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STUDY GUIDE – miniMUN MMXIII - UNICEF – Child Soldiers


TABLE OF CONTENTS EDITO  ................................................................................................................................................  3   PRESENTATION  ............................................................................................................................  4   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM  ...........................................................................................  5   HISTORY OF THE PROBLEM  ..................................................................................................  8   CURRENT SITUATION  .............................................................................................................  12   RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL ACTIONS  .........................................................................  15   BLOC POSITION  ..........................................................................................................................  17   POINTS A RESOLUTION SHOULD ADDRESS  .................................................................  19   BIBLIOGRAPHY  ..........................................................................................................................  20   FURTHER READINGS  ...............................................................................................................  22  

STUDY GUIDE – miniMUN MMXIII - UNICEF – Child Soldiers


EDITO Dear Delegates, Welcome to our second annual miniMUN Conference within the IEP of Strasbourg and congratulations for having chosen to be member of this committee! For one day, we will be simulating the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in discussion of one vital topic affecting every nation on the globe: the military use of children. Though UNICEF typically takes a proactive and rights-based approach to these kind of issues, it is crucial to evaluate the countering needs for societal protection, economic efficiency, and justice into account to the greatest extent possible, while still advocating and protecting children’s rights on an international level. While approaching these topics with the necessary finesse and prudence will be challenging, I have confidence that this session will be able to resolve several unanswered questions on both fronts by collaborating across blocs and incorporating the solutions and ideas of as many players as possible. Best of luck during your research and preparation process! I hope this guide will be useful to get you versed in the basics of this topic. In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact our team with any questions. Warmest regards, The miniMUN MMXII UNICEF Committee Chairs Board Alexandre NEYMANN Director Email:

Marianne LEMBERGER Vice-Director Email:

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children under the age of eighteen are serving in direct combat action. In over twenty countries, more than 1.1 million children under the age of fifteen are used as porters, sex slaves, guards, spies and land mine testers. Robbed of an education and thus the hope for a better future, these children grow into adults that perpetuate the cycle of violence in war-torn countries. Gripped in a society of perpetual conflict, the only adults that they can trust to provide food, water, and shelter are military, paramilitary, and guerilla soldiers. They are often forced to kill their family members and commit devastating atrocities such as forced labor, rape, and torture. Clearly, the physical, psychological, and social damage can be insurmountable. While this is certainly a pressing security issue, it is above all a moral one. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child explicitly bans the use of child soldiers but this practice continues to be rampant. The abuse of these children’s rights needs to be addressed by the international community immediately in the light of a growing number of international civil conflicts in the post-Cold War era. INTRODUCTION OF THE COMMITTEE: UNICEF UNICEF, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, is an organization dedicated to improve and save the lives of children around the world by providing education, nutrition, health care, medication, sanitation, and relief during times of emergency. It is a crucial organ of the United Nations that was created in 1946 to provide food, clothing, and healthcare to European children affected by post-World War II famine and disease. In 1953, the United Nations General Assembly accepted UNICEF as a permanent extension of the United Nations. With contributions from government entities and private donors, UNICEF uses its resources to help protect and develop the basic human rights of defenseless children around the world. UNICEF has assisted in saving more lives of children than any other humanitarian organization, and it believes in creating a world where no children die from reasons that can be prevented.

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STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Child soldiers are defined by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as boys and girls under the age of 18 who become part of a regular or irregular armed force or group in any capacity - whether in combat or support roles. Throughout the world, thousands of children are used as frontline combatants, saboteurs, porters, human shields, sex slaves, spies, carriers, “wives,” cooks, and land-mine testers in arguably the worst perversion of child labor. In the last decade of warfare, more than two million children have been killed, a rate of more than 500 a day, or one every three minutes. Of these two million deaths, tens of thousands are caused directly by fighting from bullets, bombs, landmines, machetes, knives, grenades, and other weapons. Over the same period of time, half a million children from 87 countries have been recruited by government forces or armed groups, resulting in significant numbers of child soldiers across every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Every year, 300,000 children are coerced or induced to take up arms for various causes, ranging from civil war, rebellion, revolt, and insurrection to bandit or guerilla warfare. This number has grown significantly from 200,000 in 1988. Child soldiers are currently serving in over 36 major wars. Another 8,000-10,000 die annually because of landmines. According to statistics from a situation update report submitted by Pawan Bimali and Bishnu Pathak to the Conflict Study Center in 2009, 80% of conflicts involving child soldiers include combatantsunder the age of 15, with some as young as seven or eight, and 40% of all child soldiers are girls. Approximately 120,000 of the 300,000 child soldiers are found in Africa, followed by the Asia-Pacific region at a distant second with 75,000. Additionally, Africa has the highest rate of growth in child soldier usage.Though much of existing literature implies that the explosion in non-state actor recruitment of child soldiers is responsible for the dramatic increase in victims, state recruitment remains high in several conflicts. For example, the Sudanese civil war of 1993-2002 started with child soldier use between rebel and government forces at a ratio of 64:36 respectively, but ended with a ratio of 24:76.

