Unimaginable. Unthinkable. These are the words commonly used to describe the daily experience of child soldiers around the world. 

But less than 20 years ago it was considered normal for military forces to use children as young as 15 as soldiers in armed conflict. This was legally accepted international practice. 

This has changed.

The horrifying experiences of child soldiers during the conflicts of the 1990s mobilised the international community to act. People refused to see the use of children in war as normal or inevitable. In 1998, a committed group of actors, including Child Soldiers International, came together to advocate on behalf of children. As a result, an international treaty was adopted on 12 February 2000 which prohibited the use of any person under the age of 18 in armed conflict, and raised the minimum age for recruitment.

Since this treaty was adopted, 179 out of 197 countries worldwide have signed it. Of these, the large majority have set their minimum recruitment and deployment age at 18. This in turn has put effective pressure on many non-state armed groups to stop recruiting and using children in conflict.

In one year’s time, the treaty will celebrate its 18th anniversary. In the next 365 days we will be mobilising all the support we can get to ensure every country has signed up to the treaty and declared that they will only recruit adults. We know change can come – we’ve seen it happen. But we need your help. Please support our campaign to stop the recruitment of all children.

Help us achieve what we set out to do 18 years ago and create a world where no child is recruited for war. We're almost there.