About Rights of the Child
According to UNICEF, nearly half of the victims in armed conflicts are children. In today's conflicts, children are not only refugees and orphans, but they are also victims of sexual violence and abuse. They are kidnapped and recruited to become child soldiers, used for clearing landmines, and forced into slave labor to exploit natural resources.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a human rights treaty that establishes the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of children. It also defines children as being under the age of 18. The United States is the only country in the world, with the exception of Somalia, that has not ratified the (CRC). According to UNICEF, an estimated 300,000 children serve as child soldiers in armed conflicts worldwide. Unfortunately, most international efforts to effectively tackle the problem of child soldiers have failed.
In 2002, however, the U.S. ratified the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict, which prevents the recruitment of military personnel under the age of 18. Still, much work remains to be done by the U.S. government on the rights of the child, particularly on the protection of children in armed conflicts. GlobalSolutions.org is committed to achieving greater engagement by the U.S. government to take the lead of international endeavors to protect future generations.
Resources and Links
- Report: Cross-Cutting Report on Children and Armed Conflicts, Security Council Report, 2010 Report reviews the effectiveness of Securit Council decisions on children and armed conflict in individual country-specific situations, details key trends over the past year, and provides options for continued Council involvement.
- Treaty: Convention on the Rights of the Child, UN General Assembly, 1989 Treaty that sets out the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of children.
- UNICEF UNICEF website containing information about child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse
- United Nations Office of the Special of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflicts Official UN office for Children and Armed Conflicts
- Human Rights Watch Website providing news and documents related to child soldiers
- United States Institute of Peace Website with current news and resources on youth and peacebuilding
UNICEF Special Resource
Factsheet on Child Soldiers
Information about children in armed forces:
- UNICEF defines a ‘child soldier’ as any child under 18 years of age, who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force
- An estimated 300,000 child soldiers are involved in more than 30 conflicts worldwide
Global Report 2008
By: The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
- Details how a near global consensus believe that children should not be used as soldiers
- Explains that strenuous international efforts have failed to protect tens of thousands of children from war.
- Provides detailed information about child soldiers in every country during the period April 2004 to October 2007
The Global Citizen
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