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The geographic and historical prevalence of child soldier usage can be explained by the various advantages these young combatants confer on a state or non-state armed group. Compared to adults, children are much easier to capture, train, and handle. With the advent and proliferation of small arms, technological barriers to operation of weaponry by children were removed. Small weapons are light and cheap—weighing as little as seven pounds and costing roughly US$6 - and are also easily assembled, loaded, and fired; they can be used by children as young as ten years old. Children are also valuable as “cannon fodder,” sent to distract or divert the enemy when weapons are low. Both state and non-state actors require strict obedience and discipline from their soldiers. Young, impressionable, and eager to please, children are often attractive recruits because of their loyalty. Children are also more readily available for unpaid service via easy capture, as well as harder to spot and kill by the enemy. Some commanders also believe they are more efficient fighters, benefiting from the hesitancy shown by enemies who are unsure or unwilling to harm children in the opposition. For these reasons, child soldiers are frequently coerced, abducted, or forcibly recruited into service. On the other hand, many child soldiers are pulled into military service and are compelled to volunteer for a variety of reasons, including political beliefs, religious obligations, family affiliations, and survival. In a time of conflict and war, families may offer their children as soldiers in order to gain physical and economic security. Or, children orphaned by the war or its accompanying diseases may enlist just to have a steady source of food, clothing, and shelter. Children may also join an armed military group due to peer pressure or an urge to avenge abuses and atrocities they themselves have experienced during civil conflict. Traditionally, a majority of children enlisting for political or religious reasons fall into non- state groups, while those seeking economic security will tend to enlist in state armies. Regardless of whether the child was forced or volunteered, military service is a violation of children’s rights as outlined in several international documents. Article 38 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) obligates State parties to “take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained theage of fifteen years do not take a direct part in hostilities” and to “ensure protection and care of children who are affected by armed conflict.” Article 39 further requires State Parties to promote recovery and reintegration of children affected by armed conflict. In addition, the Convention requires State parties to take effective measures to abolish social practices that are prejudicial to children’s health, which as the UN argues, would “necessarily include practices that put

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children in harm’s way in the context of armed conflict.” The 1998 Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court classifies the use of children under 15 by armed groups in intentional attacks as war crimes.24 All these documents agree that the core rights of the child include the right to education, play and recreation, and love and care. Even if they are trained and indoctrinated by their armed recruiters, these children do not experience a holistic education that allows them to become sufficiently prepared to make their own decisions in life. An armed existence not only necessarily robs them of their right to recreation but also affects their view on their own rights to relaxation and leisure later on in life. Often physically separated from their families, child soldiers are stripped of their right to familial love and care. Not only does armed conflict violate children’s rights, but it also severely impacts children physically, psychologically, and socially. War has a vastly more detrimental impact on children than on adults, as it strips away the traditional protection of family, society, and law that children rely on during peacetime. The physical drains in a child soldier’s life include: taxing and strenuous activities such as carrying heavy objects and traveling far distances; exposure to harsh conditions and the elements; hunger; and lack of sleep and rest. Meanwhile, psychological stresses from family separation, military involvement, becoming wounded, witnessing deaths, torture, and constant worry have long-lasting consequences. As child soldiers, living in a dangerous and suspenseful environment induces much stress on mental health, causing former child soldiers to report episodes of paranoia that still afflict them long after their days on the battlefield are over. Reports of former child soldiers suffering from alcoholism, emotional disturbance, and criminality are not uncommon.Further symptoms range from introversion and isolation to depression,headaches, and phobias. When children are forced to train in preparation for a kill, they tend to become more antagonized and emotionally distraught than their adult counterparts. These psychological symptoms are compounded by poverty and create far more serious, long-lasting consequences on the child’s overall mental health than those a child experiencing regular Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder in a western context would encounter. The life of a child soldier is also particularly difficult for girls, who often suffer from horrendous crimes like rape and sexual assault, in addition to menstruation in unsanitary conditions, limited freedom of movement, and disproportionate physical demands from adults that tend to ignore their gender. They are generally assigned more non-combative duties and have less ability to advance through the military ranks than their male counterparts.

