Some volunteer for income, food, or because they are pressured into combat (The Situation). Those who are taken from their homes or families happen to be in a war zone, misplaced or are poor (The Situation). The children who are homeless, and know the generals are out for them end up hiding and running for their lives throughout the night. Families and children hide from the captors underneath schools, churches and cellars (Steel). Parents are forced to tell where their children are hidden, if not they are tortured and even killed (Steel).
In the past, up to 90% of soldiers consisted of adult men, whereas today up to 80% of soldiers are children and women. This global issue takes place in countries such as Colombia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and many more. In Uganda, children are being forced to kill instead of enjoying a normal childhood of laughter and dreams, and normal day to day lives. This disruption of innocent childhoods is really affecting children in many areas of the world. A student at Mamaroneck High School should care about child soldiers because it is a violation of basic human rights and all people, especially children, deserve to have a life free from violence.
After observing the practice of child soldiering, one can see that it is a very serious social injustice issue that must be addressed. Many people around the world have heard and even seen the brutalities of child soldiers, but what is a child soldier? “A child soldier refers to any person below eighteen years of age who is, or who has been, recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, cooks, porters, spies or for sexual purposes” (Paris Principles on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict 2007). Using children as soldiers has been accepted in many areas of the world, particularly in areas where there is poor social stability. In most cases, violent conflict breaks out in response to economical, political, and social inequalities between a group of people.
In the United States the idea of children serving as soldiers is an unfathomable concept; in many countries around the world, however, child soldiers perform tasks such as robbery, torture, and even murder for people such as drug lords, and political activists. Things like this are tragic even for adults; dealing with death everyday, knowing that one could be killed any second by an opposing force can really hurt someone mentally, and physically. This tragedy is not really even thought of that much, even though the effects are severe. Kids who have not even had the chance to raise a family, fall in love, or even go to school are either joining or being forced to join a war effort that can ruin their lives. Child soldiers are kids whose ages are under 18 who are used in any aspect of war.
Soldiering and Exploitation of Children The United Nations Children Fund describes child soldiers as “any child-boy or girl- under eighteen years of age, who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity.” Children have been enslaved into military positions for many years. Using children as soldiers is spreading throughout the world, but is most predominant in third world countries. These third world countries have been growing more advanced in technology, which is causing child soldiers to become more common. The horrible sights and experiences that children in these countries experience are devastating. Although in most cases the uses of child soldiers are similar, the long lasting effect on each of these children individually is heartbreaking.
Living conditions for child soldiers are usually very harsh and discipline is kept by brutal unjust punishments. Life is very dangerous, surrounded by intense drug use and an environment that lacks food, drinking water and has little sanitation. Many children die from theses causes under such inhuman conditions. It is up to first world countries such as the United States to intervene to prevent these children from having their basic human rights stolen from them. The article “Exploring the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers” by Stian Eisentrager, analyzes the recent media attention on children being used as soldiers in war in developing nations such as Liberia and clarifies the causes of the recruitment of child soldiers.
As a result of suffering, every child will combat with the despairing and tormenting consequences from the aftermath of war. Many counties including Sierra Leone, Angola, Rwanda and Uganda use child soldiers consisting of children ages 13-18 but many groups also include children aged 12 and under. In these cases, young children are being stripped of their childhood and forced to become soldiers in war. Comanders kidnap children from their own homes, both at night and during the day, and take everything they love away from them including their family, friends, relatives, schools and communities. After they are taken from their homes, these minors have no other choice then to fight in these wars agaist other children their age.
Children are very vulnerable when it comes to getting recruited. A majority of child soldiers do ... ... middle of paper ... ...ir actions. For example, child soldier Ishmael Beah from Sierra Leone was prosecuted and jailed, which really only strengthened the problems children are facing. Ismeal Beah was quoted saying: “I didn’t have a life as child. In five years as a fighting boy, what was in my heart was to kill as many Muslims as possible.” Children at this age should not have to resort to such harsh treatment.
The majority of these children are recruited by force. They are abducted from their schools and villages at gunpoint and coerced through threats of violence against themselves or their family. Child recruits may be forced to participate in violent and often lethal acts against members of their own family as a way of permanently alienating them. The use of drugs as a means of control is prevalent. With drug use the children become desensitized to the death and horror around them.
In another instance, victims were left for the dead or to cater for themselves since soldiers passed them by as they continued with the war. In conclusion, the increase in the numbers of child soldiers across the globe is an alarming trend that governments should take serious concerted measures to deal with. While armies and militias continue to downplay or reject recruiting child soldiers in armed conflicts, the plight of child soldiers continues to deteriorate. Emmanuel Jal’s story is an example of a case that demonstrates the plight of child soldiers in lights of the horrifying and traumatic experiences they undergo when engaging in armed conflicts.