“The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that is the essence of inhumanity.” From The Devil’s Disciple by George Bernard Shaw
What is “Child Soldiering?
Child Soldiering is the systemic abduction, coercion, recruitment and use of children as combatants and in other abusive combat-related roles into which children are forced or coerced, including as “recruiters” of other children as soldiers, to kill, rape, maim, intimidate and torture, or serve as cheap or unpaid servitude, and/or as sex slaves to military or paramilitary forces. It also refers to government, rebel group, mercenary and private military contractor abduction, recruitment and conscription of children as soldiers and servants in declared or undeclared wars or conflict.
Who Become the Victims of Child Soldiering?
Children who come from poor communities, largely uneducated and dealing with survival issues, are the most likely to become child soldiers.
Children usually become soldiers through abduction or coercion or through mandatory conscription or forced recruitment. Children and youth from indigenous rural populations are especially at risk. Others join to accompany an older family member, or are encouraged to join by family members as a source of income or protection.
For some children, joining a military organization provides a sense of security, takes care of immediate survival needs and bestows a sense of identity. In some instances, children join liberation struggles, such as during the Freedom Struggle in apartheid South Africa, or to counter a threat to a group or nation. Political and religious ideologies also motivate some children to join military organizations. Governments also use children as part of its national military force.
Most people must feel “effective” before they will act on behalf of others. This is true in every society.
Coalition to stop the use of child soldiers:Created in 1998, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers works to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers, to secure their demobilization and to promote their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.