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The military use of children afflicts an entire society by perpetuating violence and hindering development. It has long been understood that socialization of violence in youth creates a generation of violent adults that perpetuate the instability in a nation. Exposure to violence and experience with firearms severely shifts the psychological make-up of child soldiers from children raised under a less harsh social environment. Once a nation’s children have learned to accept violence as a fact of life and comfortably use firearms for security and power, the foundations of a violent society have been laid and will be difficult to eradicate.

HISTORY OF THE PROBLEM EARLY EXAMPLES The earliest examples of the military use of children go back to the wars of antiquity. Children living in the Mediterranean basin were frequently employed as aides, charioteers, and armor bearers. Their use was detailed in the Bible, Egyptian Art, and Greek Mythology. 19TH CENTURY The 19th century witnessed a more systematic recruitment, training, and indoctrination of youths by various military leaders to advance their ambitions. French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte practiced routine and systematic recruiting of boys around age fifteen during the early 1800s. Napoleon’s armies swelled with youths as young as twelve, and the young navy cadets were called “powder monkeys.” Similarly, in 1827, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia put forth an annual conscription quota for Jewish males aged 12-25, requiring them to serve for 25 years. Other examples of 19th century child soldier use did not stem from ambitious dictators, but rather the legitimate desire to defend or maintain one’s homeland. In 1861, US President Abraham Lincoln allowed soldiers under age 18 to enlist in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Also, during its attempted unification in the early 19th century, Nepal did not have any systematically organized state armed forces and all local people (including children, women, and the elderly) got involved in the conflict.

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20TH CENTURY The practice of child soldiering skyrocketed in the 20th century. The most memorable example of child soldier usage in the past century was the Hitler Jugend (Youth) in the closing days of World War II (1939-1945), where 1,000 children aged 10-18 were responsible for combat and various support services. Remnants of the organization at the close of the war were mowed down by Russian forces, though the survivors were not prosecuted by the international community. During China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Mao Ze Dong utilized children for revolutionary purposes. Red Guards aged eight to fifteen were responsible for the most heinous acts, including the capture, torture, and murder of adult civilians deemed “enemies of the revolution.” In addition, African independence movements were accomplished with the aid of child soldiers. In particular, Angola and Mozambique enlisted several children in the 1970s to achieve colonial independence. Since the end of the Cold War, a rise in intrastate conflict has resulted in warfare impacting children in unprecedented ways. Many young teens fought in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the war for independence against the Serbs in 1997-98. Many children went on to join other Albanian rebel groups, serving in both the Liberation Army of Presevo and the Albanian National Liberation Army. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) of Uganda - a sectarian religious and military group operating in northern Uganda - frequently abducts children from villages and forces them into conscription to engage in armed rebellion against the national government. Reports from former child soldiers reveal shocking living conditions, sexual exploitation, and general squalidness.

