No child should experience the horrors of armed conflict.

No child ever started a war. Yet every time a war breaks out, children as the most vulnerable members of society suffer the worst. The international community has long recognized that children have no place in wars, yet children are still victimized. Many children are even forced to fight in these wars. Today, over 300,000 children, some as young as seven, are involved in hostilities in over 30 countries.

We must remember before going to war how high the price paid by children will be. And when the war is over, when it is time for healing, the children must not be forgotten. The rehabilitation, reintegration and involvement of children must be central to any peace-building process.

Peace gardens to war drawings

After peace is declared, the victims of war can be forgotten despite a continuance of war conditions and fighting. This is all too often seen in war zones or former war zones where families have little means to rebuild their lives. Aside from economic provisions attention also needs to be paid to rehabilitating children and recognising the psychological traumas they have experienced. What are people and organisations doing around the world to take action for and with children after war has ended? 'The War Through my Eyes' Many organisations have stated a need for children to express reactions to war in whichever ways are most familiar. In this project initiated b...

Your country's record on child soldiers

United Nations Security Council Resolutions and every major report on the subject has identified the need for regular reporting and stronger action to protect children caught in today's wars. Watchlist country reports detail all factors related to the impact or threat of armed conflict on children including adolescents. They combine information from various sources and analysis from child right's experts and make recommendations for action. The Watchlist operates within the framework of the universal human rights principles. You can contribute and take part in the efforts of Watchlist by - providing information to the Watchlist on your country, - using ...

Small arms are weapons of mass destruction

'More and more of the world is being sucked into a desolate moral vacuum. This is a space devoid of the most basic human values; a space in which children are slaughtered, raped, and maimed; a space in which children are exploited as soldiers; a space in which children are starved and exposed to extreme brutality.' Graça Machel's seminal report – 'The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children' – was published and submitted to the United Nations General Assembly in 1996. Look no further for an excellent introduction to the use of arms and their impact on children! Eight years on it is still widely used and referred to by the human rights community. How can you join i...

Campaigning for children with refugee status

'Refugee children suffer a form of double jeopardy. A denial of their human rights made them refugees in the first place; and as child refugees they are also frequently abused, as the most vulnerable category of an already vulnerable population.' Human Rights Watch Refugee camps are part of war situations both during and after the fighting. Although refugee camps provide some respite from the terrible conditions of war, often the protection they offer is not enough or does not meet initial expectations. Health and safety conditions are often lacking. Furthermore camps are often a permanent arrangement rather than a short term one and thus many issues need be address...

Take action to get rid of landmines!

The placement of landmines is a reality of modern warfare and particularly worrying because it is difficult to warn people of their unknown locations. The distressing reality of landmines is their existence after a war conflict. Landmines due to their size and characteristics can be hidden almost anywhere, in a field, mountains, near a well; all prime areas in which children may play or visit. Landmines continue war, even when peace is declared. In 1999, the Mine Ban Treaty was agreed; the international agreement that bans antipersonnel landmines. The treaty is the most comprehensive international instrument for ridding the world of the scourge of mines and deals with everyt...

Too young to fight

'It is immoral that adults should want children to fight their wars. There is simply no excuse for arming children.' Archbishop Desmond Tutu One of most distressing aspects of modern day warfare is the extensive use of child soldiers. In war torn countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Angola to mention but a few, the use of child soldiers is common. Use of child soldiers also covers issues such as child labour, exploitation and results in the oppression of a child's rights. An estimated 300,000 child soldiers - boys and girls under the age of 18 - are involved in more than 30 conflicts worldwide. Child soldiers are used as combatants, messengers, porters, cooks and to pr...
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