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In this updated bibliography, as in the
2005 edition, we have concentrated on presenting, in one document, articles
and reports that are freely available online. We hope that such a 'one-stop
source' will be particularly helpful for busy practitioners who either
do not have easy access to libraries, or lack sufficient time/funding to
research many such source documents.
Child soldiers. Two simple words. But they
describe a world of atrocities committed against children and sometimes
by children. Committed in many different countries and often hidden from
the public eye. We know how devastating these experiences are for children
- thanks to the courage and determination of those who have spoken out
and called on the international community to take action on their behalf.
This report contains an overview of the
thematic discussions, working groups and other reflections which occurred
during the forum on children's involvement in armed groups held in Chateau
de Bossey, Celigny, Switzerland in July 2006 by the Coalition to Stop the
Use of Child Soldiers (the Coalition).
A major international conference entitled "Free children from war" was held in Paris on 5 and 6 February 2007.
In this issue of the Child Soldiers Newsletter
we look at prevention and the challenges involved in stopping children
from becoming soldiers in the first place. The international human rights
and humanitarian community has long realized that the issue of prevention
in the fight against the recruitment and use of child soldiers is as important
as their demobilization and reintegration.
This bibliography has been developed as
part of the Child Soldiers Coalition's project on armed groups and the
involvement of children in armed conflict. The Coalition's research
has shown that by 2004 most children taking part in armed conflict worldwide
were involved with a range of non-state armed groups, many fighting in
opposition to government forces.
Since it began to address children and
armed conflict in 1999, the UN Security Council has made substantial progress
in developing strategies and mechanisms to end abuses against children
in conflict situations, particularly in regards to the recruitment and
use of children as soldiers. Each resolution adopted by the Council to
date has built on those adopted previously, and advanced the agenda further.
The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (the Optional Protocol) was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by the UN General Assembly on 25 May 2000. It entered into force on 12 February 2002. The protocol sets 18 as the minimum age for direct participation in hostilities, for compulsory recruitment by governments and for all recruitment into armed groups.
Children are used in armed conflicts by
government armed forces, paramilitary and other government-backed groups
and by armed opposition groups. The Optional Protocol to the Convention
on the Rights of the Child, already signed by more than 100 governments,
was a major step in preventing child recruitment by government armed forces
and has led to a reduction in such recruitment in a number of countries.
However, up to 70% of children fighting today are not part of government
armed forces but armed groups in over twenty armed conflicts.
This report documents child recruitment policies
and practices in 196 countries and territories and reviews trends and developments
related to the use of child soldiers. It highlights failures - by the international
community, governments and armed groups - to protect children's fundamental
human rights, and advocates the prosecution of child recruiters by the
International Criminal Court and other justice mechanisms. The report is
divided into the following sections:
- Americas and Caribbean
- Europe and Eurasia
In places like Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone,
thousands of children who were used as soldiers have returned to their
families and communities and may hope for a better future. Many others,
even in those countries where the war is just over or DDR programs are
in place, will still be excluded and abandoned.
In many of today's conflicts, adolescents
represent the majority of children who fight or are associated with armed
forces and groups; however, they are often ineligible for demobilisation
programs for child soldiers as they become adults in the ranks of armed
groups, missing the opportunity for rehabilitation and reintegration into
a peaceful community.
This report contains information on the recruitment
and use of child soldiers in 17 countries from January 2003 - (i.e. since
the adoption of UN Resolution 1460) through to September 2003. It addresses
the following issues :
- Government forces
- Non-state armed groups
- Demobilization and child protection programmes
20 November 2003. London - As the world celebrates Universal Children's Day, children continue to be forced to fight in increasingly protracted conflicts. Those children's rights look good on paper but are not respected or enforced in practice. Even in wars that might seem to be over, there is still a long way towards guaranteeing that former child soldiers are reintegrated, rehabilitated and freed from re-recruitment in yet another conflict.
This report examines 72 different parties to
armed conflict that are using children as soldiers, and more than 25 others
in which children are at serious risk. The report includes concrete recommendations
for each situation and calls upon the international community to start
turning its promises into practice.
Questioning the adequacy of UN Security Council Resolution 1379, defining who is a party to an armed conflict and what constitutes use of children as soldiers, the report highlights the many more situations in which children suffer.
Based on research carried out between 1999 and
2000, this report contains information on the prevalence of child soldiers
in 180 countries and territories. The chapters provide a global overview,
a world map of child soldiers and the situation of individual countries
with respect to:
- National recruitment legislation
- Child recruitment
- Military training
- Developments regarding international standards
With children under the age of 18 serving in
armed forces and armed groups around the world being more vulnerable to
serious physical and psychological violence, this report offers an initial
attempt to address the need to document and analyse the link between child
soldiers and sexual exploitation.
For this purpose, the report examines global dimensions and trends in the sexual exploitation of child soldiers, revealing some of its basic patterns and suggesting root causes.
This report documents and assesses the extent
of military recruitment of children and their use as soldiers in armed
conflicts in Africa. The following aspects are considered:
- National legislation on recruitment into the armed forces
- National recruitment practice
- Extent of child participation where armed conflict is ongoing
- Basic demographic data and information
The report was used as a background document to the African Conference on the Use of Children as Soldiers, held in Mozambique in April 1999.