Child soldiers, a drama beyond war

Nasir 12 years studying at the Al Farouq Institute, which is not like the rest because it is used by the Islamic State to indoctrinate future child soldiers. In his case they are preparing him to be a child suicide soldier. He even went out in one of the many propaganda videos of this terrorist group. He managed to escape his fate by fleeing the Institute and reaching a refugee camp in Kurdistan where he found who he thought was lost forever, his mother. Nasir is not unique, only in the center where he was there were other sixty children that have not been so lucky. These are just some of the many child soldiers who bury their childhood in the midst of war.

More about Nasir’s story

Nasir tell us how there were children up to five years! Also when there was an air strike they took them to the basement of the building and explained to them that they were Americans, whom they called infidels, that wanted to kill them. Also they played with their feelings by telling them that they would take better care of them than their own parents.

All children had military training combined with learning about the Koran. They prepared them to complete their first mission, one that would show they had truly mastered their unformed minds.

The kids have to go home and kill their entire family, that was their loyalty test.

Fortunately, Nasir has gotten back together with her mother, but without having to end her life.

Who are the children soldiers?

A child soldier is still anyone under 18 is recruited by an army, an armed group or a terrorist organization.

Although there are countries where it is considered as adult children aged 14 or 15 years, we cannot forget that the International Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes adulthood at 18 years therefore, before 18, we always speak of children.

It is estimated that there are between 250,000 and 300,000 children soldiers worldwide, although it is not an easy number to calculate. Typically, they start to be recruited at 10 years, but as we saw in the case of EI it is sometimes even earlier.

Why are child soldiers recruited?

lo que es más factible que estén dispuestos a exponerse al peligro

We might think that such helpless being as a child has little use when it comes to fight in an armed conflict, so we find it difficult to understand from a purely practical view why recruit this kind of soldiers.

However, their captors see distinct advantages in having these little ones. On the one hand, it is easier to control their minds and therefore get them to think like-their leaders. Furthermore, the concept they have about death is different, so it is more likely that they will be willing to expose themselves to danger.

We cannot forget that their unformed minds are much easier to manipulate so they become powerful weapons ready to carry out whatever they are ordered.

It is true that some cases these children are taken away from the parents, but others are sold by their parents or are orphaned and find shelter joining the armed group voluntarily.

What is more, there are children that are breed in heavily indoctrinated environments, and when they begin to have some use of reason are inoculated with the poison of hatred towards others by their parents or teachers. So in that environment they are the one who are, led by their ignorance, willing to take up arms to fight against the object of his hatred.

last but not least, is that in areas where armed conflicts last for years and have been producing many casualties among the adults is necessary to replace them with children.

The recruitment of child soldiers

After that we have to conclude that much of the recruitment of child soldiers are volunteers. But many are forced, for which they are first kidnapped and then tortured.

Children suffer beatings, torture and violations of all kinds, all intended to weaken their moral to do whatever their captors want. Many tell how they are forced to kill their loved ones to prove their loyalty. If they are convinced or just for the fear of being killed, it is something we cannot know.

How to end child soldiers

UNICEF is convinced that ending child soldiers is not easy and requires the commitment of the entire society.

Once they are released we will have to ensure that they are reintegrated into society and are reunited with their families. Then they need to be given the assistance they need to move beyond their experience.

Education is vital to get children back they life and get back a future. They must have the necessary psychosocial support to reintegrate into society.

Above all, it must be controlled by governments and institutions that in armed conflicts no children are used, that all agreements in place in this respect are abided.

Definitely a challenge which does not seem easy.

Keyword: child soldiers

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