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Child Soldiers

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Saved by Chelsea
on September 25, 2009 at 12:42:09 pm



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.



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.




Sierra Leone











Works Cited:


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




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


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/








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