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Last Updated: Friday, 16 January, 2004, 07:29 GMT
Child soldier use rises globally

By Adam Brookes
BBC correspondent at the UN

Child soldier in DR Congo
Child soldiers have been widely used in the DR Congo conflict
The use of child soldiers in war is continuing around the world and in some African countries it has increased, human rights groups say.

The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers says in Ivory Coast, Liberia and the DR Congo recruitment of children increased massively in 2003.

It says a series of moves by the UN aimed at eradicating such practices has made remarkably little progress.

It urges the UN to take tough actions against states using children in war.

Travel restrictions

Soldiers, sexual slaves, labourers, porters and spies: children continue to perform all those roles in conflicts around the world, a new report by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers says.

In Burma, it says testimony from former soldiers indicates that up to 20% of recruits into the government's armed forces were under the age of 15.

The group - which includes Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International - calls on the UN Security Council to renew its efforts against states and armed groups that use children in war.

Among its ambitious recommendations is ending the flow of weapons to those recruiting children, placing travel restrictions on leaders who use children in their armies and ending military assistance to them.

The UN is due to debate the issue of children and armed conflict next week.

The coalition's report is designed to prick the organisation's conscience on a particularly intractable form of human rights abuse.

From schoolboy to soldier
20 Sep 03  |  From Our Own Correspondent
Liberian soldiers hand over guns
07 Dec 03  |  Africa

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