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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
London, 29 November 2013 - The Myanmar government should renew its commitment to take concrete measures to end the ongoing unlawful recruitment of children into its army Child Soldier International said, on the eve of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict’s visit to Myanmar. The visit offers an important opportunity for the Working Group to reiterate its August 2013 recommendations in its meetings with Myanmar government officials, leaders of armed opposition groups, and the donor and international community.
Deliver commitments to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers
[LONDON, 23 January 2013]
Despite moves towards political reform, children continue to be recruited and used as soldiers by armed forces and armed groups in Myanmar, a report published by Child Soldiers International said today.
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.
Introduction and principle recommendations
Child Soldiers International (CSI) submits this report for consideration by the Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee) in advance of its examination in January 2012 of Thailand‟s initial report under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC).
Executive summary and key recommendations