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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.

Children forced to plant bombs in Somalia

A new report, released recently from the United Nations, cited grave children rights violations – including child soldier recruitment – being committed by all fighting forces in Somalia, including the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), and Al-Shabaab (designated a terrorist organization by U.S. Dept of State in March). From UN.org

…the level of grave violations against children in Somalia has been increasing over the past year, particularly with regard to the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict… Mr. Ban called on the TFG and opposition groups to renounce the recruitment and use of children in their armed forces…

Quoted directly from the UN report:

The recruitment and use of children in armed forces and groups continues to be a critical concern and challange, exacerbated by broad cultural acceptance. 

The widespread use of children in almost all fighting forces in the country was noted, particularly in Mogadishu.

…children have been used to plant roadside bombs and other explosive devices, leading to a few deaths and several injuries among the children…  It has been reported that street children are being used for the planting of these devices, frequently without their knowledge.  It has also been reported that Al-Shabaab is training children as young as 8 years of age in special camps to plant bombs and carry out assassinations, offering a financial reward for those acts. 

The report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly urges Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government to stop all new recruitment of children and to demobilize unconditionally all children who participate in any capacity in its armed forces.

Here is a resolution from the European Parliment on the Routine Killings of Civilians in Somalia from June.  Note item E:

…whereas the UN Secretary-General has expressed concern at the increase in the recruitment of child soldiers, particularly in Mogadishu, and the widespread use of children in almost all fighting forces in Somalia.

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