Interview with Child Soldier Activist
-What is actually a child soldier?
A child soldier is a child that is recruited less than 18 years that is used to either fight in wars, as cooks, human shields, spies or worse, sexual slaves. These children are mostly taken away by armed force to be used for war.
-In the last 15 years how did this issue deteriorated?
Sadly, this issue is not only in Africa but worldwide and almost every armed conflict. Since it’s considered illegal to use children to fight in those conflict it’s very hard to know how many of those kids are used. Although, there is about thousands under 18 children who are forced to fight for groups.
-We know there are a lot of young boys that kidnapped from their family but do girls also get forced to join these groups?
Absolutely, they consist about 10 to 30 percent of the child soldiers but unlike the boys the girls are very vulnerable to sexual violence. They can be raped by male soldiers or they either become the wives of the army commanders.
-Is it true that some children even volunteer in those armed groups?
This is actually true because of the poverty some think that volunteering will provide them food, water or security. This is true until a certain point when the group will take it away because it’s a way to attract these children without forcing them. Since poverty is very high it’s a very efficient way to attract those children.
-To conclude, what is your impression of child soldiers in 2014 and 2015 approaching?
When you think about these young children that can be only 10 years old you realize that it’s unacceptable. They are not fed, they are drugged, they raped or abused and forced to do kill, destroy villages that are sometime their own villages. Recruiting those children breaks many human rights laws.