“War violates every right of a child – the right to life, the right to be with family and nurtured and respected”, (Grace Machel, UN, 1996).
List of Countries with Child Soldiers Fighting in Recent and Ongoing Conflicts Colombia (P,O) Mexico (P,O) Peru (O) Russian Federation (O) Turkey (O) Yugoslavia (former Rep. of) (P,O) Algeria (P,O) Angola (G,O) Burundi (G,O) Chad (G) Republic of Congo (G,O) Dem. Rep. of the Congo (G,O) Eritrea (G) Ethiopia (G) Rwanda (G,O) Sierra Leone (G,P,O) Somalia (all groups) Sudan (G,P,O) Uganda (G,O) Iran (G,O) Iraq (G,O) Israel and Occupied Territories (G,O) Lebanon (O) Afghanistan (all groups) India (P,O) Indonesia (P,O) Myanmar (G,O) Nepal (O) Pakistan (O) Philippines (O) Solomon Islands (O) Sri Lanka (O) East Timor (P,O) Tajikistan (O) Papua New Guinea (O) Uzbekistan (O) G: government armed forces P: paramilitaries O: armed opposition groups
There are estimated to be 250,000 child soldiers in the world. 40% of child soldiers are girls
Most child soldiers are aged between 14 and 18, While many enlist "voluntarily" research shows that such adolescents see few alternatives to involvement in armed conflict Some enlist as a means of survival in war-torn regions after family, social and economic structures collapse or after seeing family members tortured or killed by government forces or armed groups. Children as young as nine have been involved in armed conflicts
In October 2008 President Bush signed into law the Child Soldiers Accountability Act, which will allow the US to prosecute persons in the United States who have knowingly recruited or used children under age 15 as child soldiers, even if the children were recruited or served as soldiers outside the United States. It also allows the United States to deport or deny entry to individuals who have knowingly recruited children as soldiers.
Organizations fighting against the use of child soldiers