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The civil war in Sierra Leone lasted from 1991-2001 and resulted in the forced recruitment of 15,000-22,000children from their villages, who were then funneled into military conscription; about half were between the ages of 8 and 14. The Sudanese civil war was also fraught with the forced recruitment of child soldiers by both government forces and the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA). Government forces, in addition to training youth in only 14 days to prepare them for combat on the front lines, engaged in the practice of selling child slaves from marginalized areas in the southern part of Sudan. PREVIOUS ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY The Geneva Conventions of 1949 were the first steptowards the protection of civilians and other special groups during times of armed conflict. The original Geneva Convention had four Parts; in particular, Part III described the special category of “protected persons” in time of war, though the definition of “children” varies. In 1977, the two additional Protocols to the original four Conventions were drafted. Protocol I applied to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts, reaffirming the original Geneva Convention while clarifying certain provisions based on developments in modern international warfare. Protocol II

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applied to victims of internal armed conflict, taking the original Convention beyond the quite limiting scope of wars of “international character,” as conflicts were originally defined. Specifically, Article 77 states that all Parties shall “take all feasible measures in order that children who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.” Additionally, if a child is captured in war, “they shall continue to benefit from the special protection accorded by this Article.” In the 1980s, children became increasingly victimized by armed conflict, and thus, legislation that dealt explicitly with the problem became necessary. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) makes children’s best interest a primary consideration for all government bodies. An almost universally accepted human rights instrument, the CRC is ratified by all states except for the United States and Somalia. Its most relevant article to the case of the military use of children is article 38(2) which reads: “States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.” Many states have taken this provision further by ratifying the convention under the proviso that the mandatory minimum age should be 18.55 In 1998, significant advances were achieved when the International Criminal Court declared that the use of children under 15 in military conflict a war crime under its Rome Statute. In this treaty, the delegates agree to prohibit not only children’s direct participation in warfare, but also their active participation in military activities such as sabotage, reconnaissance, spying and the use of children as decoys, messengers, or at security (military) checkpoints. It also prohibits the use of children in direct support of efforts to carry supplies to the front line and defines sexual slavery as a crime against humanity. Ayear later, the International Labour Organization Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (1999) prohibited forced or compulsory recruitment of children under 18 for use in combat.58 Article 3(a) defines the worst forms of child labor as “all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labor, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.” The African Union followed suit with its African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1999), which prohibits recruitmentor participation in direct hostilities of anyone under 18.6. It is the only regional treaty in the world that deals with the issue of child soldiers. With the turn of the century, even greater efforts were channeled by international bodies and states to address this increasingly visible issue. In 2000, the International Conference on War Affected Children: From Words to Action, was held in Winnipeg, Canada - a powerful

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gathering of interested individuals, relevant organizations, and former child soldiers that resulted in several strong outcomes. Subsequently, the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the use of child volunteers by state actors (2000) was drafted. It sets the minimum age for compulsory recruitment or direct participation in hostilities at 18; calls upon States parties to raise the age for voluntary recruitment and to provide special protections and safeguards for those under 18; categorically prohibits armed groups from recruiting or using in hostilities anyone under 18; and calls upon States parties to provide technical cooperation and financial assistance to help prevent child recruitment and deployment, and to improve the rehabilitation and social reintegration of former child soldiers. Additionally, there are several movements led by non-governmental organizations (NGO) and the general public aimed at pressuring international bodies and states to act upon the existing legal framework for protecting children’s rights. Red Hand Day (February 12th) is an annual commemoration day for current and former child soldiers. The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and other organizations frequently organize mass demonstration activities, such as a walk to symbolize the distance child soldiers walk daily, or a 25-hour silence to mark the 25th year of the Uganda conflict. Increasingly, these movements are driven by youth, for youth, and champion former child soldiers as their spokespersons and advocates.

CURRENT SITUATION TRENDS AND THEMES Present-day usage of child soldiers is marked by several









commoditization of the use of child soldiers and its implications for war- torn countries gripped by violence. Increasingly, there is a connection between government inadequacy and neglect and the rise in child soldiering. Studies have noted that non-state armed groups are starting to offer a semblance of government by providing basic social services such as health, education, dispute settlement, and a sense of protection in areas where the government has failed to meet with its obligations to its citizens by to

