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:
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
An Open Letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres
As organizations working to protect the rights of children in armed conflict, we are dismayed by your reported decision to “freeze” any new additions of parties to conflict that commit grave violations of children’s rights to the annexes to your 2017 annual report to the United Nations Security Council on children and armed conflict. We urge you to reconsider, and issue an updated list with your report, including all perpetrators responsible for patterns of grave violations against children in 2016.
On February 8, the UN General Assembly held an informal meeting marking the 20th Anniversary of Resolution 51/77 (1997) on the promotion and protection of the rights of children. This resolution established the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC). In his opening remarks, President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, called the resolution “a landmark development in our global efforts to improve the protection of children in conflict situations.” A high-level panel discussion was moderated by SRSG-CAAC Ms.
[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.
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.
Secretary-General’s De-Listing Opens Door to Political Manipulation
(New York) – The United Nations secretary-general should immediately return the Saudi-led coalition to his “list of shame” for violations against children in Yemen, Human Rights Watch and 19 other organizations said today in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
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?
Summary of concerns
Myanmar’s November 2015 Parliamentary election resulted in a sweeping victory for the National League of Democracy (NLD), generating hopes that the new NLD-led government will bring about a demonstrable improvement in the country’s human rights situation. Child Soldiers International has documented the widespread recruitment and use of children as soldiers in Myanmar for over a decade, and believes that the new government needs to make a renewed commitment to ensure that the Tatmadaw Kyi (Myanmar military) becomes a child-free army.
Over the last six months, Child Soldiers International has found worrying evidence of child rights violations by the Chadian army, and non-compliance with child protection commitments by the Chadian authorities.
The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is among seven non-state armed groups in Myanmar listed in the 2015 Annual Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict as a party which recruits and uses children. The UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting on grave violations against children has documented persistent recruitment and use of children by the KIA since 2007.
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.
Myanmar: Further steps needed to end army’s recruitment and use of children
Measures identified in the UN Joint Action Plan need to be urgently implemented
Children as young as 14 have been recruited and used by the Barisan Revolusi Nasional Melayu Patani (BRN) and other armed groups operating in southern Thailand, research by Child Soldiers International and the Cross Cultural Foundation shows. The research was conducted in nine districts in the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla between September 2013 and April 2014. Detailed interviews were conducted with 26 former and current members of armed groups, at least 13 of whom were recruited below the age of 18.
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.
London, 11 November, 2014 - The passing of legislation to criminalise underage recruitment in the Afghan National Security Forces constitutes a significant step in protecting the rights of Afghan children, Child Soldiers International said today. Last week, the Afghan Lower House of Parliament approved the draft law which criminalises the recruitment and use of children in state security forces.
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.