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.
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?
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.