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

The ASK Campaign (Asking Saves Kids) aims to prevent accidental gun injuries among children by urging parents to ask the question "Is there a gun where your child plays?".

As part of the Week, the Association of Women Nurses to Help Women and Children Who Are Rape Survivors or Living With HIV/AIDS (AFIA-FEV), participated in a preparatory meeting of the Day of the African Child in Bukavu, DR Congo.

Viva Rio launched the Children’s Disarmament Campaign at the Escola Municipal Tasso da Silveira school in Rio de Janeiro where 12 students were shot dead in April this year.

The Permanent Peace Movement of Lebanon gave training sessions about small arms control to 15 students aged 15-17 and three teachers from schools in Jbeil and Iklim el Kharoub.

On 18 May, Nounou Booto Meeti of the IANSA Secretariat participated in a conference on “Counter-strategies against militarised masculinity in and following armed conflicts” in Berlin, Germany.

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.