According to the UN, “Any person under 18 years of age who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to cooks, porters, messengers and anyone accompanying such groups, other than family members. The definition includes girls recruited for sexual purposes and for forced marriage. It does not, therefore, only refer to a child who is carrying or has carried arms.” (Abatneh 22).The use of children in armed conflicts is an increasingly widespread phenomenon particularly in recent conflict. Throughout the world, more than 300,000 children have been recruited by various governments and non-government forces to serve as soldiers, cooks, spies, wives, and messengers. More than 120,000 of these children are in Africa, mainly in Angola, Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville, The DRC, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda (Abatneh 22). The horrible and tragic faith of many children is set on a path of war, murders and suffering. These former child soldiers need to be rehabilitated in order for them to be reintegrated back into society.
The use of child soldiers in war affects every single aspect of a child's development. Children affected by war can be injured or killed, taken from their homes and communities, refugees, orphaned or separated from their parents and families, subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation, victims of trauma as a result of being exposed to violence, deprived of education and recreation, and at risk of becoming child soldiers. It is very likely that children living in war areas will be deprived of basic needs such as shelter, food and medical attention. Also help for children tends to be the last priority in war, resulting in insufficient or no protection for minors. Besides, children are, due to their physical makeup and growth; most are vulnerable to being deprived of food, medical assistance and education, which has a severe and lasting... [continues]
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