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Committee: United Nations Childrens Fund

Chair: Michele Tyler


Vice-Chairs: Neha Charausia, Hannah Collins
Topic: Child Soldiers
Hello delegates!
This is my fourth year of MUN, and I hoe to see comrehensi!e discussion as your chair
of UNIC"F# $ll of our chairs ha!e at least a year of MUN e%erience, so &e loo' for&ard to an
interesting discussion# This committee is focused on heling children li'e you# (ou are a)out to
tac'le an issue that affects children around the &orld# If you ha!e any *uestions you can reach
the chairs at c!hsmun+,+-.yahoo#com, or e/mail me ersonally at neysalma'ia0,.yahoo#com#
I loo' for&ard to meeting you all in 1ecem)er#
Background
The use of children as soldiers can )e traced )ac' as far as ancient 2oman history# $t that
oint in time, society did not !ie& it as a ro)lem3 they merely thought that age does not matter
&hen discussing ones a)ility to fight# 4oys can )e seen as soldiers in &ars such as the 4oer 5ar
and in armies such as the 4ritish 2oyal Na!y# $ nota)le e!ent is &hen Nicolas I of 2ussia
created a la& in 0-6, that forced many Cantonists to ser!e in the army and conscri)e for 67
years# Child soldiers &ere !ery common during the 5orld 5ars )ecause armies could use anyone
the got# Strangely enough, a former !ersion of the 4oy Scouts &as a grou of )oys that &ent in
during &ar# The mentality has changed )ut &hether it is for the )etter, can )e e%tensi!ely
de)ated#
Children around the &orld are doing that &hich the U#S# re*uires one to )e an adult to do3
they are going out into the &orld to handle hea!y &eaons and fight for a reason they most li'ely
do not understand# There are a)out 8++,+++ child soldiers under the age of 0- around the &orld#
It is hard to )elie!e that children as young as - years old are out in com)at# Children ha!e )een
forced to see sights that most eole &ould ne!er )e a)le to handle3 they almost )ecome immune
to !iolence and horri)le images# Children are sometimes re*uired to commit atrocities against
eole they are familiar &ith, sometimes e!en family# 9!er time the fighting situation for child
soldiers may ha!e actually gotten &orse than it &orse )efore3 though rogression in time usually
leads to rogression in all asects, the care for childrens rights may ha!e actually gone
)ac'&ards#
$s of no&, child soldiers are still resent in 88 different regions )ut can most commonly
)e seen in $frica# 9ne of the main focuses &ithin $frica for child soldier aid is actually in 1arfur
&here children are 'idnaed in the middle of the night and forced to fight for a radical grou#
Though it may seem surrising, some families actually chose to enlist )ecause they )elie!e that
their children &ill )e )etter off in a lace &here they &ill get food and a lace to slee# Many
organi:ations &or' to re!ent society from )elie!ing that sending their children to go into
com)at is the only &ay to ma'e sure that their children are safe# Most hoefully, the mentality of
society &ill e!entually change, )ut until then, there are children dying out there )ecause they are
)eing forced to fight and &e are the ones &ho can hel them#
UN Involvement
UNIC"F has )een !ery in!ol!ed in outla&ing the use of children in &arfare# 0;;, sa&
UNIC"Fs Cae To&n <rinciles and 4est <ractices on the 2ecruitment of Children into the
$rmed Forces and on 1emo)ili:ation and Social 2eintegration for Child Soldiers in $frica )ring
together e%erts and artners to create &ays to hel re!ent children from )eing recruited into
&ar, esta)lish 0- as the minimum age of recruitment, and imlement effecti!e rograms to
reintegrate former child soldiers into society# $n organi:ation e%ists that &or's to re!ent
'idnaing and enlisting of children in $frica3 this organi:ation is called In!isi)le Children =to
reresent the children that >ust disaear in the middle of the night? and has actually done a lot of
&or' &ith UNIC"F to ma'e a difference in the li!es of children &ho ha!e not )een 'idnaed#
This organi:ation raises money to create houses &here the children can slee at night )ecause
many of the children do not ha!e a safe lace to slee &here they can a!oid the radicals# 5hen
the children stay at the shelters made )y In!isi)le Children they ha!e a rotected lace to rest#
9rgani:ations such as this one are !ery imortant &hen it comes to heling the children#
In 6+++, there &as an International Conference on 5ar $ffected Children, and UNIC"F
