The UN system set a fairly ambitious goal for itself today: ensure that in 24 months from now, no government in the world uses children as soldiers. This should not be a difficult task, nor should it even be necessary. Yet there are some eight governments around the world who still recruit and use child soldiers: Afghanistan, Chad, South Sudan, Myanmar, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have signed an “action plan” with the UN to end their use of child soldiers. Yemen and Sudan have not, but are “in dialogue” with the UN.
There are, of course, non-government forces that use child soldiers. But in the fight against using child soldiers, getting them out of national militaries is low hanging fruit.
For more on this issue, see my on-stage discussion with United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui – Sethe UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and Grace Akallo, a former child soldier and activist.