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Child Combatants Essay

2067 words - 9 pages

Sometimes dealing with children can be a battle in itself, but in many countries, children fight the battles that adults have created. These young people are known as children warriors, soldiers, and combatants. The use of children in war is an unfortunate issue; but it is part of some people’s everyday life. Whether the child is fighting for their government or their life, they are often in constant danger. The foreign policies that have been put in place to protect children have yet to halt the ever-growing amount of children combatants.
The history and reasons why children join
Child combatants have been found on the battlefield throughout history. One of the first notable examples of ...view middle of the document...

(“Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers”) With weapons becoming smaller, lighter, and easier to use, children have become more susceptible to active involvement in modern day warfare. It is said that a child can learn to destructively fire an AK-47 in half an hour. Children can also be used as effective and cheap fighters that are useless once they have completed their jobs at any age. (Kaplan)
The average age range for a majority of children combatants are between the ages of 14 and 18. (“Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers”) However, there have been circumstances in which children as young as six have been involved in the armed conflicts as combatants soldiers. (“Amnesty Internationa”) Their young age makes them more easily manipulated. A common practice is to put the children under the influence of drugs, which makes them more daring on the battlefield. In addition to being cheap, disposable, and malleable, children can also cause great confusion on the battlefields. An opposing force is more likely to slow down at the sight of children and make themselves more vulnerable to attack. Minesweepers, suicide bombers, messengers, and bomb-makers are just a few of the roles that children have been known to play in over 30 conflicts worldwide. It is believed that there are a half million children who are not serving in active duty. Approximately an additional 300,000 children are currently serving in conflicts. (Kaplan)
Should a child survive, when he or she leaves the battlefield and returns home, the child usually has been forever changed. Witnessing and committing life-altering acts such as murder, rape, and mutilation can cause profound change in the mental perspective of an adult, let alone a child. Many children who survive the military services frequently suffer from mental health issues. Not only do these children come home with more problems than they left with, they usually return to a home that has been unchanged. Commonly home is still filled with all the stressors and issues it had before the child left. It is not the same as the United States military where young men and women learn to survive and take care of their own, these children still do not know the basic needs to survive. (Kaplan)
Where the use children combatants occur
All around the world children are used as combatants. It more frequently occurs in third-world countries because they lack material and economic stability, as well as skilled soldiers. Some countries that have used child combatants include Peru, Turkey, Algeria, Burundi, Chad, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Iraq, Pakistan, and Nepal. (“World Map of Child Soldiers”)
In the Second Congo War in the Democratic Republic of Congo, three million lives wre claimed. The war also had over 30,000 children combatants in active duty. Children combatants made up over 50 percent of the opposition forces. The children were serving for an armed political group known as Congolese Rally for Democracy-Goma. It had been...

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