imlemented the 9tional <rotocol to the Con!ention of the 2ights of the Child on the
In!ol!ement of Children in $rmed Conflict# This rotocol ma'es it illegal for any child under 0-
to directly articiate in hostilities through recruitment into armed grous or comulsory
recruitment )y the go!ernment# 6++8 )rought the @uide to the 9tional <rotocol on the
In!ol!ement of Children in $rmed Conflict, &hich descri)es more a)out the re!ious
rotocol# The comendium Children and $rmed Conflict A International Standards for $ction
=assed in 6++8? )rings together treaties and other documents that rotect the rights of children
affected )y armed conflict#
Possible Solutions
Secific socioeconomic en!ironments are conduci!e to the roliferation of child soldiers#
$s $frican nations ma'e u the ma>ority of territories currently in!ol!ed &ith this issue, the
committee should address the colonial legacy resent in these countries# For e%amle, due to &ar
and health issues, the demograhics of said countries are generally !ery young# This creates a
large )ase for militant grous and others to dra& from in order to create child soldiers# $lso,
economic situations often force children to find some source of income, &hich may in!ol!e
!iolence or e!en )ecoming soldiers# The histories of the !arious nations are also an issue# 5hen
tri)al di!isions and conflicts redate the resent )y hundred of years, children are more easily
con!inced, encouraged, or forced into eretuating such conflicts# 5hen all of the adults
surrounding the children suort and !alidate the cause children may )e temted to fight for, the
children &ill )e more li'ely to fight, ha!ing )een raised in a articular mindset# 9ftentimes, re)el
grous formed for the sole urose of continuing such conflicts 'idna and force children into
their grous# "ach nation thus has an indi!idual history and status that directly affects the
roagation of child soldiers# The committee should attemt to focus on as many indi!idual
nations as ossi)le, in order to fully address issues that may differ )et&een them#
$ second facet to the issue of child soldiers is that of the arms trade# Second only in the
&orld commodity mar'et to cosmetics, arms are often chea and relia)le# Their a!aila)ility and
easy transortation fuel the de!eloment of !iolence and conflict, &hich often leads to the
ractice of child soldiers# In order to address this, the committee should consider &ays in &hich
the arms trade can )e limited and cur)ed#
National so!ereignty should also )e discussed# The committee should note that many
solutions &ould infringe uon a nations so!ereignty, and so may not )e !ia)le# Should
something more aggressi!e than monitoring agencies )e instatedB Child soldiers may contri)ute
to the national, go!ernment/suorted military, in &hich case the elimination of child soldiers
could drastically inhi)it the a)ility of a nation to rotect itself or maintain a feasi)le military#
1raft roositions may )e a solution to this# $lso, child soldiers often !olunteer for their osts#
1oes the U#N# ha!e the o&er to force them to !acateB
Financial limitations are another issue# Increased education, health rograms, etc# are
e%tremely costly, and due to the fact UNIC"Fs funding comes mainly from !oluntary
contri)utions of N@9s and go!ernments, may ro!e too e%ensi!e for the committee to
underta'e# The chairs &ould urge the committee to attemt to address the many asects of this
issue, and to )ear in mind the constraints and role of the United Nations and UNIC"F in its
efforts#
Countr Positions
$ll delegates should )e a&are of their countrys status concerning the 9tional <rotocol to the
Con!ention on the 2ights of the Child on the in!ol!ement of children in armed conflict#
$lthough $frican nations are the main countries &ith child soldiers, $sian countries, Catin
$merican nations, "uroean nations, and Middle "astern countries all ha!e ties to child soldiers#
4e sure to dou)le/chec' your solutions &ith your articular countrys olicy concerning this
toic#
!uestions to "sk Be#ore $riting:
0# 1oes my country ha!e child soldiersB If so, does the go!ernment suort themB
6# 5hat is the !ie& of my allied countriesB
8# 1oes my country already ha!e lansDgrous set u to hel sol!e this ro)lemB
E# 1oes my country ha!e money to do anything for this ro)lemB
Sources
htt:DDu'#ans&ers#yahoo#comD*uestionDinde%B*idF6++,+G+00G68++$$s<HoIHsho&F,
htt:DD&&&#)ruinmun#orgDdo&nloadsDunicef/toic6#df
htt:DD&&&#cas#umt#eduDmunD6++GD6++GtoicsIUNIC"F#df