While over 5,000 children who were used in armed conflicts were released and reintegrated into the society in 2017, still there are tens of thousands who are being recruited, kidnapped, and forced to fight or work for military groups or armed forces at “alarming rates,” the United Nations says.
“Children can only be freed from armed groups and forces through a comprehensive reintegration process, including medical and psycho-social support, as well as educational programmes and training,” said Virginia Gamba, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.
There are over 20 countries where children are used in conflicts, and there were 994 incidents were verified by the United Nations in 2016. South Sudan that accounted for the highest number of such cases saw a doubling of the number of such instances from 2015.
“Without a strong political and financial commitment to the reintegration process, re-recruitment is unfortunately likely to happen in many conflict situations,” Gamba added on the occasion of International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers.