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War is no Child's Play

1 January, 2005



Table of Contents


1. Child Soldiers, an Introduction

2. Child Soldiers and Recruitment

3. International Legal Instruments Relevant to Child Soldiers

4. Root Causes of Child Soldiering

5. Prevention

6. Advocacy

7. Negotiating the Release of Child Soldiers

8. Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration

9. Children with Special Needs

10. Reintegration

11. Criminal Justice and Child Soldiers

12. International Initiatives to Stop the Recruitment and Use of Children in Armed Conflicts

13. Conclusion
13.1. Recommendations for Action

Annex 1: World Map of the Use of Child Soldiers

Annex 2: Human Security Network Members



For the purpose of this paper the term "child soldier" will be used for a personunder the age of 18 who is associated with armed groups or government forces, in any capacity other than a family member. The term "child combatant" will be used for a person under the age of 18 who is or has been actively participating in hostilities in such a manner that he or she adheres to the criteria set in international humanitarian law.

Currently scores of children are recruited and used for military purposes, and perpetrators are not held accountable. There is clearly a need to move from lawmaking, program development, and training, to law enforcement, implementation, monitoring and reporting. In the words of the UN Secretary-General: to move to an "era of application".