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?
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.
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).