Congo-Kinshasa: Girls Targeted for Recruitment As Child Soldiers

Child soldiers in DRC.

Kinshasa — CHILDREN'S rights groups are concerned at the forcible recruitment of girls as child soldiers as well as their sexual abuse at the ranks of armed groups.

The concern came amid revelations during 2017, more than 3 000 cases of child recruitment in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were verified and at least 19 000 under-18s are a part of deepening conflict in South Sudan.

It is also is estimated that up to 40 percent of all child soldiers in the DRC are girls.

In Nigeria, Boko Haram used 83 children as 'human bombs' in the first eight months of 2017 and 66 percent of them were girls.

Child Soldiers International expressed concern that global efforts to end the use of child soldiers were still being gravely under-resourced by the international community.

Commemorating the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers on Monday (yesterday), the organisation called for the global community to put the issue of child recruitment back on the international agenda and provide the necessary resources to prevent the use of child soldiers and adequately assist those who returned home.

This year's commemoration of International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers came 18 years since the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (OPAC), the international treaty which prohibits the conscription of children under the age of 18 and their participation in hostilities.

Central African Republic (CAR) became the most recent signatory in September 2017.

"Together we can ensure that the use of child soldiers becomes an aberration of the past, and that no child is recruited for war," Child Soldiers International stated. - CAJ News

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