The June 2020 UN Secretary-General’s report on the plight of children in armed conflicts (Rapport du Secrétaire général sur le sort des enfants en temps de conflits armés) confirms that the UN has verified more than 25,000 severe violations against children worldwide. Among these cases, 7,747 children, «some of which were no more than 6-years old» were recruited and used mostly (90%) by armed groups.
The practice of recruiting and using children in armed conflicts, which has been widely documented for years, has prompted – particularly since the 2000s – the adoption of international standards to protect children and eradicate their involvement in armed conflict. Wide awareness campaigns launched by the UN, such as Zero under 18 in 2010, Children Not Soldiers in 2014, or Act to Protect in 2019, have supported these normative developments. Nevertheless, the issue is still topical: the humanitarian organisation active in child protection, World Vision, estimates that 300,000 children are currently recruited in armed conflicts throughout the world, and the trend does not seem to abate.
- Read more / download pdf
- Authors: Claire Kupper & Liza Young
- Photo credit: Children’s Peace Day Debate on Radio Miraya (UN Photo/JC McIlwaine)