Read and watch all Module 11 lesson content about child soldiers, then write a one-page reflection, addressing: What you learned,What you think / feel about what you learned,Any questions you have abo

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Read and watch all Module 11 lesson content about child soldiers, then write a one-page reflection, addressing:

  • What you learned,
  • What you think / feel about what you learned,
  • Any questions you have about child soldiers,
  • Anything else that is important to you, regarding this topic.


Use the following resources to answer the question:

Read and watch all Module 11 lesson content about child soldiers, then write a one-page reflection, addressing: What you learned,What you think / feel about what you learned,Any questions you have abo
Lecture 12 – CHILD SOLDIERS Children are mistreated throughout the world The use of child soldiers is practiced in multiple parts of the world. A Global Issue Afghanistan Chechnya Colombia CC BY -ND 2.0 The children of FARC. Los niños de las FARC by Silvia Andrea Moreno Congo Child Soldiers by Karel Prinsloo CC BY -NC -ND 4.0 Sudan Source Thailand CC BY -SA 4.0 credit: AFP Child Karen soldiers march near Myanmar’s border with Thailand Sri Lanka Iraq Nepal Somalia CC BY -SA 2.0 Credits: Pierre Holtz / UNICEF CAR Demobilize child soldiers in the Central African Republic Historical Tradition 1861 US Civil War 1846 Mexican American War 1914 WWI 1918 Russian Civil War 1964 Vietnam War 1973 Cambodia CC BY 2.0 24 May 1973, Angkor Chey, Cambodia by Tommy Truong 1943 Hitler Youth in Nuremburg Bundesarchiv, Bild 183 -2004 -0312 -504 / CC -BY-SA 3.0 Child Soldiers What do you know?  During what years of your life are you considered a child?  How many countries would you guess use child soldiers in today’s world? A few? A lot?  Why would an army want to use child soldiers?  Can children be accepted into the U.S. Armed Forces? United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) – 1989  The CRC protects children <15 from involvement in the armed forces (state or non -state forces).  States parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.  States parties shall refrain from recruiting any person who has not attained the age of 15 years into their armed forces.  States parties undertake to respect & to ensure respect for rules of international humanitarian law applicable to them in armed conflicts which are relevant to the child. Child Soldiers What is being done to stop the use of child soldiers?  192 countries (or all but Somalia, South Sudan & the United States ) have ratified the CRC.  Somalia is anarchist (they have some level of gov.)  South Sudan only became a country in 2011.  U.S. signed it in 1995 (endorsing principles) but failed to ratify it (so we’re not legally bound to it). Ratification of the UN CRC & The Optional Protocol (2000)  A 2000 Protocol (optional addition) to the CRC raised the age from 15 to 18 years.  It also prohibits non -governmental armed groups from recruiting soldiers under the age of 18.  The Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict entered into force on 12 February 2002.  To date, 168 countries have ratified and 12 have signed this Protocol . Definition of Child Soldiers “Any child – boy or girl – under 18 years of age, who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or group in any capacity, including, but not limited to: cooks, porters, messengers, & anyone accompanying such groups other than family members. It includes girls and boys recruited for sexual purposes &/or forced marriage.” (UNICEF) FACTS:  Child soldiers are being used in over 36 countries worldwide & range from 5 -17 years old.  Today, there are approximately 300,000 child soldiers fighting in armed conflict.  Between 1986 – 1996 alone, 2 million children were killed in armed conflict & over 6 million children were injured.  In past conflicts 80 -90% of casualties were adult soldiers. Today, 80 -90% of casualties are women and children. Source: “ Child Protection: Armed Conflict ,” Fair use Credit: Countries where children are affected by armed conflict. ©United Nations UN Map Exploitation  Recruited  propaganda  poverty  Abducted  kidnapped from families  taken from orphanages  Forced to serve  Uganda: Lord’s Resistance Army  Teaches child soldiers to burn huts and beat infants to death.  Iran: Child soldiers used to clear mine fields in 1980s.  