The governments of 67 countries are still allowing the recruitment of child soldiers, according to a recently released report by World Vision International. The countries who do so are committing one of the “Six Grave Violations” against children declared by the UN in 1999.
“It’s a disturbing panorama”, says Javier Ruiz, Director of World Vision in Spain. “The most severe transgressions take place in 18 countries, which continue to recruit and use children in conflicts or do not protect children from recruitment by para-governmental groups.”
The report titled No Choice; It takes a world to end the use of child soldiers, based on a study made in the Central African Republic and Colombia, investigates what can be done to prevent the recruitment and the use of children in armed conflicts.
The report also tells the stories of people like Owo, whose grandchild was recruited with only 12 years by an armed group in South Sudan. Or Kingjula, who joined an armed group in Nigeria because he thought had no other option to help his mother and siblings.
Lily recounts that she was 16 years when she was kidnapped by an armed group: “We were forced to rob and kill people the people they attacked”. Some months later, Lily managed to escape. She now is in a center that World Vision has opened for former child soldiers where they get training to learn a profession that can help them to start a new life.