A problem I have been concerned about lately is the worldwide issue of child soldiers.

Child soldiers are children between 4 and 18 years old who are exploited for military purposes by armed forces or rebel armed groups. This is a big problem because there are tens of thousands of children drawn into military organizations and used to fight in war.

My concern started when I read an article on Isis, and I was really shocked by the case of children used as suicide bombers or assassins. Moreover surfing the Internet I found that they are also used in many other ways and for many purposes: they are used as fighters, cooks, porters (they carry heavy loads like ammunition or injured soldiers), messengers, spies and sexual slaves. In my opinion the situations of children used as suicide bombers and sexual slaves are the most harmful and terrible for a child, who is still developing psychologically and emotionally.

As I went on about my research, I discovered that today more than 15 countries still recruit and use child soldiers and 51 no-state armed groups, like the Taliban in Afghanistan or Isis in Iraq, use them on a large scale, including suicide bombings. Another important thing to say is that even in countries like India or the Philippines you can find episodes of child recruitment: I think it is disgraceful that countries like these that are considered world powers and are rich enough to afford nuclear weapons, should face these kinds of humanitarian emergencies.

The good news is that global associations like UN, UNICEF, the International Criminal Court and others have been working to fight against this problem launching worldwide campaigns to stop child-recruitment and declare prohibitions against the countries or military groups that still allow the recruitment of children.

However this is a very long healing process for many reasons and it needs the collaboration of more people in rich countries. The most disgraceful thing is that we often do not care about these kinds of emergencies because they do not concern us directly. This problem especially affects children, and children must not be touched because they are most vulnerable. We should wake up and do something.

When I read about this problem, I did not believe my eyes and I wondered: “Is it possible that in the 21st century we still face problems like this?”

Valerio Magno 3°D

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