The world does not need to be reminded of the existence of children associated with armed forces and groups, for the record of the African continent in real terms is one badly blemished by a staggering number of such children.

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At the age of 15, Nestor Tata watched rebel soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) kill his father and not long afterwards came home from school to find the murdered body of his mother. With no siblings or anyone else to turn to, he took his parent’s savings from their hiding place under a mattress, packed a small bag and fled.

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An estimated 18 million children worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes because of conflict; a third of those are refugees whose families have fled across international borders, research shows.

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The former al-Shabab foot soldiers assigned to a drab cement housing bloc are young -- too young. One is only 9, yet they were enforcers of harsh edicts from Islamist militants who are preventing thousands of Somalis from escaping famine.

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The United Nations envoy advocating for the rights of children during armed conflicts today welcomed the Security Council's decision to agree to apply sanctions against any individuals or entities that violate children's rights.

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The Security Council’s Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict has expressed concern over continuing violations of children’s rights in the Central African Republic (CAR) and urged all armed groups in the country to immediately halt the practice.

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The Central African Republic, long overshadowed by conflict in neighboring Sudan, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, has made significant progress in recent weeks to address its child soldier crisis.

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Wednesday, 20 July 2011 07:30

SOMALIA: Children Facing War Crimes

 

The scale of war crimes affecting Somali children, including the systematic recruitment of child soldiers under 15 by armed Islamist groups, has been exposed in a new report by Amnesty International today.

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The Security Council today, recognizing schools and hospitals as safe havens for children, called for all parties to conflict that attack such facilities to be held accountable and that they be added to the list published annually by the United Nations of those who commit grave violations against children.

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reiterated his concern over the growing number of attacks on schools and hospitals and threats to children in armed conflicts around the world, stating that the United Nations is considering targeted measures against those who commit such crimes.

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