Children and armed violence

Although the majority of victims of small arms fire are adult males, the tremendous suffering of children has been acknowledged by UNICEF, major children's rights organisations such as Save the Children and the UN Secretary-General in his annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict.

Guns in the home can be accidentally fired by children, especially boys, playing with these deadly weapons. The presence of guns in the home can also traumatise children. Children are also affected by armed conflicts, which rarely distinguish between 'combatants' and 'non combatants'.

Guns have also created the phenomenon of the child soldier, "the most deadly combat system of the current epoch". The Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict came into force in February 2002. It bans the direct use of all children under the age of 18 in hostilities and prohibits all military use of under-18s by non-governmental armed groups.

www.child-soldiers.org

Latest news

In Yemen, increased tensions between government troops and other armed groups have led to an increase in the recruitment of child soldiers, according to Yemeni NGOs.

In Complexo do Alemao, a cluster of favelas outside Rio de Janeiro, women are using a new community radio station to talk about sexual violence and promote disarmament and a culture of peace.

In Argentina, Asociación para Políticas Públicas (APP) opened the Week of Action on 13 June with the launch of the campaign '#sumateydesarmate' ('Join and Disarm'), inviting members of the public to send in photos including the hash tag and spread the message in online forums.

On 18 June, Save Youth Future Association held a workshop and theatre show about gun violence for 50 vulnerable young people in Gaza, Palestine.

In DR Congo, Asvoco joined a march organised by MONUSCO for the Day of the African Child as part of their Week of Action activities.

Latest resources

Instituto Sou da Paz, an IANSA member in Brazil, has launched a practical guide to children's disarmament.

The UN Secretary-General has released his annual report on ‘Children and Armed Conflict’ for 2010.

This document details children and adults killed in shcool shootings since 1996.