Global Policy Forum

UN Security Council Condemns


Child Labour News Service
April 1, 2000

New Delhi - A recent United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the recruitment of children as soldiers and the killing and abuse of children in conflict is a necessary first step toward the solution of a worldwide tragedy.

The UN body recommends governmental prosecution of those who recruit child soldiers; special protection against rape and other abuses; incorporation of children's welfare into peace negotiations, and the training of peacekeeping forces in child protection. UNICEF called this resolution a significant achievement toward efforts to protect the rights of millions of children. However, a sustained effort is still needed to make effective the Council's recommendations.

According to UNICEF statistics, 300,000 children under 18 are serving as regular soldiers, guerrilla fighters, porters, spies, sexual slaves, and even suicide commandos, in conflicts under way in over 50 nations. Over the past decade, conflicts have claimed the lives of more than 2 million children; left millions maimed or permanently disabled, 10 million with serious psychological trauma, and resulted in over 12 million child refugees. In addition, worldwide conflicts have created 1 million orphans. The health and education of even larger numbers have been affected because conflicts have destroyed crops, schools and clinics. Poverty and lack of education draw many children into armed groups.

In Afghanistan, the proportion of child soldiers has reportedly risen from 30 to 45 percent. During the conflicts ravaging Sudan in the 1980s and early 1990s, thousands of young boys were lured from their homes with promises of work and education, only to be thrust into battle. Research carried out in El Salvador, Ethiopia and Uganda show that almost a third of the child soldiers were girls. Children at war tend to live under trying circumstances. Aside from the obvious danger of death, drug addiction, malnutrition, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies are common among child soldiers.

For comments or any further information please contact: Upasana Choudhry Editor, Child Labour News Website: Child Labour News

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