Child Soldiers

A child soldier standing ground.

Child soldiers are a major issue in the world. Children in 41 countries are being used as soldiers. They are being denied human rights because being a soldier under the age of 18 is illegal. Some children become child soldiers if they are poor, seperated from their families, displaced from their homes, living in a combat zone, or have limited access to education.
Although child soldiers are helping the countries fight their wars, children being soldiers is terrible for the children. They are being exposed to things that they are too young to see. Seeing dead bodies and blood and wounds and hearing people screaming and living in terrible conditions is not the type of thing that children do. They will be scarred for life during their service as soldiers.

rwanda_child_soldier.jpg A child soldier at his post.

In many countries where child soldiers are used, there are specific reasons for this. In Iraq, many children that are becoming soldiers are soldiers because of stress. They dont know what to do with their lives and becoming a soldier would let them forget all those hard times. Other reasons people become soldiers are that they are raised up in a village that hates another village. They take after their fathers and help protect their people.
Another main reason children are becoming soldiers is that there is a major issue in Iraq. People are just walking on the streets shooting people and raping people. Parents are too afraid to let their children go to school. Since they aren't going to school, some children decide to protect their people and become soldiers. More and more children are becoming soldiers and less children are going to school. This issue is being helped by foundations in Iraq that are setting up child centers where they can go to school without their parents being too worried about them. As one child soldier describes before his first battle, " have never been so afraid to go anywhere in my life as I was that first day. As we walked into the arms of the forest, tears began to form in my eyes, but I struggled to hide them and gripped my gun for comfort. We exhaled quietly, afraid that our own breathing could cause our deaths."

Child soldiers have been used in past instances.
  • Child soldiers have existed for centuries.
  • During WWII Hitler began using young men to fight in his battles (ages 14-18)
  • Young boys attended meetings every week for Hitler as routine
  • Boys had to do air raids and be gun assistants
  • Went to mandatory training to learn how to handle infantry weapons
  • Boys were sent away to camp for all military training and to obey all orders
  • 15 year old boys were sent to the Russian front to defend Germany
  • Girls in Germany during the war had only 3 thing Hitler wanted them to focus on ( Children, Church, Kitchen )
  • Girls were forced to give birth to healthy and racially pure boys
Young girls also had to help acquire land in northern Poland and participate in fighting.
Child soldiers were forced to go through these horrible conditions which children should not have been exposed to at their age.