The Fact stories about The Child soldiers Put forward by Red cross Norway
The stories that touched my heart...
The stories which left millions of people in to astonishment and speechless…
And the stories that arouses Goosebumps and cry for the state of Human right of child soldiers….
(The programme about' child soldiers' is organized by Red Cross Norway at Oslo,The programme focussed on the rights of child soldiers,their experiences and rehabilitations in a documentary form and a shout for the further actions for them.)
When Ismael beah was 14, He was recruited into the Sierra Leon army. He remained a soldier for almost three years. In his testimony, read today by Samkelo Mokhine .He described his first experience at ths front line. He is now studying in U.S.
‘When we got there we were in an ambush, the rebels were attacking when we were in the bush. I did not shoot my gun at first, but when you looked around and saw your school mates, some younger than you ,crying while they were dying with their blood spilling all over you, there was no option but to start pulling the trigger. The sight stays with you. I was just pulling the trigger. I lost my parents during the war, they told us to join the army to avenge our parents.’
Source: Franz Kruger,’ Child soldier active in 41 countries, ’Radio Netherlands, June 12 2001
In Uganda children are caught in the battle between, Uganda’s Peoples defense force (UPDF) and the lord’s resistance Army (LRA) rebel force, which is committed to overthrowing the Ugandan government and to this end rounds up children from villages it raids and forces them to join with them. One 16 year old girl testified to the cruelties she endured when a boy tried to escape:
One boy tried to escape, but he was caught. The made him eat a mouth full of red pepper, and five people were beating him. His hands were tied, and then they made us, the other new captives, kill him with a stick. I felt sick. I knew this boy from before. We were from the same village. I refused to kill him ,and they told me they would shoot me. They pointed a gun at me, so I had to do it. The boy was asking me,’ why are you doing this?’ I said I had no choice. After we killed him they made us smear his blood on our arms. I felt dizzy. There was another dead body.I felt so sick. They said we had to do this so we would not fear death, and so we would not try to escape.’-Susan 16
Source: Human rights Watch, The scars of Death: Children abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, Human Rights Watch Report,1997,http://www.hrw.org/reports97
‘The first time I went into battle I was afraid. But after two or three days they forced us to start using cocaine, and then I lost my fear. When I was taking drugs, I never felt bad on the front. Human blood was the first thing I would have every morning.. It was my coffee in the morning….every morning.’
Source: Youth Ambassadors for peace, Voices and stories, Free the children 2001,
‘I was in the Front lines the whole time I was with the opposition force. Used to be assigned to plant mines in areas the enemy passed through. They used us for reconnaissance and other things like that because if you are a child the enemy doesn’t notice you much; nor do the villagers.’- Former Child soldier from Burma /Myanmar
Source: Former child soldier from Burma/ Myanmar, Interview by Human Rights Watch, Liberia, April 1994, in Human rights watch, the voices of child soldiers, Human rights watch 2004, http//www.hrw.org/campaigns/crp/voices.htm#N_4_.
‘They beat all the People there, old and young, they killed them all, nearly ten people…like dogs they kill them… I didn’t kill anyone, but I saw them killing… The children who were with them killed too…. With weapons…. They made us drink the blood of people, we took blood from the dead into a bowl and they made us drink… then when they killed the people they made us eat their liver, their heart, which they took out and sliced and fried…. And they made us little ones eat. ‘
-Peruvian women recruited by the Signing Path at age 11.
Source: Peruvian women, Interview by R Brett and M.McCallin, in Rachel Brett and Margaret McCallin, Children: The invisible soldiers,(Stockholm:Rådda Barnen,1996),127.
Zaw Tun’s story:
‘I was recruited by force, against my will. One evening while we were watching a video show in my village three Army sergeants came. They checked whether we had identification cards and asked if we wanted to join the army. We explained that we were under age and had not got identification cards. But one of my friend said he wanted to join. I said no and came back home that evening but an Army Recruitment unit arrived next morning at my village and demanded two new recruits. Those who could not pay 3000 kyats had to join the Army, they said. I (My parents) could not pay, so altogether 19 of us were recruited in that way and sent to Mingladon (an army training centre)’
Source : BBC World service,’ Zaw Tun’s Story, ’In Children of conflict: A human right issue, BBC World service
Jean Paul’s story
‘’’I joined the army to get food for my mother, my brother and sisters’, says Jean Paul 15. Jean Paul is one of 4500 Rwandans children, aged 10-18, who was in the military during the countries brutal civil war? Wearing ragged soiled clothing and running barefoot on the rugged lava rock, Jean Paul looked like any other Refugee boy. Jean Paul now lives in a refugee camp near Goma , I the democratic republic of Congo, where he is one of 630 demobilized child soldiers in the UNICEF-funded reintegration project, which provides schooling, job skills and activities aimed at promoting self esteem.’’
Source: Global March against Child labor, The voices of former child soldiers, Global march against child labour, http://www.globalmarch.org/childsoldier/voices.php3.
The Human Right Watch has put forth many facts about the Child soldiers. It says ,Although there are no exact figures, hundreds of thousands of children under the age of 18 serve in government forces or armed rebel groups. Some are as young as eight years old. Since 2001, the participation of child soldiers has been reported in 21 on-going or recent armed conflicts in almost every region of the world. Technological advances in weaponry and the proliferation of small arms have contributed to the increased use of child soldiers. Lightweight automatic weapons are simple to operate, often easily accessible, and can be used by children as easily as adults. Children are most likely to become child soldiers if they are poor, separated from their families, displaced from their homes, living in a combat zone or have limited access to education.
In Nepal’s context, Maoist seem to use more and more children taking advantage of their emotional and physical immaturity. They are easily manipulated and can be drawn into violence that they are too young to resist or understand. There have been many stories shared by children who are used by Maoist during the insurgency either forcibly or by convincing .Many joined Maoist group because of economic or social pressure, or because they believed that the group will offer food or security. Others are forcibly recruited, "press-ganged" or abducted by armed groups. Both girls and boys are used as child soldiers. In Nepal, a third or more of the child soldiers were reported to be girls, which is also same in Sri Lanka and Uganda. In some conflicts, girls may be raped, or given to military commanders as "wives." Children are sometimes forced to commit atrocities against their own family or neighbors. Such practices help ensure that the child is "stigmatized" and unable to return to his or her home community. Once recruited, child soldiers may serve as porters or cooks, guards, messengers or spies. Many are pressed into combat, where they may be forced to the front lines or sent into minefields ahead of older troops. Some children have been used for suicide missions.
In 2000, the United Nations adopted an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. The protocol prohibits the forced recruitment of children under the age of 18 or their use in hostilities. To date, it has been ratified by more than 110 countries. The ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labor prohibits the forced or compulsory recruitment of children under the age of 18 for use in armed conflict. It has been ratified by over 150 countries. In some countries, former child soldiers have access to rehabilitation programs to help them locate their families, get back into school, receive vocational training, and re-enter civilian life. However, many children have no access to such programs. They may have no way to support themselves and are at risk of re-recruitment …