g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
News & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

Bored? Games!
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

Heart Disease
Horror Literature
Hiking & Backpacking
SF/Fantasy Books
Healthy Foods

All times in EST

Clairvoyance: 08:00 PM

Full Schedule
g Human Rights Site

BellaOnline's Human Rights Editor


Using Children as Soldiers - Human Rights

Guest Author - Aisling Ireland

In the Eastern DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) a war has been raging for well over a decade. While war in all forms may be atrocious, the atrocities occurring in this region are particularly disturbing as they are linked to the most vulnerable members of that country's citizens - children. Children are being used, abused, and irreparably traumatized via their recruitment as soldiers in the warring regions military forces. How is this happening? Read on to learn more about the use of children as soldiers and to find out how you can help put an end to this atrocity.

Child Soldiers

There are a number of groups fighting the war in the Eastern Congo. These groups include the Mai-Mai, RCD-Goma, and the FDD. The groups fighting in the region may have numerous differences, but they also all have one shocking common denominator. Children. The primary face on the front line in the Congolese war belongs to a child. Children comprise the majority of each of the warring groups military force.

Recruitment of Child Soldiers

How are children recruited as soldiers? Various methods are employed. In some cases, children are drugged. In others children are kidnapped. In some cases, children voluntarily "enlist" as soldiers simply as a means to put food in their bellies. Children sometimes see the "army" as a way out of starvation or a way in which they might save their families. Whatever the manner of recruitment, the result of the child's conscription is the same - appalling brutality, loss of humanity, and psychological scarring that will last a lifetime.

Basic Training

Once children have been drafted into the army as soldiers, they are systematically desensitized to violence. Sometimes children are forced to murder members of their own families in order to permanently mark them as outcasts and to prevent them from ever returning to their families. Children are forced to witness and partake in the slaughter of entire villages, to participate not only in the killing of others, but to engage in the mindless dismemberment of human beings. If the children feel fear or are frightened, they are oftentimes given drugs in order to make them capable of being fearless fighters.

Effects of Child Soldier Campaigns

The most obvious effect of using children as soldiers is the immediate trauma the child suffers as a result of this kind of horrific violence. However, the damage that is done by using children as soldiers, by desensitizing children to violence, by training them to participate in atrocities as those previously described is far more reaching. If we truly believe that children are the future, then what kind of future is being shaped by these children? What kind of world can we look forward to that has its foundation in the minds and hearts of children whose innocence was not just robbed, but robbed and then replanted in violence? If children are taught that human beings are nothing more than an end to a means, then how can they be expected to come out of that world as caring, compassionate leaders who will work toward creating a non-violent, self-sufficient society that values each member of its society? The effects of using children as soldiers may have unimaginable consequences that extend over many future generations.

How to Help

One of the ways to help is to contact your Congressperson and make him or her aware that you consider stopping these atrocities to be of primary importance. Contact Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and urge her to use her influence in the Congo. Or better yet, find out why the United States is one of only two United Nations member countries that has failed to sign and ratify the Convention of the Rights of the Child and then add your voice to the chorus insisting that the US recognize children's rights as basic human rights.




*~Aisling Ireland~* is long time human rights activist, a active member of Amnesty International, a One Campaign supporter, writer, and an ordained Spiritual Counselor.

Don't miss another article, announcement or tip - subscribe to the Human Rights Newsletter! The newsletter arrives in your email inbox about once every week and will keep you up to date on the latest articles, news, forum contests and more. BellaOnline.com never sells your email to third parties. Simply enter your e-mail address to the subscription box on the right side of this page.
This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add Using+Children+as+Soldiers+%2D+Human+Rights to Twitter Add Using+Children+as+Soldiers+%2D+Human+Rights to Facebook Add Using+Children+as+Soldiers+%2D+Human+Rights to MySpace Add Using+Children+as+Soldiers+%2D+Human+Rights to Del.icio.us Digg Using+Children+as+Soldiers+%2D+Human+Rights Add Using+Children+as+Soldiers+%2D+Human+Rights to Yahoo My Web Add Using+Children+as+Soldiers+%2D+Human+Rights to Google Bookmarks Add Using+Children+as+Soldiers+%2D+Human+Rights to Stumbleupon Add Using+Children+as+Soldiers+%2D+Human+Rights to Reddit

RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map

For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Human Rights Newsletter

Past Issues

Printer Friendly
tell friend
Tell a Friend
Email Editor

Content copyright © 2013 by Aisling Ireland. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Aisling Ireland. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.


g features
Word Games for You to Play !

Human Rights and the Internet

Ways to Give Back to Your Community

Archives | Site Map


Past Issues

Less than Monthly

BellaOnline on Facebook

| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2013 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.

BellaOnline Editor