For the 34th session of the Human Rights Council, the CIPADH attended one of the side event organized by national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations.On Wednesday 7th of March, the CIRID (Centre Indépendant de Recherche et d’initiatives pour le Dialogue), an international and African NGO dealing with communication and creating dialogues for the progress in war zones, made a conference about child soldiers and their rehabilitation.
The CIRID focused on the problem of child soldiers in Yemen and in order to emphasize that this issue is not recent and that it’s an international matter, the speaker start by pointing out the various reports of the Secretary-general on children and armed conflict in Yemen.
The reports classify six categories of grave violation of children’s rights committed by armed forces or armed groups:
- Recruitment or use of children
- Killing or maiming of children
- Rape or other grave sexual violence
- Abduction of children
- Attacks against schools or hospitals
- Denial of humanitarian access for children
In Yemen, the situation is particularly significant due to the fact that child soldiers are victims of those 6 types of crimes.
The perpetrators are both the Yemeni Armed Forces and the various armed groups. The requirement of children on the battle field is needed because of the low rate of recruitment of adult people. Children are particularly easy to convince and manipulate in such a way that they are the perfect prey. The child soldiers come very often from very poor families and they sometimes consider the engagement as an alternative of poverty. The recruitment is also encouraged by the propaganda in schools, by the provision of misleading information and inadequate screening procedures.
This situation is alarming because the recruitment of child soldiers increases from years to years. Between July 2011 and March 2013, the United Nations documented 84 cases of recruitment and use of children while in 2015, 762 verified cases have been established. Moreover, the speaker insists that the numbers and statistics in the investigations give only approximate results and not the realistic one.
Rape, use of weapons, abduction, killing, and drugs are the daily life of those children. If they survive to those conditions of life, the real challenge is the rehabilitation. The use of drugs, the systematic violence, the lack of education and the traumatism make the mission of rehabilitation particularly arduous.
It is therefore the duty of the international community, the NGOs, the United Nations to implement solutions, to find and release the children, to help them psychologically and bring them back to school.