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provide labor, housing, food, and education. As a result, children in war-torn countries ironically turn to non-governmental armed groups for some form of stability and routine in their lives. The 21st century has also seen strong connections between the use of child soldiers, the availability of education, and the level of development in many nations. In a 2002 study about Filipino child soldiers by Rufa Cagoco-Guiam, an overwhelming majority of child soldier respondents came from poor, economically marginalized communities whose parents were also involved in armed groups. Another emerging trend that gives cause for great worry is the general acceptance of child soldiering as a demographic need or a cultural practice. More and more, the disturbing phenomenon of the acceptance of child soldiering in Africa as a cultural tradition has emerged, an outgrowth of the theory of cultural relativism—the idea that an individual’s activities (such as the use or recruitment of child soldiers) should be understood inthe context of his or her culture. This argument is also emerging in the Muslim context. According to Islamic belief, childhood stops at the onset of puberty (14 or 15 years old). At this time, followers are expected to observe and exercise Islamic teachings—including heeding the call of holy war. The appropriate response to such claims of cultural relativism lies in two sources of universalism: science and international human rights law. Scientific studies have outlined a universal timeline of neurological development for the human child; no matter what culture, religion, or background, most children have the same level of development and maturity at every age point - a fact that makes a standard minimum age for adulthood based on scientific measures of mental development appropriate. As for the question of whether the right to culture or children’s rights are to be respected, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child encodes the idea that a child’s interests are to be given paramount consideration. The African Union echoed this sentiment by prohibiting cultural practices that might be prejudicial to a child’s health or life in its Charter on Children’s Rights. Another trend is the prevalence of terrorism and the ensuing use of children in terrorist activities, which creates tension between the universal protection of children and the need to respect cultural practices - both of which are valuable UN ideals. This issue merits careful consideration by the UNICEF as to whether or not different standards should be set for child terrorists vs. child soldiers.

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THE QUESTION OF POST-CONFLICT GUILT The question of post-conflict guilt among child soldiers is answered by different people in various ways based on the specific circumstances of the child’s involvement with armed groups. Traditionally, international courts have supported the absolutist legal doctrine that no matter the circumstances, children cannot be found guilty of any acts they committed below the age of 18. Their guilt is no less than an adult’s when they choose to join a military and commit violent acts. In other words, if children are entitled to the same rights as adults, fair justice and the spirit of equality would demand that children be held accountable and metered the same punishments as adults. Opposing scholars rebut that rights and justice are as much about dialogue, dependence, and welfare as they are about individualistic autonomy and reason, and as such, an impartial justice must recognize and protect a special sphere for children.

DISARMAMENT, DEMOBILIZATION, REHABILITATION, & REINTEGRATION (DDRR) The question of what to do with former child soldiers is also fraught with uncertainties and complications. Traditionally, nations have utilized a Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration









Demobilization constitutes the assembly, registration, and transportation en masse of former child soldiers in preparation for a return to civilian life; and Reintegration means social and economic assimilation of former child soldiers into civilian life. For the purposes of our discussion, we will take a more comprehensive approach to DDR advocated by certain

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scholars, by including a second “R”, Rehabilitation—the restoration to good condition using therapy or education. An issue this committee needs to address is the inadvertent exclusion of girls from many DDRR programs because of their classification as non-combatants, which causes many of them to be re-recruited. Because girls do not serve in direct combat as often as boys, they do not qualify for many types of DDRR programs, and yet their trauma is just as damaging. Additionally, interim care centers for children transitioning from military service proved dangerous for girls, as they were housed with boys that were still learning to control their violent tendencies. Because girls are often saddled with the burden of children born in wartime and tend to have greater psychosocial needs than boys, many sites simply turn them away because they are not equipped with child-care or mental health services. In addition, as the case of Liberian ex-child soldiers demonstrates, disabled ex-combatants form an additional neglected subgroup that needs more attention in the overall DDRR process. Many DDRR programs are simply not equipped with the materials or experience to work with children suffering from advanced psychiatric or physical disabilities because of their involvement in conflict.

RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL ACTIONS After a groundbreaking report on child soldiers was released by Grach Machel in 1996, the UN General Assembly recommended in 1997 an appointment of a Special Representative to the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. Former Secretary- General Kofi Annan appointed Olara A. Otunnu to the position. The Special Representative works with the Security Council, HRC, General Assembly, member states, NGOs, and the public to create policy on the prevention and DDRR of child soldier usage. The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child was strengthened in 2000 with the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, the product of six years of debate in working groups established by the UN Commission on Human Rights. The







conscription to 18 and requires states parties to take all

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feasible measures to ensure that state forces and nongovernmental armed groups do not recruit or use persons below 18. It also promotes international cooperation and assistance in the rehabilitation and reintegration of former child soldiers. Today, the Protocols are independent from each other and the CRC, meaning that any state can ratify the Convention, Protocol I, or Protocol II independently. In 1997, UNICEF published its Cape Town Principles and Best Practices on the Recruitment of Children into the Armed Forces and on Demobilization and Social Reintegration of Child Soldiers in Africa. A decade later, A/HRC/RES/11/1 (2009) was passed bythe HRC, establishing an Open-ended Working Group to explore the possibility of elaborating an optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to create a reporting procedure. During troop withdrawal from various international conflicts, UNnegotiated action plans provided for the demobilization of children in Uganda (2009) and Afghanistan (2011). The UN Security Council also elaborated on the use of child soldiers in its Resolutions 1261, 1265, 1296, 1314, 1379, 1460, 1539, 1612. In particular, 1261 (1999),1265 (1999), and 1296 (2000) deal with the protection of civilians in armed conflict and have also emphasized children’s particular vulnerability and need for special protection. Stressing that children should be a main priority in the international community, the Security Council also exhorted member states in its resolutions to incorporate children in any comprehensive strategy for conflict resolution. Additionally, the Security Council goes further to enumerate six grave violations against children during wartime, and apply these as a basis to protect children in future conflicts using the appropriate monitoring and reporting mechanisms: • The killing or maiming of children; Recruitment or use of child soldiers; • Rape and other forms of sexual violence against children; • Abduction of children; • Attacks against schools or hospitals; and Denial of humanitarian access to children. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations, a body operating under the Security Council, is heavily involved in demobilization of child soldiers in nearly every peacekeeping mission. As for recent resolutions, the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights has established an Open-ended Working Group to explore the possibility of allowing communication for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a process by which individuals can allege to the HRC that their rights have been violated under such a convention. Currently, the HRC allows communication for five human rights treaty bodies. The Working Group is

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currently drafting an optional protocol to the CRC to see if such a procedure can be established.

BLOC POSITION WESTERN WORLD & JAPAN This bloc of developed nations traditionally includes, but is not limited to, nations like the United States, Canada, the European Union, and Japan. Though these nations have all extensively used child soldiers in their collective histories, they have now effectively banned state and most of non-state recruitment within their territories. Nevertheless, legal issues abound on the topics of terrorism, torture, and recruitment. For example, poor regulation could result in the voluntary enlistment of 16 or 17 year olds before they are legally eligible to enlist, according to international standards. In addition, domestic civil liberty organizations within these nations have targeted national recruitment campaigns aimed at children, and take issue with the stationing of military recruitment officers in public schools for this purpose. Far more can be done from this group of nations on an international scale to avoid the recruitment of child soldiers. The United States, for instance, has yet to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child, resulting in the act having less force than it could in the international arena. Additionally, this bloc should look into using its economic leverage to sanction or cut off military support to nations that employ child soldiers in their state armies. As always, funding support for DDRR initiatives is always needed, and derives in large part from this bloc of nations. Thus, they will always have significant sway over the direction and contents of DDRR policies. AFRICA Africa is considered the epicenter of child soldier usage. As mentioned above, 200,000 of the 300,000 global numbers of child soldiers serve in Africa, in state or non-state armed groups. The rate of increase in conscription is also highest in this continent. African child soldiers are so frequent because of the exacerbating circumstances of poverty, lack of education, disease, and frequent civil conflict. Any comprehensive resolution that deals with the issue of child soldiers must take into account the African experience and must address the social ills that exacerbate child soldier usage. Despite its overwhelming challenges, Africa has made several strides in recent years to address and eradicate the problem. The African Union is the only regional organization that

