Essay about Child Soldiers

Submitted By nsmikes27
Words: 3400
Pages: 14

Scott Michaels 3/14/12 “The most precise definition of a child soldier was produced at a conference of scholars and representatives of various child-protection agencies, organized in 1997 by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Convening in Cape Town, South Africa, the group developed the so-called Cape Town Principles, which define a child soldier as anyone under eighteen ‘who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force’ in any capacity, including cooks, porters, messengers and non-family members accompanying such groups. Also included were girls recruited for sexual purposes and those forced into marriage.” (CQ Researcher)
There are an estimated three hundred thousand child soldiers, some as young as seven, that are actively fighting in forty one countries, with about one hundred and twenty thousand fighting in African conflicts with another five hundred thousand children fighting worldwide. “The U.N’s special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, says there are at least two hundred and fifty thousand child soldiers worldwide. But other experts say the nature of civil conflicts makes it difficult to compile accurate records.” (CQ Researcher) ‘it’s absolutely impossible to determine the number of child soldiers with any accuracy,’ says Victoria Forves Adam, executive director of the London-based Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. ‘We think it is in the many tens of thousands, but that is a complete guesstimate.’ Leaders of armed groups, particularly rebels fighting in the bush, generally refuse to open their rosters to international inspection, she explains, and ‘children come in and out of conflicts, they die of illness, they die of injuries, or they may simply be missing from their communities.’” Child soldiers have constituted more than a quarter of all belligerents in many conflicts, including at least nine in Africa over the last two decades. Child soldiers have been used throughout history. “In fact, child soldiers have been around for a millennia. The Spartans of ancient Greece, for example, relied heavily on boys as young as seven. Later, the British Navy recruited lads to serve as cabin boys and cannon-prepping ‘powder monkeys’ throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Large numbers of children fought on both sides of the U.S. Civil War.” (Foreign policy) The children soldiers did many tasks such as supplying the troops doing support functions such as cleaning, cooking and basic chores. The Nazi’s drafted teenagers knowing, those children would be loyal to the cause. They followed orders without question. Many of the early draftees developed into fanatical supporters. In Iran, twelve to sixteen boys were handed ‘keys to heaven’ as they cleared mine fields. The ‘key to heaven’ was their guarantee that they would go to heaven if they died serving the government. During the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Palestinians have employed children as suicide bombers effectively. As Mr. Olara Otunnu explained that, “Children are cheap, expendable and easier to condition into fearless killing and unthinking obedience.” (NY Times) The children are perfect suicide bombers. We have successes using children in combat and suicide bombers in Irag, Sri Lanka, and Chechnya. The effect of the success of child soldiers in history speaks to the fact that child soldiers will repeatedly be used by cruel and twisted people who have no concern for human life. One of the most cruelest and twisted men in Africa today is Joseph Kony, a former altar boy, self-styled mystic, demonically inspired medium, ruthless, and merciless leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The LRA was founded in 1986 to oust Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Kony was not successful in ousting Yoweri Museveni. The LRA was created out of the need to get rid of a cruel dictator. The LRA has evolved into a group worse than the dictator that they…