ACEI Statements on Use of Child Soldiers
As an organization for those concerned with the inherent rights, education and well-being of children, the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) has issued the following statement on the use of children in combat:
Hundreds of thousands of children under the age of 18—more than 300,000 young people worldwide—are engaged in deadly violence as child soldiers.1
The use of child soldiers is illegal, morally reprehensible, a violation of international norms and treaties, and perpetuates the abhorrent and harmful perception that children, particularly orphans and the poor, are expendable assets.
The Association for Childhood Education International urges governments and non-state armies to:
- Publicly condemn the use of children as decoys, lookouts, suicide bombers, minefield testers, and other activities of armed forces
- Commit to a long-term, worldwide effort for the disarmament and demobilization of child soldiers, and provide physical and psychological rehabilitation and education for their reintegration into society
- Analyze their doctrines and rules of military engagement to address child soldiers, and to identify and promote nonviolent ways to support causes
- Seek peaceful resolutions to conflict and support United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's call for mankind to end violence and "come together to restore the sanctity of values we hold dear—tolerance, pluralism, peace, and respect for every human life."
A United Nations Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the Association for Childhood Education International advocates for the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Optional Protocol to the CRC on Armed Conflict,2 which outlaws the involvement of children under age 18 in any hostilities and sets strict standards for the recruitment of any individual under 18 years of age.
1 Singer, P.W. (2001-02, Winter). Caution: Children at War. Parameters.
2 Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, General Assembly Resolution A/RES/54/263 of 25, May 2000.