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has drafted a convention on the rights of the child in armed conflict. The truth and reconciliation commissions of several former African conflicts have taken care to include the recruitment and usage of child soldiers as a war crime for which adults need to be accountable. However, Africa still faces several challenges that cannot adequately be addressed without the input and support of the international community. CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA The most notable uses of child soldiers in Central and South America are by non-state actors such as warlords, rebel groups, drug lords, and gangs. In a fractionalized region with very little central control racked by issues of illicit trade, children are frequently recruited as drug mules, suicide bombers, and combatants because adults correctly assume that governments, reluctant to suspect or punish youths, will allow the rebel actions (illicit trade, terrorist attacks, etc.) to continue unhindered. DDRR in these cases is especially precarious because communities have come to harbor immense distrust and displeasure for children, many of whom have killed women and the elderly on behalf of their organizations. Since voluntary recruitment is more frequent here than in Africa, communities are quick to write off child soldiers as innately violent and refuse to help them reintegrate into existing societal structures. Thus, trust- building mechanisms are sorely needed in these regions by the governments in order to promote stabilization and development.

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THE MIDDLE EAST As mentioned above, the War on Terror has resulted in an increase in child soldier usage in the Middle East. Children under Islamic doctrine are exhorted to carry out holy war and thus voluntarily sign up for suicide missions to bring glory to their families. As western troops are preparing for demobilization, they are starting to notice scores of child soldiers in the employment of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. DDRR will be vitally important in this region moving forward. Especially important is the plight of female ex-child soldiers, many of whom have borne children as a result of rape. In the traditional Muslim context, they are shunned from their families because of this “shame,” and thus, alternate methods of reintegration are needed for these girls, but may be difficult to secure. CENTRAL AND EAST ASIA Child soldier usage in Central and East Asia was more prevalent historically, but abuse still occurs in these regions. Examples range from the Tamil Tigers’ usage of children in Sri Lanka to the employment of child terrorists in the region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Generally, though, governments in these areas are cooperative and eager to find solutions to child soldier usage in order to allow development to foster.



How do earlier human rights documents, especially those detailing children’s rights, apply in the issue of the military use of children?


Are children entitled to special rights and protections because of their age? If so, what are they and why? Who is responsible for these protections – the state, the parents, or society at large? If not, on what basisand with what kinds of implications?


Should there be an international standard minimum age for combat action and/or military support? If so, at what age should it be? If not, at what level should the minimum age be established if at all?


To what extent are children responsible for the actions or inactions they commit while serving in combat action?

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Should the international community make a distinction between children’s guilt when participating in regular combat action vs. terrorism against civilians?


What sort of punishments and/or incentives can the international system give recalcitrant states, paramilitary organizations, and individual actors for their use of child soldiers?


What are the external factors that exacerbate the worldwide situation of child soldiers? What can the HRC and other organizations do to mitigate these circumstances?


What steps can the international community take to prevent child soldiers from returning to military combat either as children or as adults?


How can we provide the necessary medical, psychological, and physical rehabilitation necessary for children to make a break from their pasts of violence and bloodshed?

BIBLIOGRAPHY INTRODUCTIVE VIDEO => WEBSITES • Amnesty International: • Child Soldiers International: • Goldin Institute: • Human Rights Educate Associates: • Human Rights Watch: • Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for children and armed conflict: • The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative: • UNESCO: • UNICEF: • United Nations: • Wikipedia :

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SPECIALIZED & NEWSPAPERS ARTICLES • Achvarina Vera and Reich Simon, « Why do children “fight”? Explaining Child Soldier ratios in african intrastate conflicts », University of Pittsburgh Ford Institute for human security policy brief, 471 • Blouin Max, « The Economics of Child Soldiering », CIRPÉE, Cahier de recherche/Working Paper, June 2009, • Dowdney Luke, « Child combatants in organised armed violence: a study of children and adolescents involved in territorial drug faction disputes in Rio de Janeiro », ISER / Viva Rio, Rio de Janeiro, 2002, • Poissonnier Ghislain, « Enfants soldats : lutter contre les idées reçues », Grotius International Géopolitique de l’humanitaire, May 2012, • Tynes Robert, “Child Soldier Use: The Diffusion of a Tactical Innovation”, 0Workshop/The%20Diffusion%20of%20a%20Tactical%20Innovation.pdf Courrier International: •« Nord-Kivu : Mademoiselle Kalachnikov », 25 octobre


