The Silvana Arbia Foundation against child soldiers

The Silvana Arbia Foundation against child soldiers

12th November 2017

"No one is born as violent. No child in Africa, Latin America or Asia wants to be part of the war. These are situations in which children are forced to take part and, over time, since they are constantly traumatized and drugged, this becomes the norm, the only reality they know. It is easy to make a child become a soldier, but it is very difficult to get him regain the lost humanity, although it is possible." Ismael Beah - ex child soldier from Sierra Leone

Child soldiers: kidnapped minors, controllable and easily influenced; street children without a future and with no prospects, often children of the culture of violence suffered or seen inflicted; children used for kamikaze attacks, as snipers or spies; children that obey, shoot, kill or steal without asking too many questions.

It is documented that in the last decade children aged 10 to 16 took part in war conflicts in 25 countries, an immeasurable tragedy in the region of the Great Lakes of Africa, in fact it is estimated that at least 60,000 children only in Congo (but some estimate 100,000) of which over 35% are girls, are destined to war actions, the older ones. The younger children are used to bring ammunition, food supplies, or lookout stand. The girls are obliged to satisfy the needs of the soldiers. The international observers estimate that the phenomenon is in the strong growth and is destined to worsen.

The Optional Protocol of the Convention on Children's Rights of 2000, relative to the involvement of children in armed conflicts, increases the minimum age for the participation, from 15 to 18 years (art.1) and prohibits the military conscription and forced recruitment under the age of 18 (art.2). The Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998, poses as a war crime the recruitment and the use in active participation in international or internal conflicts, of children under the age of 15. The Convention n.182 of the International Labour Organization of 1999, defines the forced recruitment of children one of the worst forms of child labour and it forbids it.

Despite the words of Conventions and Statutes are clear, the phenomenon of child soldiers and the violence against children, reaches dramatic levels. The Foundation Silvana Arbia, on the anniversary of its constitution, would like to draw the attention of individuals and Institutions on this fact very often forgotten.

The Foundation is aware of the priority of the involvement of the local population in its projects in order to enable the community itself to put into practice and activate its human development potential. Unfortunately, the current war scenarios and instability in the region of the Great African Lakes, make the direct interventions extremely difficult.

We will not stop, we will try to give continuity and effectiveness to our will to go on by cooperating with the community in rising awareness on the issue, in the information for the families, on prevention and on how to support child soldiers that have been demobilized and return, in case it still exists, at home.

We want to be in those communities to help build solid barriers against the children recruitment, for the protection of vulnerable children and, together, work on the ability to answer to the changes, to have an impact in the processes of recruitment of minors.

We know well that to put the rights of children and young girls before the military requirements, requires far reaching changes in values and in behaviour, and this is why it is necessary to focus on education that starts from the knowledge of the territory and from the social context.

Education could be the contribution necessary to break the cycle of poverty and war.

As a "civil" society we have a task, do not forget it.

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Silvana Arbia Foundation

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To be paid by bank transfer made out to the Silvana Arbia Foundation, Bank: B.A.C. Dogana (RSM) IBAN: SM08B0303409800000060166843 SWIFT: BASMSMSMXXX