First News - - Special Report -

Un­for­tu­nately, yes. Tens of thou­sands of chil­dren ev­ery year are af­fected; mostly boys, but up to 40% of them are girls. Many are kid­napped and forced to fight, while oth­ers sign up be­cause they are des­per­ate for food or a roof over their heads. Some ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tions, like Is­lamic State, use child soldiers, but some coun­tries’ armies will of­ten sign up chil­dren, too.

In Ye­men, chil­dren as young as 11 have been re­cruited. Chil­dren who take part in war may feel the psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fects decades later. As well as be­ing de­prived of a fam­ily life and an ed­u­ca­tion, child soldiers of­ten will have to do and see hor­rific things. In­creas­ingly, chil­dren are be­ing used as sui­cide bombers in con­flicts around the world, too.

Al­though much has been done to re­duce the num­bers of child soldiers, ex­perts say that the chang­ing na­ture of con­flict means that it is hard to keep track of the many small groups that are re­cruit­ing chil­dren to fight. Girls who used to be soldiers take part in a nu­mer­acy and lit­er­acy class in South Kivu, Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo

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