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

Young members of the '4H' in Karballa,Iraq, enthusiastically participated in a workshop on Youth, human rights and peacebuilding on 20-21 March. The event was organised by the Iraqi Organization for Rehabilitating Society and Environment.

More than 24,000 foreign ex-combatants have been demobilised and repatriated from the DR Congo by the UN Stabilisation Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) since 2002.

Plataforma per la Pau, IANSA member in Catalonia, Spain, organised a talk on children in armed conflict on 3 February.

The UN has released the results of a ‘mapping exercise’ on violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the DRC between March 1993 and June 2003.

On 22 September Gabon signed the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition.

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.