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Military Use of Children

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Military Use of Children  Empty Military Use of Children

Post  Roi on Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:16 pm

Military Use of Children - a form of child labor/exploitation
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The military use of children takes three distinct forms: children can take direct part in hostilities (child soldiers), or they can be used in support roles such as porters, spies, messengers, look outs, and sexual slaves; or they can be used for political advantage either as human shields or in propaganda. They can make good human shields and spies/lookouts since they are less likely to get killed. A good portrayal of this would be in Black Hawk Down which was about the First Battle of Mogadishu where children alerted the militia that the Americans were coming aside from acting as human shields.. The soldiers in the choppers did not attack the children as part of their rules of engagement.

In medieval Europe, young boys were used as military aides ("squires"), though in theory their role in actual combat was limited. The so-called Children's Crusade in 1212 recruited thousands of children as untrained soldiers under the assumption that divine power would enable them to conquer the enemy, although none of the children actually entered combat. Popular insurrections like the Warsaw Uprising employed children. Nazi Germany instructed the Hitler Youth in fighting, strategy and Nazi ideology.
As Germany was invaded members of the HY were taken into the army at ever younger ages; during the Battle of Berlin in 1945 they were a major part of the German defenses. The Hitler Youth fought with great courage during the battle. One group of Hitler Youth even managed to hold off a Soviet tank division for three days. Many soldiers said that no one scared them more than the Hitler Youth.

In modern times, Soldiers use children as cover, and if the enemy holds fire because of this practice, they are at a disadvantage. If the enemy soldiers OPEN fire, this can be valuable for propaganda purposes. US military personnel in Vietnam reported that Vietnamese children were sometimes sent with hand grenades strapped to their bodies under their clothes to cause death to unsuspecting American soldiers. However, it should be noted that both of these accusations have sometimes been decried as false; some allege that such stories are used to justify the atrocities committed by a military force against children.

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) admittedly soldiers used children and women to act as human shields during raids of Palestinian towns, notably in the invasion of Jenin. This practice subsequently banned by Israel's High Court of Justice although the Israeli Defense Ministry appealed this decision. During the Gaza War, Israeli forces used unarmed Palestinians including children to protect military positions, walk in front of armed soldiers; go into buildings to check for booby traps or gunmen; and inspect suspicious objects for explosives and even stay in front of IDF tanks to deter Hamas fighters from firing.

Hamas also uses children. A notorious example is when a video taken from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) documented a Hamas militant launching a rocket from a roof of a civilian house and then using children to escort him out to avoid being targeted by IDF forces.

Iran was accused of using children to run past minefields to clear them.

Children are also human shields when kidnapped by people like terrorists or goons.

After the war, bringing the children into civil society is difficult: they haven't had an education; they are used to violence; they have lost ties to their families. Up to half of the world's child soldiers are in Africa… In 2004 one estimate put the number of children involved in armed conflict including combat roles at 100,000. According to Amnesty International, "An estimated 300,000 children under the age of eighteen are currently participating in armed conflicts in more than thirty different countries on nearly every continent. While most child soldiers are in their teens, some are as young as seven years old.

This is a list of countries with child soldiers fighting in recent and ongoing conflicts.
Note that: G means government armed forces, P is for paramilitaries, O = armed opposition groups)

Colombia (P,O)
Mexico (P,O)
Peru (O)

Russian Federation (O)
Turkey (O)
Yugoslavia (former Rep. of) (P,O)

Algeria (P,O)
Angola (G,O)
Burundi (G,O)
Chad (G)
Republic of Congo (G,O)
Dem. Rep. of the Congo (G,O)
Eritrea (G)
Ethiopia (G)
Rwanda (G,O)
Sierra Leone (G,P,O)
Somalia (all groups)
Sudan (G,P,O)
Uganda (G,O)

Iran (G,O)
Iraq (G,O)
Israel and Occupied Territories (G,O)
Lebanon (O)

Afghanistan (all groups)
India (P,O)
Indonesia (P,O)
Myanmar (G,O)
Nepal (O)
Pakistan (O)
Philippines (O) The MILF is accused at least
Solomon Islands (O)
Sri Lanka (O)
East Timor (P,O)
Tajikistan (O)
Papua New Guinea (O)
Uzbekistan (O)


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