Children at war

More than 250,000 children are fighting in wars around the world, often recycled from conflict to conflict, while tens of thousands of girls are sexually exploited by combatants, said U.N. Undersecretary-General Radhika Coomaraswamy.

She spoke at a Security Council meeting to examine the impact of a U.N. resolution adopted last year that established a system for reporting on the recruitment of child soldiers, and the killing, maiming, rape, abduction and sexual abuse of children in war zones by governments and insurgent groups.

The reporting shows the toll children pay in war-torn areas:

  • More than 14 million children have been displaced by conflict since 2003.

  • Land mines kill or maim between 8,000 and 10,000 each year.

  • In the past decade, 2 million children have died as the result of war, at least 6 million have been injured, and 12 million have been left homeless.

    Coomaraswamy urged the Security Council to expand its monitoring and reporting of the programme. In addition, she outlined the need for education, job training, psychological support and protection against persecution of children after the fighting ends.

    France's U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, the current council president, emphasised the importance of a sustained investment in development, especially in health, education and skills training, to secure the successful reintegration of children in their communities and prevent re-recruitment.

    Source: Editorial, U.N.: 250,000 Child Soldiers Fighting,, July 25, 2006

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    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 01 August 2006
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