Click the photo above to learn more about child soldiers
A few years ago, I had the honour of meeting an incredible man by the name of Roméo Dallaire while volunteering at We Day. I learned a lot from his speech, and his passion for ending the use of child soldiers has greatly affected me. His organization, Child Soldiers Initiative, is “progressively ending the use of child soldiers through a security sector approach, combining world-class research, high-level advocacy, and prevention-focused training.” They do this through research, training, and advocacy. The United Nations says that the countries which include children in conflict are as follows: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Colombia, Nigeria, and the Philippines.
Below, thanks to another incredible organization, Child Soldiers International, are some of the many things that these children are forced into or made to do:
Some child soldiers are used for fighting – to kill and commit other acts of violence. Others are used as cooks, porters, messengers, informants or spies, or in any other way their commanders want. Child soldiers are also used for sexual purposes.
How do more than one hundred thousand kids get caught up in this atrocious act? A lot of the children used in wars are abducted and forced into battle without consent. Others feel they “need” to volunteer or enlist to support their families. According to Child Soldiers International, refugee children are particularly vulnerable — especially when separated from their parents or guardians. Children are chosen over those 18 and over because they are easier to control and manipulate, and oftentimes, cannot fight back or protest. Some examples of organizations that choose to include them are the Taliban (Afghanistan), the “Islamic State” (Syria and Iraq), the Kachin Independence Army (Myanmar), and the Mai-Mai Nyatura (Dem. Republic of Congo).
Sources: Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Initiative
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