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18 Jan 2019 description

“My community now accepts me without question and sometimes girls in my community come to visit me. This makes me happy.”

Since we began research in Eastern DR Congo three years ago this month, life for this 16-year-old girl and hundreds like her formerly associated with armed groups has changed immeasurably.

In January 2016 we set out to understand what happens when girls return home from armed conflict and assess the support they receive once free from armed groups.

07 Jan 2019 description

Children continue to pay a high price in today’s global conflicts. The recruitment and use of children remains a hallmark of war and the UN Secretary-General’s 2018 annual report, released in June, listed 56 non-state armed groups and seven state armed forces for recruiting and using child soldiers in 2017.

24 Sep 2018 description

Protecting children in conflict is one of the most urgent human rights issues of our time. Around the world more than 240 million children are living in countries affected by conflict. Many of them face violence, displacement, hunger and exploitation by armed forces and groups. Child Soldiers International’s World Index – an online database mapping child recruitment practices worldwide – highlights the participation of children in at least 18 conflicts during the last year.

07 Mar 2018 description

Efforts to improve support for returning girl soldiers in Democratic Republic of Congo accelerated in February as Child Soldiers International’s National Action Group held its first workshops in the country.

Made up of government representatives and local organisations in Eastern DRC, the National Action Group will work to improve acceptance of girls formerly associated with armed groups.

06 Mar 2018 description

As an organisation, we believe it is crucial that the interests of the children and communities we work with come first.

Because of this, we refuse to publish identifiable images of the children involved in our projects. We have a responsibility to help those returning from conflict and sharing their images and stories online could well put them in danger.

27 Feb 2018 description

Children were used to fight in at least 18 conflicts since 2016 - including as ‘human bombs’ - despite a global ban on the use of children in war, a database showed on Wednesday.

Child soldiers were used in Syria, Libya, Nigeria and Colombia - all of which have ratified a United Nations treaty outlawing the conscription of under 18s and their participation in hostilities, the campaign group behind the index said.

11 Feb 2018 description

Global efforts to end the use of child soldiers are still being gravely under-resourced by the international community.

On the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers (12 February 2018), Child Soldiers International is calling for UN member states and governments to put the issue of child recruitment back on the international agenda and provide the necessary resources to prevent the use of child soldiers and adequately assist those who return home.

20 Dec 2017 description

Key events and progress over the financial year

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Central African Republic (CAR) has spiralled into increasing violence in the last year, with up to two-thirds of the country controlled by armed groups.

Thousands of children have been recruited by these groups – often with the support of their families or communities. Demobilising these children is problematic, since the armed groups who recruited them usually belong to the same communities.

08 Sep 2017 description

Walking into a Toronto bookstore Michel Chikwanine glanced up the staircase to see someone inspecting his newly published book, “It was mind-blowing to me that some had actually taken the time to read it,” he recalls of the encounter in 2016.

04 Sep 2017 description

Millions of children around the world will head back to school this week, but there are many others who will not and thousands who will be soldiers not students this September.

The prospect of getting ready for a new school year – preparing pencil cases, books and backpacks – will be a distant thought for countless children in many conflict-ridden countries.

01 Jul 2017 description

Angola ratified OPAC in 2007, ILO Convention 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labour in 2001, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in 1992. It has endorsed the Paris Principles and Commitments on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups and the Safe Schools Declaration.

Angola signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998 but as of July 2017 has not ratified it.

Recommendations

The state party should:

19 Jun 2017 description
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Practical Guide

Raped then rejected: The girl soldiers of Congo

New report reveals cycle of violence and rejection suffered by former girl soldiers in Democratic Republic of Congo and hears why some are re-joining armed groups

• Majority of girl soldiers interviewed were sexually abused by soldiers
• Up to 40% of child soldiers in DRC are girls, but of thousands released by the UN only 7% were girls
• Stigmatisation, family rejection at home causing some to re-join armed groups

14 Nov 2016 description

[14 November 2016] – Staying in school protects girls from recruitment and other grave violations by armed groups, says Child Soldiers International in a new report published today. Research conducted by the organisation in 2016 shows that many girls who joined armed groups in eastern DRC did so because they had been forced to drop out of school.

About a third of the 150 girls interviewed during the research had voluntarily joined an armed group, and almost half of them had joined because they could no longer pay their school fees.

23 Jun 2016 description

Child Soldiers International presented this report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in June 2016. It describes progress made by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in preventing child recruitment and providing reintegration assistance to girls formerly associated with armed forces and armed groups.

30 Mar 2016 description

The recruitment of children and their use in hostilities by non-state armed groups has been a serious problem for decades. Despite the scale of the problem, few sustained national and international efforts have been concentrated on tackling this serious concern. In its report A law unto themselves?

30 Mar 2015 description

The following is a guest blog from ICRtoP member Child Soldiers International. Child Soldiers International works to end the military recruitment of children and their use in hostilities, as well as other human rights abuses resulting from their association with armed forces or groups. They promote the release of children, seek their successful return to civilian life, and call for accountability for those who recruit and use them.

19 Nov 2014 description

20 November 2014 – Twenty-five years after the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Child Soldiers International and the Jesuit Refugee Service remain concerned by widespread abuses committed against children by armed forces and armed groups. Although significant progress has been made to protect children from armed conflict in the DRC, there is still a long way to go to prevent the recruitment of children, improve assistance to former child soldiers, and end impunity.

01 Oct 2014 description

The US government is continuing to exercise pressure through the application of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) by granting partial waivers to some states in order to end their unlawful recruitment and use of children in conflict. In its 2014 Trafficking in Persons report, the US Department of State listed nine states, namely the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Myanmar, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Chad, this year, does not figure in the list compiled by the US State Department.

26 Jul 2013 description

LONDON, 26 July 2013 – Rwanda must promptly implement the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to prevent child recruitment and investigate all reports of child recruitment in its territory. It must also cease any support to the M23 armed group, known to recruit children and use them in hostilities in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

01 Oct 2012 description
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Arabic Summary

The report “Louder than words: An agenda for action to end state use of child soldiers” is published to mark the tenth anniversary year of the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. It examines the record of states in protecting children from use in hostilities by their own forces and by state-allied armed groups. It finds that, while governments’ commitment to ending child soldier use is high, the gap between commitment and practice remains wide.