What have Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Myanmar, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Colombia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Uganda in common? These are all countries where children are used as soldiers in armed conflicts.
The UN security council this week expressed "concern at the widespread and systematic use of rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, in particular girls, in situations of armed conflict" and "called on all parties to take special measures to protect girls and boys from sexual and gender-based violence." A council statement read at the end of a daylong meeting on children and armed conflict expressed "readiness to review the provisions of its resolutions on the issue" — but it made no mention of concrete and targeted measures against violators, nor of expanding the monitoring group's activities to compiling data on rape and sexual violence.
You know, and THIS is what beats me. Children are our future. If children are part of a war machine, then war will be our future. We don't need "expressions of sympathy", we need concrete action, and a more forceful language to condemn this crime! That not only goes for the UN. I searched the web for any concrete action. I found little. There is one from Human Rights Watch stimulating the ratification of the "Child Soldier Protocol".. But that is as far as it goes.
Maybe the political pressure is the way to go. Check here for more. At least it helped in Ivory Coast, it seems:
Have a look at this site dedicated to stop the use of child soldiers. childsoldiers.net by the Belgian ex-journalist Els De Temmerman works on re-integrating Ugandese ex-child soldiers. Check out also this gallery of pictures drawn by ex-child soldiers
Update March 5: Have a look also at: What responsibility does the world bear for rehabilitating child soldiers from the horror of serving in armed conflict?, a Pulitzer Center's Global Issues/Citizens Voices Contest which gives individuals the opportunity to speak out on the most pressing issues of the day. Child soldiers is one of them.
Picture courtesy mofa.go.jp, They're our children and Amnesty International. Video courtesy UNICEF.
News source: International Aid Workers Today