child soldiers

Who Are Child Soldiers?

Author: rina Nazarkina / Posted Mar 15, 2016

In this post I am going to tell you everything you need to know about child soldiers. Firstly, who can be called a child?

The legal definition of ‘a child’, according to The Human Rights Act of 2008, is ‘a child’ is anyone who has not reached the age of 18. The age of child soldier can vary and some child soldiers are as young as 6 years old. There is no way that a child psychology is fully developed at young stages, which increases a chance of mental illness.

27 March 2011. Rounyn: A child collects bullets from the ground in Rounyn, a village located about 15 km north of Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur. Most of the population in Rounyn recently fled to camps for displaced people due to the clashes between the Government and the armed movements. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran / UNAMID

Children as soldiers have been used for years. Most notable examples are Hitler’s Youth movement and Joseph Kony’s Lord Resistance Army (LRA).

FILE – In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph Kony answers journalists’ questions following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland at Ri-Kwamba in southern Sudan. Ten years ago the international treaty that created the ICC came into force, creating the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal. The head of a planned African Union force to hunt warlord Joseph Kony said on Wednesday, July 25, 2012, that he can’t start his task because he doesn’t have troops, equipment or the necessary funding. (AP Photo/Stuart Price, File, Pool)

‘But why would you use children?’ you might ask. Here’s why:

Children are believed to have a lot more advantages than adults:

They are easy to manipulate due to their age,

They are less likely to run away due to fear

They do not demand salaries and they are able to use lethal weapons (the AK-47 can be stripped and reassembled by a child of 10).

Moreover, children usually tend to have more reasons to fight some of which are: revenge for their dead family and siblings, social identity and religious beliefs.

Child soldier phenomenon is an on-going problem in the world today. There are various organisations helping to support rescued child soldiers. IASCS specifically targets mental health issue, which children have as a result of their war experiences.

Leave a Reply