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UN Report: Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Shabaab in Somalia put Child soldiers on the frontline in War

In the past, about 2,000 to 3,000 children, at times as young as 9, were enlisted in the Somali armed forces, says UNICEF

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Use of child soldiers is harshly looked down upon. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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  • Al Shabaab has been luring child soldiers to fight for them against the Somali Government
  • About 5000-6000 children soldiers are fighting war in Somalia everyday 
  • 16th June is celebrated as International Day of Child in Africa

Al Shabaab, an affiliate of Al Qaeda operating mainly in southern and central Somalia has been recklessly putting child soldiers on the front line of the war against internationally recognized Somali Federal Government. The militant group lures this young boys to fight for them through brainwashing and sometimes offering food, sweets, money and shelter. Children in shelter/displaced persons’ camp often prove to be easy targets.

somalia
al Shabaab military parade. Image courtesy: criticalthreats.org

Officials from the United Nations’ Children Fund have said there could be around as many as 5000-6000 child soldiers battling scarring wars everyday on the battlefield. This number seems to have suddenly shot up. UNICEF had reported in the past that 2000 young boys had been persuaded to fight for Somali Armed Forces.

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Thursday, June 16, is observed as the International Day of The African Child all over Africa to continue the issue of children’s rights in the continent. This day serves as a reminder to all the African governments to respect children’s right and the fact that there is still a long way to go to establish safe environment where these children can enjoy the same rights that every other child in the world does. This year, Day of the African Child was celebrated under the theme, “Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting all Children’s Rights”. Focus on provision of education to all African children is always a key focus area on this day.

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Somalia signed the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), making Somalia the 195th state to ratify the convention.

Even in the wake of signing this convention, child abductions have been pitifully on the rise in the country. The Human Rights Watch reports that child soldiers are often used as human shields in battles.

The ratification means that Somali children now have legally binding rights with the CRC, providing the framework for the government to promote and protect those rights.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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  • AJ Krish

    Luring children to fight a war in which they are dragged into.Manipulating them and using them as human shields .Have people lost their humanity?

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UN Secretary General Guterres Suggests Multilaterism To Deal With Global Challenges

Reform of the UN has a crucial contribution to make, and I look forward to continuing to press ahead across the pillars of that effort.

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres'
UN Secretary-General António Guterres' press conference with the national and international press to present the results of his visit to Mali and to answer the many questions of journalists.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a reformed, reinvigorated and strengthened multilateral system to deal with today’s global challenges.

“Toward that end, we need a stronger commitment to a rules-based order, with the UN at its center, with the different institutions and treaties that bring the (UN) Charter to life,” Guterres told an open debate of the Security Council on strengthening multilateralism and the role of the UN.

“But it is not enough to have laws and international conventions, vital as they are. We need new forms of cooperation with other international and regional organisations — a networked multilateralism. And we need closer links with civil society and other stakeholders — an inclusive multilateralism,” Xinhua reported on Friday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Wikimedia

The world is facing many challenges. But at the same time, trust is on the decline, within and among nations. People are losing faith in political establishments, national and global. Key assumptions have been upended, key endeavours undermined, and key institutions undercut, he said.

“This is a time of multiplying conflicts, advancing climate change, deepening inequality and rising tensions over trade. It is a period when people are moving across borders in unprecedented numbers in search of safety or opportunity. We are still wrestling with the risk of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and only beginning to reckon with the potential dangers of new technologies.”

There is anxiety, uncertainty and unpredictability across the world, he said. “It often seems that the more global the threat, the less able we are to cooperate. This is very dangerous in the face of today’s challenges, for which global approaches are essential.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
FILE – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres give a statement after delivering a speech in Geneva, May 24, 2018

Multilateralism is nothing more than countries coming together, respecting one another, and establishing the forms of cooperation that guarantee peace and prosperity for all in a healthy planet, he explained.

“As 21st century challenges threaten to outpace 20th century institutions and mindsets, let us reaffirm the ideals of collective action while pursuing a new generation of approaches and architecture capable of responding,” he said.

Guterres stressed the necessity to stick to the UN Charter.

Also Read: Earth’s Ozone Layer Is Healing: UN

“Reform of the UN has a crucial contribution to make, and I look forward to continuing to press ahead across the pillars of that effort. But most of all it is our resilient and still visionary UN Charter that points the way — with its articulation of universal values, its grounding in peace, development, human rights and the rule of law, and its vision of countries living as good neighbors and sharing a common fate and future,” he said.

“Strengthening multilateralism means strengthening our commitment to the charter. Such a commitment is needed now more than ever — from all around this table, and around our world,” he added. (IANS)