These are the words of a 15-year-old girl in Uganda. Like her, there are an estimated 300,000 children under the age of eighteen who are serving as child soldiers in about thirty-six conflict zones (Shaikh). Life on the front lines often brings children face to face with the horrors of war. Too many children have personally experienced or witnessed physical violence, including executions, death squad killings, disappearances, torture, arrest, sexual abuse, bombings, forced displacement, destruction of home, and massacres. Over the past ten years, more than two million children have been killed, five million disabled, twelve million left homeless, one million orphaned or separated from their parents, and ten million psychologically traumatized (Unicef, “Children in War”). They have been robbed of their childhood and forced to become part of unwanted conflicts. In African countries, such as Chad, this problem is increasingly becoming a global issue that needs to be solved immediately. However, there are other countries, such as Sierra Leone, where the problem has been effectively resolved. Although the use of child soldiers will never completely diminish, it has been proven in Sierra Leone that Unicef's disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program will lessen the amount of child soldiers in Chad and prevent their use in the future.
By definition, a child soldier is any person below 18 years of age who is recruited or used by an armed force in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, coo...
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Juliet's Journey. Dir. War Child. Youtube.com. War Child, 23 Sept. 2010. Web. 29 Dec. 2013.
Kony 2012. N.d. Photograph. Www.scallywagandvagabond.com. Scallywag. Web. 6 Jan. 2014.
The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative. "What Is a Child Soldier?" Childsoldiers.org. The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, 2013. Web. 29 Dec. 2013.
Shaikh, Ali. Child Soldiers. N.p.: Mumtaz & Associates, 2001. PDF.
Unicef. "Children in War." Unicef.org. Unicef, n.d. Web. 02 Jan. 2014.
Unicef. Factsheet: Child Soldiers. N.p.: Unicef, n.d. PDF.
Unicef. "Unicef Fact Sheet: Birth Registration." Www.unicef.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Jan. 2014.
United Nations Development Programme. Poverty Reduction and UNDP. New York: United Nations Development Programme, Jan. 2013. PDF.
World Bank. Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration. N.p.: World Bank, Feb. 2009. PDF.
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