In all, as many as 337 million children live near armed groups and government forces that recruit children, the report shows.Stop the War on Children: A Crisis of Recruitment‘. The number of countries where children are recruited, and where more than half of the world’s children live, also increased from 30 in 1999 to 39 in 2020.
Pim Kraan, director of Save the Children Netherlands: “These are shocking figures. Millions of children grow up with war and know nothing but violence. This has a major impact on their mental health. Rarely is anyone held responsible for the atrocities against these children. This is a stain on the international community and cannot continue.”
Conflicts and Outbursts of Violence
The huge increase was partly caused by outbreaks of violence in Mozambique, but also by ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, the DRC, Syria, Nigeria and Yemen. The global coronavirus pandemic and the United Nations’ call for a global ceasefire were not enough to end these conflicts.
Attracted to such groups
Those who do not attend school or who are poor are more vulnerable to recruitment by armed groups and armed forces. Due to the corona pandemic, more children have left school without a diploma. And poverty has increased. Children are at greater risk of injury than adults. Handicaps, chronic mental or physical illnesses, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), sexual violence and the risk of death are higher for children. Child soldiers are used, among other things, to fight on front lines and man checkpoints. Many children are also attracted to these types of groups because they are looking for a sense of belonging, status or revenge. Sometimes they seek protection from other forms of abuse in an armed group.
Although girls are much less recruited (15 percent in 2020 compared to 85 percent boys), they are especially vulnerable because they are often used as spies, to lay mines or improvised explosive devices or to act as suicide bombers because they are less likely to be recruited. quickly attract attention. Their vulnerability, low status and gender make them susceptible to widespread abuse.
Kraan: “The corona pandemic has shown that countries can meet the biggest challenges when we work together. Let us now work together to protect children from the horrors of conflict, for example by guaranteeing access to education so that children are better protected against risks such as forced recruitment.”
By: National Education Guide
every day 25 children become child soldiers
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