inside story
Are we failing child soldiers?
The case of Omar Khadr has revived the debate over the treatment of child soldiers.
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2010 13:58 GMT

The case of Omar Khadr, a Canadian national being tried at Guantanamo Bay, has brought renewed attention to the plight of child soldiers around the world.

Khadr was just 15 years old when he was captured by the US army for allegedly throwing a grenade at a US soldier. That would have made him a child soldier and international law requires that child soldiers be treated as victims of an environment beyond their control rather than as adults making a choice to participate in a war.

At the same time, a month-long Human Rights Watch (HRW) research mission has revealed the extent of child abductions committed by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda.

Of the 45 children interviewed by HRW, most had been forced to kill other children. Some as young as 10 were abducted in Congo, Central African Republic and southern Sudan, and armed.

These children often go on to become the most brutal and aggressive soldiers.
On this episode of Inside Story, we ask: Is the international community failing to protect the rights of these children?

To discuss this, presenter Nick Clark is joined by: Carolyn Hamilton, the director of the Children's Legal Centre; Wayne Bleier, the programmes director of War Child; and Christine McCormac, an advisor for Child Protection in Fragile States.

This episode of Inside Story aired on Thursday, August 12, 2010.

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