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Child-Soldiers: Lost Innocence on the Battlefield

Updated on September 17, 2014

Children in Wartime

War Is Hell

The process of warfare has been an inevitable tragedy throughout the history of the world. Human beings have gone to war over land, money, religious or political beliefs, and racial disputes since the beginnings of recorded history. Even in the Western World today we see the brutality and hardships of war as our troops are sent to fight conflicts in the Middle East.

War is violent and brutal for any person to experience, and particularly difficult for those whose lives are turned upside down by having to hide or to be obligated to participate in it.

However, there are soldiers in the world today who have known nothing but violence and war for all of their very short lives; children soldiers. Armies and militant groups in certain regions of the modern world are using children to fight in their conflicts, and the UN as well as many human rights groups are finding it very difficult to prevent, or to remedy, this complex situation.


Young Boys Prepare for Battle
Young Boys Prepare for Battle | Source

Children As Soldiers


On any given morning, one would expect to see a child like Sam* playing with his friends on a sunny day, going to school, growing up surrounded by his family, and all of the other beautiful moments in childhood which fly by so quickly. Unfortunately for Sam, and many children like him, school and play time and family are no longer part of their lives. Like an estimated 250,000 children in the world today, Sam is a child soldier for a militant group.

According to the advocacy website Child-Soldier.Org, the international definition of a Child Soldier is,"anyone under the age of 18 who has been recruited or used in hostilities by state armed forces or non-state armed groups." Within the last ten years alone, approximately two million children have been killed in conflicts around the globe.


Innocence Lost

Child soldier on the battlefield in Vietnam
Child soldier on the battlefield in Vietnam | Source

Happiness Is (Not) A Warm Gun

In the last ten years alone, hundreds of thousands of children have been taken from their homes and trained to fight in armed conflicts. The majority of these children do not make it out of these conflicts alive. Their young bodies cannot endure the hardships of war; often, the children that do not expire from the physical violence succumb to sarvation, exhaustion, dehydration or other preventable causes.

Children are often not physically capable of performing strenuous tasks without have amble food or water to sustain them, and many injuries incured during their forced labors are left untreated.. They are often undernourished, as they are seen as expendable, and therefore the last to get any kind of proper food or clean drinking water. Often, those that are given some sustenance grow ill from eating rotten food or drinking contaminated water.

They Fight Like Soldiers; They Die Like Children

Source

Children under the age of 18 who are recruited to be soldiers by non-governmental organizations usually are forced to perform a wide range of tasks that no one else wants, ranging from cooks and clothes-washers, to some of the most horrific parts one can take in a war; many children are used as messengers, spies, suicide bombers, or even human shields. Many children are often sexually abused as well.

About 40% of all child soldiers are female.

These girls are most often used as human shields, spies, or for other nefarious purposes. However, they are still trained in the ways of warfare, and many are taught how to use weapons, and how to kill from a very young age. Girls are forcibly 'recruited' into these armies as young as 7 years old, and for them, it's the only life they have ever known.

Every Little Bit Helps

Here Are A Few Other Sites Where YOU Can Help Or Donate:

Even a bake sale, a fundraiser, or a few donated dollars or hours can make a HUGE impact on the lives of these affected children.



You Can Make a Difference

If you'd like to sign up for more information, take action, or donate to end this atrocity, visit AmnestyUSA.org today.

Comments

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    • KMSplumeau profile imageAUTHOR

      KMSplumeau 

      3 years ago

      I agree, it's terrible that this is still occurring in this day and age.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      3 years ago from Flagstaff, AZ

      This highlights the worst the human race has to offer. Expendable children. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is so sad. However, as long as there are wars, children will always be there in the fight.

    • KMSplumeau profile imageAUTHOR

      KMSplumeau 

      3 years ago

      Yes, I understood that. I am a Beatles fan myself. I felt that the phrase fit well with the story. Thank you for your feedback, however.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 

      3 years ago

      I don't think The Beatles were referring to the same warm gun that you are. It was used as a metaphor that all men possess when aroused, LOL.

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