“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.
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.
The recruitment and exploitation of children in war persists at alarming levels across multiple conflicts. However, the reality of their experiences, how they ended up there, and where they exist are often mis-represented. Here, we address some of the most common child soldier myths.
A new court in Central African Republic established to investigate serious violations of human rights and alleged war crimes in the conflict-scathed country, held its inaugural session this week.
The Special Criminal Court, passed by law in 2015, will now officially begin investigations into some of the most serious crimes against humanity committed in the country since January 2003.
Ahead of International Day of the Girl on 11 October, we share preliminary findings from our recent research trip to South Sudan and call for a renewed focus on reintegration support for girls returning from the long-running conflict.
London, 10 October 2018 - Girls associated with armed groups in South Sudan risk missing out on vital reintegration assistance as they are either unaware of available support or are overlooked as they don’t fit the profile of a ‘child soldier’.
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.
by Diana Quick
ChildFund Alliance, together with 23 other civil society organizations, wrote an open letter regarding the situation of children in Yemen to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, ahead of the publication of this year’s Children and Armed Conflict Annual Report.
Child Soldiers International traveled to Central African Republic in May - a country where over 14,000 children have been recruited by armed groups since 2012 - to launch new initiatives helping communities, government and local organisations end this devastating practice.
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.
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.
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.
A first-ever online database on child soldiers, launched today (21 February 2018), maps the shocking scale of child exploitation by armed forces and non-state armed groups around the world.
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.
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.
1. Summary of questions and recommendations
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.
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.
This report was prepared in advance of the Committee on the Rights of the Child's 77th Pre-Session Working Group, where it will be examining Guatemala's implementation of its obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC).
Our core recommendations to Sri Lanka are:
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.
The state party should:
This report was prepared in advance of the Committee on the Rights of the Child's 78th Pre-Session Working Group, where it will be examining Algeria's implementation of its obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC).
Questions arising directly from the Committee's previous concluding observations on Algeria are as follows, recommendations are provided for in the report.