Le Monde • Geneste Alexandra, « Des centaines d'enfants soldats au Mali », Le, 20 juin 2013, • Janier Aymeric, « Enfants soldats : "L'Afrique ne représente qu’une facette du problème" », Le, 12 février 2012, • Janier Aymeric, « Les enfants soldats face au défi de la réinsertion », Le, 12 février 2012, • Pierret Coralie, « "C'est la première fois qu'on parle d'enfants soldats au Mali" », Le, 19 juin 2013,

STUDY GUIDE – miniMUN MMXIII - UNICEF – Child Soldiers


The Economist: • Under-age killers, December 10th 1998, • The Lord’s army resists, April 18th 2002, • Not reunited, December 3rd 2011, OTHERS • Ministère des Affaires Étrangères et Européennes Français, « Journée internationale des enfants soldats », 12 février 2012, • Harvard Model United Nation 2012, Human Rights Council, Cambridge MA, 2012, • Goldin Institute Event, Map of Child Soldiers, 2007, • P.a.p.-Blog // Human Rights Etc., « Statistics on Child



FURTHER READINGS English: • Beah, Ishmael. A long way gone: memoirs of a boy soldier. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008. Print. • Cook, Kathy. Stolen angels: the kidnapped girls of Uganda. Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2007. Print. • They fight like soldiers, they die like children: the global quest to eradicate the use of child soldiers. New York: Walker & Co., 2011. Print. • Denov, Myriam S.. Child soldiers Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Print. • Eichstaedt, Peter H.. First kill your family: child soldiers of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army. Chicago, Ill.: Lawrence Hill Books, 2009. Print. • Jal, Emmanuel, and Megan Lloyd Davies. War child: a child soldier's story. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 20102009. Print. • Kahn, Leora. Child soldiers. New York: PowerHouse ;, 2008. Print. • London, Charles. One day the soldiers came: voices of children in war. New York: HarperPerennial, 2007. Print.

STUDY GUIDE – miniMUN MMXIII - UNICEF – Child Soldiers


• McDonnell, Faith J. H., and Grace Akallo. Girl soldier: a story of hope for northern Uganda's children. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Chosen, 2007. Print. • Singer, P. W.. Children at war. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006. Print. • Wessells, Michael G.. Child soldiers: from violence to protection. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2009. Print. French: • Conférence « Enfants soldats et droits des enfants » du 14 Novembre 2013 • Amisi, Serge, and Jean Lanquetin. Souvenez-vous de moi, l'enfant de demain: carnets d'un enfant de la guerre. La Roque d'Anthéron: Vents d'ailleurs, 2011. Print. • Badjoko, Lucien, and Katia Clarens. J'étais enfant-soldat. Paris: Plon, 2005. Print. • Bayle, Reine. Les petits soldats: quand les enfants reviennent de guerre. Lyon: Syros jeunesse ; Handicap international, 2003. Print. • Beah, Ishmael, and Jacques Martinache. Le chemin parcouru: mémoires d'un enfant soldat : témoignage. Paris: Pocket, 2009. Print. • Chapleau, Philippe. Enfants-soldats: victimes ou criminels de guerre?. Monaco: Rocher, 2007. Print. • Cheuzeville, Hervé. Kadogo: enfants des guerres d'Afrique centrale : Soudan, Ouganda, Rwanda, R-D Congo. Paris: Harmattan, 2003. Print. • Houbballah, Mouzayan. L'enfant-soldat: victime transformée en bourreau. Paris: O. Jacob, 2003. Print. • Keitetsi, China. La petite fille à la Kalachnikov: ma vie d'enfant soldat. Bruxelles: GRIP :, 2004. Print. • Maystre, Magali, and Olara A.. Otunnu. Les enfants soldats en droit international problématiques contemporaines au regard du droit international humanitaire et du droit international pénal. Paris: A. Pedone, 2010. Print. • Mehari, Senait Ghebrehiwet, and Jean Walfisz. Coeur de feu: j'étais une enfant soldat. Paris: l'Archipel, 2008. Print. • Pignot, Manon. L'enfant-soldat, XIXe-XXIe siècle: Une approche critique. Paris: Armand Colin, 2012. Print. • Ung, Loung. D'abord, ils ont tué mon père. Paris: Plon, 2002. Print.

STUDY GUIDE – miniMUN MMXIII - UNICEF – Child Soldiers


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