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Summary

As of spring of 2018, 152 of the 177 states enlisting armed forces worldwide have ratified OPAC, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, a United Nations resolution to end the military enlistment of children.1 Often the targeted children are from underdeveloped and socioeconomically deprived regions.2 In South Sudan alone there are estimated to be 19,000 child soldiers in armed forces,3 but the specific number of children conscripted as soldiers worldwide is unknown.4 Since 2016, a minimum of 18 different conflicts around the world have involved child soldiers.5 According to the Human Rights Watch, many of the children enlist under the illusion that by volunteering or complying they will guarantee social or economic security for both them and their family.6 Girls are particularly susceptible to sexual exploitation in some conflict zones. Other children are asked to perform suicide missions, torture and execute friends and family, or be messengers, servants or guards.7 Militant groups and armed forces in Yemen, Sudan, South Sudan, Iraq, the Philippines, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Burma, Chad, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Somalia and Thailand are all reported to have enlisted child soldiers in recent conflicts.8 Show References
1 https://www.child-soldiers.org/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=1a608665-f302-4bf4-9710-580a4ee7892a 2 https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-child-soldiers 3 https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/hundreds-children-released-armed-groups-south-sudan-unicef 4 https://www.child-soldiers.org/faqs/how-many-children-are-used-for-military-purposes-worldwide 5 https://childsoldiersworldindex.org/ 6 https://www.hrw.org/news/2008/12/03/facts-about-child-soldiers 7 Ibid 8 https://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/12/child-soldiers-worldwide
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