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

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    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.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora