Young Reporters Rail Against Practice Of Child Soldiers

Young reporters from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are taking a stance against the practice of recruiting child soldiers.

Over the last couple of years hostilities in the east of the country has resulted in a large number of children being recruited for combat operation which has outraged young journalists.

One group which calls itself Young Reporters of Katanga Province is urging the government of the DRC as well as community leaders and parents to stop the recruitment of children and help with the return of child soldiers to their families.

“These children have no rights and cannot flourish as every child should. Sooner or later, this will impact their psychological well-being and tomorrow’s society will be affected.” says the group.

The vast majority of kids are in fact abducted and forced to work in a range of rolls such as combatants, sex slaves, spies, cooks or messengers. Many children are incentivized by the promise of cash, jobs education or other benefits which they desperately need.

The recruitment of children into armed groups which engage in combat is a serious breach of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which UNICEF works very hard to uphold.

Programs organized by UNICEF seek to prevent the practice of child soldiers by improving and adding to local laws whilst also assisting in the rehabilitation, release and reintegration of children recruited into armed groups.

In 2013 UNICEF helped 4,601 children from the DRC who were previously part of armed groups to reunite with local communities. The program continues and this year so far 433 children in January alone have been helped.

The Young Reporters of Katanga will continue its advocacy program.

Last year UNICEF assisted 4,601 Congolese children formerly associated with armed forces to reunite with their communities.  Its programs continue in 2014 with 433 children released and assisted in January.

The Young Reporters of Katanga Province will also maintain their advocacy program.

“We want children everywhere, who hear and read our message, to know that we will continue to work hard for their rights to be respected!” say the reporters.

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