Child Soldier Relief


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.


Laws, treaties and other relevant documents relating to child soldier issues:

  • TOO YOUNG TO FIGHT: A review of the laws that protect child soldiers and children in armed conflict – A CSR SPECIAL REPORT 2009
  • U.S. Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (‘William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008’) – Signed into law in December 2008.  Using the Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights to determine countries in violation, this law places limits on certain types of military assistance in violation of the bill’s standards.  In October 2010 President Barak Obama signed a waiver to “hereby determine that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive the application to Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA.”
  • U.S. Child Soldiers Accountability Act of 2008A bill to prohibit the recruitment or use of child soldiers, to designate persons who recruit or use child soldiers as inadmissible aliens, to allow the deportation of persons who recruit or use child soldiers, and for other purposes.
  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child –  on the involvement of children in armed conflict, prohibits the use of children under age 18 in hostilities or their forced recruitment. Since it was adopted ten years ago, 131 governments-two-thirds of the world’s countries- have ratified it. 61 countries have still not ratified the optional protocol.
  • International Convention on the Rights of the ChildThe Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not.
  • The Paris Commitments – 2007 agreement with 84 signatories (nations) that “strongly reaffirm our collective concern at the plight of children affected by armed conflict, our recognition of the physical, developmental, emotional, mental, social and spiritual harm to children resulting from the violation of their rights during armed conflict, and our commitment to identifying and implementing lasting solutions to the problem of unlawful recruitment or use of children in armed conflict.”
  • International Labour Organization Convention 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour –  Convention 182 from the International Labour Organization is a legally binding convention which requires signatories and member states of the ILO to take immediate action to prohibit and eliminate the worst forms of child labour, including the forced recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. States are also required to report their efforts annually to the ILO. This convention set the minimum age of recruitment at 18 and was the first to bring the issue of child soldiers into labour law. The convention came into force in 1999 and quickly became the most rapidly ratified labour convention in history.
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights– The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration representing rights which belong to each person equally. It was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. While not explicitly acknowledging the issue of children in armed conflict, Article 25 of the UDHR recognizes the special assistance and care needs of children.
  • Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court– The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court, a permanent court designed to try persons charged with committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The treaty was adopted in 1998 and came into force in 2002. In defining war crimes the statute includes the conscripting or enlisting of children under the age of fifteen into armed conflict. Specifically, in its definition of war crimes the statute states “conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities” (Article 8(2)(b)(xxvi)); and in the case of an internal armed conflict, “conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities” (Article 8(2)(e)(vii)).
  • Cape Town Principles – Adopted by the participants in the Symposium on the Prevention of Recruitment of Children into the Armed Forces and Demobilization and Social Reintegration of Child Soldiers in Africa, organized by UNICEF in cooperation with the NGO Sub-group of the NGO Working Group on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Cape Town, 30 April 1997.
  • Anti child soldier action plan – Sri Lanka – Contains a zero tolerance policy, which includes provisions for the release and reintegration process for the children already involved.
  • The Child Act of Southern Sudan – The Act recognizes anyone under 18 as a child and requires the Government to ensure the rights established in the Convention on the Rights of the Child to children in Southern Sudan. Some of the highlights of the Act include that children cannot be recruited “by armed forces and groups” and forbids the use of torture or cruel treatment against children. The Act also requires that anyone “who suspects a child’s rights have been violated or are at risk must report the case to local authorities.”

One Response - Comments are closed.

  1. Kate says:

    This is a great Web site, thanks for all posting all of this useful information.

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