All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection. Although significant progress has been made in children’s rights in the last century, many children today have their basic human rights violated Estimates suggest that as many as 300,000 or more child soldiers are active in conflicts around the world. 40% of armed forces (including national armies, militias, gangs, terrorist organizations and resistance forces) in the world use children.
Child soldiers have been used by armed groups in recent and ongoing conflicts in Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America. “Childhood should be carefree, playing n the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul” – Dave Peeler BBC – Child Soldier Anna Kari BBC News * In Uganda, child soldiers who escape their captors are brought to a rehabilitation centre in Gull, where Anna Kari photographed their life and spoke to one of the boys. – This first sentence provides insight to the interesting news to come in the article. BBC have located interesting knowledge about what happens to soldiers after they escape id they ever do. The former child soldiers or soldier in this case, provide the journalist with inside information on what heir lives were like in the camp. By the journalist retrieving this information and showing it in this article they are providing the public with useful information for them to better their knowledge about the soldiers. * It creates more talk about child soldiers and more public awareness which is one key feature of making a change.
International Law The internationally agreed definition for a child associated with an armed force or armed group (child soldier) is any person below 18 years of age who is, or who has been, recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, cooks, porters, messengers, spies or for sexual purposes. It does not only refer to a child who is taking or has taken a direct part in hostilities. Paris Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups, 2007 This violates the accepted international rules of war which is defined as a war crime. Until 1998, no convention provided for the crime of child recruitment. Therefore the only avenue under international law for prosecuting offences committed before that time was if customary international law had criminals t. The continued use of child combatants affronts the underlying human ideals that motivated the creation of these laws [and] illustrates the international community’s failure to protect the world’s children. ? A B Abbott (2000, 520) Legal Responses – International * The Geneva Conventions were a series of four treaties adopted between 1864 to 1949 to regulate the conduct of armed conflict. However it was not until 1977 that the issue of child soldiers was first raised. * The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) which is one of the most important international human sights treaties states the minimum age of recruitment to 15, and discourages recruitment of children under 18. It also creates obligations to minimalism harm to all children during armed conflicts. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998) established a permanent court to try persons charged with international crimes. Recruiting children under 15 years old or using them to participate in hostilities was specifically added as a war crime. *The Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention (1999) prohibits the forced recruitment of children under the age of 18 for direct use in armed conflict, as well as slavery ND sexual exploitation. The treaty has now been ratified by over 170 countries. The Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (2000) sets the minimum age for direct participation in hostilities or compulsory recruitment at 18 years old, and it raised the minimum voluntary recruitment age to 16. The Optional Protocol has received wide support and has now been ratified in over 1 30 countries. * The UN Security Council has adopted a number of recent resolutions condemning the use of child soldiers and calling for a rigorous monitoring and reporting system of buses. One of the most significant developments is the ICC under the Rome Statute has begun to charge a number of individuals with war crimes relating to child soldiers in armed conflicts. Legal Responses – Domestic * In 2008, the UN enacted the Child Soldiers Accountability Act which allowed the US to prosecute individuals domestically who have knowingly recruited or served as soldiers in or outside the US. * In Australia the minimum conscription age under s 59 of the Defense Act 1903 (Act) is 18 years.
Nan-legal Responses International * The ILL and the UN Children’s Fund (EUNICE) play a role in research, roving recommendations to the UN and member states where necessary and promoting the spirit and obligations of the treaties on children in armed conflict. * There are also a host of international Nooks that conduct important work in monitoring and reporting on the issue, educating the public and lobbying government and international organizations to take action. The most significant of these is the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers Child Solders Child Soldiers International is an international human rights research and advocacy organization. Goals: To end all forms of military recruitment or the use in hostilities, in any capacity, of any person under the age of 18 by state armed forces and non- state armed groups, as well as other human rights abuses resulting from their recruitment and use.
In support of this goal there are five three-year (2011 2014) strategic objectives to: * End the use of children in hostilities by government armed forces and state-allied armed groups. * Build momentum towards achieving a global ban on the voluntary recruitment of children (under the age of 18) by state armed forces. * Improve the effectiveness of interventions to prevent the recruitment and use of children by non-state armed groups. * Strengthen accountability for individuals responsible for the unlawful recruitment and use of children.
Promote the application of human rights standards to processes for the release, recovery and reintegration of child soldiers. Non-legal Responses – Domestic There are many domestic Nooks that work in the area of children’s rights. Recently one strong movement has developed internationally that allows interest groups, individuals, schools, and other institutions to take part in a global effort to raise awareness on children in armed conflict. * ‘Red Hand Day’ is a campaign that takes place annually on February 12 to draw attention to the issue of child soldiers. Also groups and individuals assist in the rehabilitation of former child soldiers, by helping relocate their families, get back into school and re-enter society. *The media also plays a role in informing the public about the existence of child soldiers. * Films, books and documentaries also help to inform more people about the problem. One example is the 2006 movie Blood Diamond which shed a light on some of the horrific aspects of the diamond trade in parts of Africa, Films like this can have a huge impact on the global awareness of the issue of child soldiers.
Effectiveness * Although significant progress has been made in children’s rights in the last century, many children across the world today are still denied basic human rights * The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers states in their 2008 Global Report that progress has been made, but efforts from every party need to be multiplied to achieve the goals. Innocence lost as recruitment of children continues February 15, 2010 Sydney Morning Herald This article on Sydney Morning Herald is bringing to light the horrific problems that many children face in less fortunate countries.
The article uses many statistics that can make the public aware of just how serious the problem is. “There are approximately 300,000 children acting as front-line troops in armed conflict worldwide, with another 500,000 who are conscripted into government, paramilitary and guerilla groups as sex slaves, porters, cooks, spies and to plant landmines. ” – this is the beginning statement to the article which will engage traders to continue to read on, which benefits the awareness of the issue.
They also state the fact that developed countries such as Australia, Britain and the United states are still allowing children under the age of 18 to join their forces. This enlightens the readers to just how serious the fact is that their child who is still in high school could in go and join the army and it is legal. By providing this information, SMS will have managed to stir up thought in the readers minds and the readers are now aware of the problem, and will most likely tell the story to others.