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GAMBIA-L  January 2004

GAMBIA-L January 2004

Subject:

***: Coalition Against Child abuse: Report shows child soldier use continued unabated

From:

uga479 <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The Gambia and related-issues mailing list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 16 Jan 2004 12:04:52 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (57 lines)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Elum Aniap Godfrey Ayoo 
To: [log in to unmask] ; [log in to unmask] ; [log in to unmask] 
Cc: Edward Mulindwa ; [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2004 11:02 AM
Subject: Coalition Against Child abuse: Report shows child soldier use continued unabated


Embargoed for release until Friday 16 January 2004

For more information: 
Casey Kelso (London)+44 207 713 2763 or +44-7900-892-552
Jo Becker (New York) +1-(212) 216-1236 or (914) 263-9643 (cell)
Victoria Forbes Adam (London) +44 207 713 2762 

REPORT SHOWS CHILD SOLDIER USE
CONTINUES UNABATED

London, 16 January 2004 - Children continued to be used as soldiers, sexual slaves, labourers, porters and spies throughout 2003 in both newly-erupting and longstanding conflicts, according to a report released in the run-up to the United Nations Security Council's fourth open debate on children and armed conflict.

The report, released today by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, details evidence of governments and armed groups recruiting and using child soldiers in numerous conflicts worldwide. The Coalition calls for action by the UN Security Council to insist upon - and enforce - an end to child recruitment.

"The Secretary-General has publicly named governments and armed groups using children in war. The test for the Security Council is to hold these governments and groups accountable for their actions," said Casey Kelso, Coalition Coordinator.

The 50-page report, "Child Soldier Use 2003", is intended to help the Security Council formulate concrete solutions during its annual debate on children and armed conflict, scheduled for Tuesday 20 January. The Coalition report identifies 18 different countries and situations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East where child soldier issues remain part of the gross abuse of human rights in armed conflict or its aftermath. 

The Coalition's report provides evidence that in many conflicts, such as in the Cote d'Ivoire, parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Liberia, a massive increase in recruitment occurred during 2003. Horrifying reports emerged from the DRC of children being raped and tortured, as well as forced to commit atrocities against civilians. Abductions of children in northern Uganda by the Lord's Resistance Army are at the highest point of the conflict's 17-year history. Thousands of children in northern Uganda continue to flee their homes at night to avoid being abducted into brutal combat and servitude.

In Myanmar there was little if any progress in ending child soldiering, with an estimated 70,000 children in the government armed forces. Exiled children told of being abducted by government forces and taken to military camps where they were subjected to beatings, forced labour and combat. Recent reports from Colombia reveal that the number of children used by armed groups may have increased to around 11,000 in recent years, with children as young as 12 trained and deployed to use explosives and weapons. In Sri Lanka the forced conscription of children by the armed opposition Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) continues, despite LTTE pledges to demobilize children from their ranks. 

The Coalition recommends that Security Council members should:

 Make sure there is an annual updated list of all parties to armed conflict that recruit or use child soldiers;
 Follow up on this list by asking those using child soldiers to provide - within 90 days - information on steps they are taking to end recruitment and use of child soldiers;
 Designate a UN representative to start talks with those using child soldiers, and to assist them in developing action plans with them to end such practices;
 Verify whether armed groups and forces are implementing such action plans;
 End weapons flows, particularly small arms, to those recruiting and using children; and 
 Use other means to enforce an international ban on child soldiering, such as travel restrictions on leaders using children in their armies, banning them from attending international events and organisations, ending military assistance to their governments or groups, and restricting the flow of financial resources to the parties concerned. 

"Adopting resolution after resolution which fail to protect children from conflict has created 'resolution fatigue' among governments at the UN and cynicism among the public," the Coalition's Casey Kelso said. "The UN should step up efforts to demand accountability by governments and groups using child soldiers. The Council should act to end weapons flows to violators and apply targeted sanctions to parties that fail to end their use of child soldiers."

[log in to unmask], [log in to unmask] , 
[log in to unmask] , [log in to unmask] , 
www.radiorhino.org ,  www.upcparty.net

"And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, 'When will you be satisfied?' We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities (.) No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream". (Martin Luther King, 1964 Nobel Peace prize laureate, assassinated for his struggle)

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