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Child Soldiers In Africa Essay

1434 words - 6 pages

Imagine waking up in cold sweats, hearing screams of plea in your dreams, dreading having to wake up every single day knowing that you will have to take away innocent lives that day. Well, for some kids in Africa, this is a sad, twisted reality. According to the United Nations Children Funds, known as UNICEF, defines a child soldier as “any child- boy or girl- under eighteen years of age, who is a part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity.”(Kaplan, cfr.org) For Africa, this is a very problematic area since many children are often part of a rebel group or even part of the government army. Under international law, the participation of children under 18 armed is generally prohibited, and the recruitment and use of children under 15 is a federal crime. (amnesty.org) An estimate of about 250,000 child soldiers are used around the world today and nearly 40% of child soldiers are girls. (warchild.org) The following countries have reported to have child soldiers since 2011: Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mali, Pakistan, Thailand, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and more. (dosomething.org) Children combatants aren’t a new practice either; it has been found that child soldiers have been in battlefields throughout history. An example would be the Hitler Youth during the closing days of World War II. Also Africa having AIDS as an epidemic disease, this leads to many orphaned children as much as 40 million by 2010. (Kaplan, cfr.org)
You might ask your self, why the use of child soldiers? Children have been known to be extremely loyal. Most children are easily manipulated and can be brainwashed easily as well. Since they are small, some army groups barely feed the kids and most don’t even pay them. While most children are abducted and forced to join the army, most join because of family struggles back at home. Abduction uses fear, and psychological manipulation to turn innocent children into brainwashed killers. (Wessells, Pangaea.org) It isn’t fair that some children are robbed of their childhood. Every child has the right to live a healthy childhood with education. Some volunteer simply because their families are poor and have no other way of survival. Speaking of survival, for some children, it may be the only way of living. Perhaps their families sold them to someone in the army to survive, or left them. In Uganda in 1986, the National Resistance Army has reported to use 3,000 children many under the age of 16, because of being an orphan and having no one to take care of them. (unicef.org) The refugee camp may serve as a sort of shelter for them since it provides food, and a place to sleep in just under one condition, to be a part of the group and kill with dangerous weapons. Also, in some rare cases, some children join because they want to avenge the death of a certain someone due to war that may have happened in their area or town. Some towns even exchange children as a way...

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