiers being recruited into armies as well as third world countries.



Picture taken from http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_NniLVUAkJPw/ScCYuWnOHlI/AAAAAAAAADo/9QySMuNCYu8/s320/UNMAP.gif


Sierra Leone


          During a ten year civil war, children were being recruited into rebel forces and government forces alike. The Revolutionary United Front, or RUF, soldiers would lie silently in wait for government tropps often for days at a time. The abducted children would join the soldiers in these tactics and were deliberately given lightweight automatic rifles because they were easily manageable for the small children (The Child Soldiers...). A unit was created specifically for the boy children within the RUF called the Small Boys Unit, or S.B.U. for short. Many of thousands of children were often high on marijuana or crack cocaine and committed terrible atrocities on the civilian populations. One such atrocity including cutting open the stomachs of pregnant women to see what the sex of the baby was inside (The Child Soldiers...). 





     Conflict in the northern parts of the Uganda have caused many children to be abducted into the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to fight against the Ugandan army. After several days as captives, the children are made to carry heavy loads, given brutal beatings, and are sometimes even forced to kill other abductees (Uganda 1). Once they performe these tasks, children will begin training. It is believed that eight out of ten fighters is estimated to be under eighteen (Uganda 2).  




     As with many other places with child soldiers, Colombia uses its child soldiers to spy and kill mercilessly. However, Colombia's marxist guerrilla gangs offer the children money to join. The Colombian government estimated that over 8,000 children are caught up in the four decade struggle (Crisis means more...). Children as young as ten are recruited to transport arms and to spy where they are later trained for combat.


What's being done?


  • Amnesty International
    • As a member of the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, AI works to end the recruitment of children into armed forces and to reintegrate former child soldiers back into civilian life (Children and Human...)
    • UNICEF has teamed up with former child soldiers to give those a voice who have suffered during their times as captives. They are hoping to help rehabilitate child soldiers by sending them to school where they can learn to express there own views. According to UNICEF, if we let these acts continue to happen, we're going to have a world where the future leaders would not have any moral and eithical standards at all by leaving these children behind (Former child soldiers...).

Picture taken from http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/print/2009/2/war_is_for_kids.jpg






Works Cited:


Children and Human Rights. Retrieved September 22, 2009 from http://www.amnesty.org/en/children


Crisis means more child soldiers in Colombia - UN. Retrieved September 25, 2009 from http://www.reuters.com/article/americasCrisis/idUSN11388946


Facts About Child Soldiers. Retrieved September 23, 2009 from http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2008/12/03/facts-about-child-soldiers


Former child soldiers launch UN-backed network for children caught in conflict. Retrieved September 14, 2009 from http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=29031&Cr=children&Cr1


Kindberg, J. Child Soldiers. Retrieved September 22, 2009 from http://www.thesituation.co.uk/features/child_soldiers/child_soldiers.html


The child soldiers of SierraLeon. Retrieved September 22, 2009 from http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/global_crime_report/investigation/soliers 1.shtml


Uganda: Former Child Soldiers Excluded in Adulthood. Retrieved September 22, 2009 from http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/feature-stories/uganda-former-child-soldiers-excluded-adulthood-20051014


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Retrieved September 24, 2009 from http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/








Comments (1)

Kori Atwood said

at 10:15 am on Sep 25, 2009

Good start. Make sure you discuss which of their human rights are being violated.

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