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Child Soldiers in Use in the Republic of Congo

The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers has estimated that tens of thousands of children are used as soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A recent Amnesty International mission to that country found that children as young as seven are recruited into some of the armed groups involved in the conflict.
Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court the recruitment of children under the age of 15 as soldiers is considered a war crime. The DRC has also ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
Not only is it important that children no longer be recruited and be removed immediately from armed conflict but there must also be put into place effective and sustainable demobilization and rehabilitation programs. The must be provided with the necessary emotional and material support to promote their successful reintegration into civilian society.


AI INDEX: AFR 54/015/2003 31 March 2003

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