Palestine: Children from the West Bank & Gaza used as suicide bombers. “No one is born violent. No child in Africa, Latin America, or Asia wants to be part of war.” — Ishmael Beah , author of A Long Way Gone, at a Paris conference CC BY -SA 4.0 IshmaelBeahDUES by Udoweier First – hand description Ishamael Beah was recruited into the Sierra Leone Army at 14 years old. He remained a soldier for almost 3 years. In his book The Long Way Gone, he described his first experience at the front line. “When we got there we were in an ambush, the rebels were attacking where we were in a bush. I did not shoot my gun at first, but when you looked around and saw your schoolmates, some younger than you, crying while they were dying with their blood spilling all over you, there was no option but to start pulling the trigger. I lost my parents during the war, they told us to join the army to avenge our parents.” He is now studying in the U.S. He lives in California, is happily married, and has children. Pull Factors: The Perfect Weapon  Adults can resist warlords; children can’t.  changing war technology – Lighter weapons mean children today can carry them (e.g., AK -47s, M -16s, grenades).  available in great numbers  easily manipulated  intensely loyal  fearless  expendable VOA Public Domain FACTS: What do child soldiers do?  They serve as scouts, spies, trainers, saboteurs, decoys, couriers, guards, & landmine clearers.  Girl soldiers are often used as sexual slaves or are given as rewards to male soldiers as “wives.”  Many child soldiers are not welcome back home after a conflict ends because of cultural superstition. Child Soldiers Why are there child soldiers?  Child soldiers increase the number of fighters.  Children are more easily manipulated & controlled (they’re more likely to follow orders without question than adults)  Children can hide in tight quarters because they are physically smaller than adults  People generally do not suspect children to be soldiers, so they can slip through many security checks unexamined  Advances in technology have produced weapons light and cheap enough to be used by children. Child Soldiers Which children are affected? • Children in extreme poverty who are desperate for food & shelter • Children without ID papers • Orphans & children with weak family structures (see only hope as joining militia) • Children living in refugee camps or conflict zone CC BY -SA 4.0 PAIGC child soldier during the Guinea -Bissau War of Independence, 1974 Push Factors • Many are forcibly conscripted (join or die) • Others coerced through various pressures: • Threats against or pressure on the child’s family • Indoctrination of children by the armed group and/or significant adults • Financial incentives in context of poverty • Hope of social protection • Many say they joined voluntarily: • Revenge for attacks on their family or community • Sense of injustice, nationalist or political sentiment Can children ever truly volunteer to be soldiers? Child Soldiers What is being done to help child soldiers return to normal life?  Rehabilitation & Reintegration : to prepare a child to return to normal life:  Difficult for child to readjust  The UN and NGOs try to provide psychological support, education, and job training. Source Fair use  Disarmament : to remove all weapons from the child  Demobilization : the point when the child leaves military life Children Fighting Adult Causes (usually not knowing why)  End of colonial rule  Freedom challenged  Lawlessness  Criminal drives by warlords  resources  greed  power “There might have been a little rhetoric at the beginning, but very quickly the ideology gets lost, and then it just becomes a bloodbath… a war of madness.” — Ishmael Beah CC BY -NC-ND 2.0 Release of Child Soldiers in Pibor by UNMISS Treatment of Child Soldiers  Brutal initiations (often involving cannibalism)  Used as human shields  Girls raped, physically abused, made sex slaves  Abducted, marched to physical exhaustion, tortured, beaten, and abused  Then forced to do the same to family and members of community  Held in virtual slavery in clandestine camps, serving as guards, concubines, and soldiers Bound by Belief  commanders conjure spirits  magic & superstition  oils & amulets In the Congo, leaders told boys that if they ate their victims, they’d grow stronger. “The commanders would wear certain pearls and said that guns wouldn’t hurt us, and we believed it.” — Ismael Beah USAID Intimidated by Fear  extreme punishments  death for desertion  rejection upon return  orphaned, homeless  nowhere else to go “These are brutally thuggy people who don’t want to rule politically & have no strategy for winning a war.” — Professor Neil Boothb Columbia University UN Fair use UN PHOTO/SYLVAIN LIECHTI Fair use Weakened by Deprivation  separated from families  denied educational opportunities  denied health care  denied a childhood UN PHOTO/SYLVAIN