Our history

Child Soldiers International was formerly known as the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. We were established in 1998 by a group of leading human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Save the Children.

Our original purpose was to campaign for a human rights treaty to prevent the military recruitment of children and their use in violent conflict. We were successful and the treaty, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC), entered into force in 2002.

Since 2011, Child Soldiers International has been an independent human rights organisation, based in London and working internationally.

Child Soldiers International has a team of eight full and part time staff, supported by a volunteer psychosocial advisor and supplemented by specialist consultants when needed to enhance our research. We are directed by a leadership team comprising the Director of Programmes and the Director of Operations, and governed by a Board of six trustees.

Our vision

We envision a world where all children can grow up realising their full potential and enjoying all their human rights. For this to be possible, we believe that armed forces and groups must be prevented from recruiting, using and exploiting children.

Our goal

Our goal is to end all recruitment, use and exploitation of children by armed forces and groups.

Our values

The following core values guide our organisational and individual behaviour and action.

Collaboration: We share information and resources and encourage dialogue and exchanges. We build mutually supportive partnerships and strategies that support children and their families, communities, local organisations and national governments to work towards ending all use, abuse and exploitation of children by military organisations.

Integrity: We are committed to the best interests of the children, which is the reason for our existence. We strive to ensure the highest ethical standards in the delivery of our work, trying to add our strengths to those of the people most affected by military exploitation, especially children and those who work with them.

Independence: We receive funding from governments for some of our work, but all of our work is developed independently of any government, political persuasion or religious creed.

Respect: We are committed to undertaking all that we do with respect for every person we work with, and for their human rights in particular.

Accountability: We promote a reflexive attitude, evaluating our work constantly so as to be truly accountable to our purposes, and to all with whom we work.

Equality: We are committed to challenging discrimination against people on any grounds, including ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.