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Basic Facts
Read the basic facts about child soldiers

What You Can Do
Find out how you can help stop the use of child soliders.

Marie - In the Shadow of the Lion
Imagine waking up tomorrow to find that everything in your life has changed. Read the story about a young girl in Africa who is caught in the horrors of armed conflict.
Download lesson plans for each chapter of the book.

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Voices of Children
at War
Read about child soldiers, their parents and rehabilitation workers in their own words. Written so that it could be performed as a play.
Making Progress
Read the latest reports on children and armed conflict, the issues and conflicts areas from the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
Organisations Working on Behalf of Child Soldiers

"I would like to give you a message. Please do your best to tell all the world what is happening to us children. So that other children don't have to pass through this violence."
-15-year-old girl abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda.
Adolescent boys wearing civilian clothes walk away from the weapons they once carried as child soldiers after being evacuated from a combat zone in Sudan. More than 2,500 former child soldiers have been airlifted out of conflict zones in Sudan and brought to safe areas where rehabilitation and family-tracing programmes are now underway. Ranging in age from 8 to 18 years, the children were demobilized from military camps run by the rebel Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA). There are an estimated 9,000 child soldiers in various armed groups throughout Sudan.  

Over 250,000 children under 18 are fighting in both government armies and armed opposition groups. Some children are kidnapped or forced to serve; others join up hoping to find food and shelter, help their families, or improve their lives.

Because of their emotional and physical immaturity, children are easy to manipulate and can be drawn into violence that they are too young to resist or understand. Both boys and girls may be sent to the front line of combat or into minefields ahead of older troops. Some have been used for suicide missions or forced to commit atrocities against their own families and neighbors. Others serve as porters, cooks, guards, servants, messengers, or spies. Many child soldiers, mostly girls, are also sexually abused.

Children are killed and wounded at far higher rates than their adult comrades. Those who survive often suffer trauma, injury, abuse, and psychological scarring from the violence and brutality they experience. Some are rejected by their families and communities. Most lose the opportunity to acquire an education, job skills, or any hope for the future.

The use of children to fight adults' wars is not limited to a single country or continent, but has become a worldwide problem. The problem is most critical in Africa and Asia, though children are also used as soldiers by governments and armed groups in many countries in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. However, the problem is not limited to developing countries. Industrialised countries facing personnel shortfalls have lso increased efforts to attract young recruits.

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Download the book:
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The Teacher’s Guide to Marie: In the Shadow of the Lion contains suggestions for lesson plans on each chapter of the book. Each lesson plan includes comprehension questions, analysis/discussion questions, writing prompts and exercises for role-plays.

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