LIECHTI Fair use Fueled by Drug Use  amphetamines  marijuana  “brown brown ” (cocaine and gunpowder) “I shot at everything that moved.” – Ishmael Beah Source CC BY 2.0 Kenny Cole Amputation Rebels called the amputation of just four fingers “one love” after the Rastafarian phrase “thumbs up.” There are more than 6,000 amputees in Sierra Leone as a result of civil war. Former Liberian leader, Charles Taylor, is accused of backing a rebel group that cut off limbs, mutilated & raped thousands of civilians. CC BY -NC 2.0 Image by Seun Ismail CC BY -NC -SA 2.0 Travis Lupick CC BY -NC -SA 2.0 Travis Lupick CC BY -NC -ND 2.0 United Nations Photo Current Examples – Africa  Uganda – Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) went from 200 to 14,000 by recruiting children (Joseph Kony ).  Congo – Has more than 30,000 -50,000 child soldiers. This has been going on since 1996 and has left 3.8 million dead.  Ethiopia – Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) recruit children in order to promote liberation of the Oromo people from the Ethiopian government and commit acts of terrorism.  Child soldiers have been prevalent in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Angola, Sri Lanka, Cambodia , and others. The Problem: AFRICA  Northern districts of Uganda, 300,000 children abducted in 20 years: nobody does a thing.  Almost every family has been affected.  Many families lost a child through abduction, or their village was attacked and destroyed by an army of abducted children known as The Lord’s Resistance Army.  Countryside virtually empty  People move to “safe villages” protected by the government  Said not done.  At night, the children of the North flee into towns to sleep, fearing that they might be abducted. Joseph Kony  Claims to make Uganda better place based on the Ten Commandments, but he has broken every one of them.  Control of children and the doing of a crazy man.  Known nothing else but death and destruction. Child soldiers are not only used in Africa….. “From Sierra Leone to Congo, from Afghanistan to Kosovo, child soldiers are the war weapon of choice, ‘easily manipulated, intensely loyal, fearless and, most important, in endless supply’.” (quoted from article found on ) Should child soldiers be prosecuted for war crimes?  Most humanitarian groups lobbied hard against prosecuting anyone below the age of 18 at the time he or she committed a war crime.  Sierra Leone government and many Sierra Leoneans who had suffered felt that justice could not be served unless some children were put on trial for their crimes.  UN adopted middle ground: Court had jurisdiction to try those aged 15 -17 as “juvenile offenders.” Imprisonment would be inappropriate punishment; rather, foster -care institutions, child – protection agencies, approved schools.  Because Court is trying only major war criminals, no children will be tried for war crimes, but neither will thousands of adults. Invisible Children – Discover the Unseen Full length documentary – 55 min RUKsyA_z7n8 CC BY -SA 2.0 By Gideon Tsang Child Soldiers What you can do  Educate yourself about Child Soldiers.  Contact local, state, and national politicians for information about Child Soldiers.  Write letters asking for their opinion on Child Soldiers.  Talk to your family about Child Soldiers.  Educate other adults in your life.  Advocate for Child Soldiers awareness.  Begin a social awareness/human rights club. Images of Child Soldiers  Look at the pictures below of child soldiers from different countries and times. How do these images make you feel?  Do you have different responses to different images?  Can you try and disentangle your reactions and work out why you feel the way you do? Sri Lanka (girls) Cambodia (1970s) Tekketsu Kinnōtai child soldiers in Okinawa Uganda Democratic Republic of Congo Source Bibliography  Other than the photographs and map, all of the information was borrowed from the following website: Center for Defense Information Human Rights Watch International Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers www.child UNICEF War Child Youth Advocate Program International Some Other Resources Books  Ishmael Beah , A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier , 2007. (Personal account from Sierra Leone.) Extracts at: ref=magazine&oref=slogin  China Keitetsi , Child Soldier , 2004. (Personal account from Northern Uganda.)  Els de Temmerman , Aboke Girls: Children Abducted in Northern Uganda , 2001. Videos  Invisible Children (Northern Uganda):  A Duty to Protect: Justice for Child Soldiers in the DRC: d=41  Child Soldiers in Africa: ml

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