Child Soldier Relief

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The mission of Child Soldier Relief Foundation (CSR), a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization designated by the Internal Revenue Code, is to advocate on behalf of child soldiers by serving as a central repository of information on all topics relating to the topic of child soldiers.

Kenyan children forced to fight as child soldiers in the past year

Kenya is the most recent nation in which child soldiers have been forced to fight – as recently as this past year.  According to this article, in March of this year, the Kenyan army – told to go after the Sabaot Land Defense Force militia instead staged a crackdown – captured (and tortured, according to Human Rights Watch) scores of children and men who had either volunteered or been forced to fight with village militias.  From the article:

These children are among hundreds in western Kenya who have been terrorized, many twice over, first by a militia in their villages and then by the army sent to fight it. The militia forced children as young as 10 to become soldiers. In a widespread crackdown, the army then rounded up the children and thousands of adults and tortured them, human rights groups say.

In March, the Kenyan government sent its army to crack down on the Sabaot Land Defense Force militia, which is named after the Sabaot region. But instead of hunting down militia fighters where they hide in the forests of Mount Elgon, the army swept up thousands of men and boys from the surrounding villages. 

A quick background on the situation in Kenya from the same article:

The militia in Mount Elgon formed because of land conflicts, the same issue that fueled violence in Kenya after disputed elections in December. Squatters who had farmed the same fields since they were children were evicted in a government land scheme, and the rich grabbed plots set aside for the landless.  Some families encouraged children to join in the hope of securing land in the 370-square-mile [sic] district. Others were given a stark choice: pay the militia up to 50,000 Kenyan shillings [sic] — far beyond the reach of most — donate their son, or die.

And according to Human Rights Watch, one of the organizations following this issue:

If the children are released, some can trace their families. Others have no parents left after murders by either the militia or the military.

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Filed under: child soldier, Human Rights, Kenya, , , , , , ,

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