News / Africa

    Children in Armed Conflict Abused and Exploited, Report Says

    A child soldier (C), known as "Kadogo," meaning "small one" in Swahili, stands at the front line at Kanyabayonga in eastern Congo, November 17, 2008.
    A child soldier (C), known as "Kadogo," meaning "small one" in Swahili, stands at the front line at Kanyabayonga in eastern Congo, November 17, 2008.
    Lisa Schlein
    The Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict has said millions of children caught in armed conflict are victims of grave violations and subject to sexual violence and recruitment as child soldiers.  The findings were made in a report that Leila Zerrougui has submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council.   

    All people caught in situations of conflict suffer, but children suffer the most, said Zerrougui, who added that many are killed and maimed. and often forced to witness and commit atrocities.  Children are also arrested, detained, tortured and ill-treated for their alleged association with parties to conflict, she said.

    Zerrougui reviewed the condition of children caught in armed conflict between June 2013 and July 2013 in Syria, Chad, Yemen, the Philippines and other nations at war.  Of all the countries under review, she said Somalia remains the one with the largest number of children associated with armed groups.

    “The relapse into conflict in Central African Republic and Eastern DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] has affected the most vulnerable, and children previously separated from armed groups and forces have been re-recruited," Zerrougui said.  "Reports on the situation in these countries describe a continuing and alarming trend of grave violations committed against children.  Children also bore the brunt of the conflict [that] broke out in northern Mali, where armed groups have recruited and used hundreds of children.” 

    Human Rights Watch estimates between 200,000 and 300,000 children are serving as soldiers for both rebel groups and government forces in armed conflicts around the world.  It says about 100,000 of these children are fighting in Africa.  The organization says children comprise up to 70 percent of the soldiers in some armed groups.  It says girls also are recruited, but at lower numbers and some of these girls are used as sex slaves.

    Children are used as soldiers in armed groups operating in 21 countries.  Nevertheless, Zerrougui said the United Nations is making progress in getting nations of conflict to sign action plans to end the recruitment and use of children as soldiers.

    She noted the Democratic Republic of the Congo has signed an action plan to end the recruitment and use, as well as sexual violence against children.  And the Transitional Government of Somalia has signed an action plan to end killing and maiming of children -- the first of this kind to be signed by a government, she said.

    “Building on this momentum, I have decided to launch a global initiative to end the recruitment and use of children by government security forces in armed conflict by 2016.  This initiative aims to deepen cooperation with governments that have committed to ending underage recruitment.”  

    Zerrougui is calling for the international community to respond to the plight of conflict-affected children, warning that the future of children caught in armed conflict will be called into question if more is not done to protect their rights.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.