Why child soldiers rarely stay free for long in Central African Republic

Child Soldiers International launched its new initiatives in Central African Republic this past month, and explored the issues of child recruitment in an article for TIME magazine.

Helping communities, government and local organisations improve measures to prevent child recruitment (the UN estimates 14,000 children have been recruited since conflict started in 2012), our new are being used in areas where recruitment has been prevalent.

Find out more about our work in CAR

Myanmar stalling on end to child soldier recruitment: UN

Myanmar has not done enough to end the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, UN SRSG on the topic Viriginia Gamba said during a May visit to the country, Associated Press reported.

"When we ask for information, when we ask for verification of places, when we ask about the detention of children, it's too slow," Gamba said in Yangon at the end of an official trip.

"The answers come very slowly. Sometimes months or even years pass." Gamba added the UN was "worried" that some rebel groups battling the army were increasing the number of underage recruits in their ranks.

Myanmar signed an Action Plan with the UN in 2012 to end the use of child soldiers by the Tatmadaw. Since then, the Tatmadaw has released 849 children and young people and taken significant steps to reduce child recruitment, but has yet to sustainably root it out.

Child Soldiers International conducted workshops in the country earlier in 2018 to encourage government to ratify the child soldier treaty – OPAC.

Attacks on education top 12,000 over last four years 

More than 12,000 attacks against students and education institutions occurred between 2013 and 2017, according to a new report released in May.

The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack report, Education Under Attack 2018, reveals there were more than 12,700 attacks in the four-year period, harming more than 21,000 students and educators in at least 70 countries.

The report also documents more than 1,000 incidents of direct and collateral attacks on schools were reported in: Democratic Republic of Congo, Israel/Palestine, Nigeria, and Yemen. Between 500 and 999 attacks on schools were documented in: Afghanistan, South Sudan, Syria, and Ukraine.

“Stop attacks on children”

Armed groups and militaries continue to ‘blatantly disregard’ the protection of children in conflicts as child recruitment remains alarmingly prevalent in numerous countries, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in May.

"No method of warfare has been off-limits, no matter how deadly for children: Indiscriminate attacks on schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure, abductions, child recruitment, besiegement, abuse in detention and denial of humanitarian assistance were all too commonplace,” Fore said.

“Humanitarian aid alone is not enough. Children need peace and protection at all times. The rules of war prohibit the unlawful targeting of civilians, attacks on schools or hospitals, the use, recruitment and unlawful detention of children, and the denial of humanitarian assistance. When conflicts break out, these rules need to be respected and those who break them need to be held to account. Enough is enough. Stop attacks on children."

A positive announcement did come from South Sudan in May with UNICEF saying they have helped free more than 800 children from armed groups and armed forces during 2018.