Inside Story

What is behind the rising number of child soldiers?

According to the UN, tens of thousands of children are involved in conflicts in over 20 countries.

Monday marked the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers.

It is a problem that shows no sign of ending, in fact, many rights groups and the UN say it is getting worse. There are tens of thousands of children around the world putting their lives at risk.

And the global effort to fight this scourge does not have the money it needs.

In 2015, less than one percent of the estimated $174bn of international aid was spent on this issue.

But it is not all gloom and doom; there has been some progress. At least 5,000 child soldiers were released and integrated into society last year in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

And 167 countries have now ratified the international treaty which bans the conscription of children under the age of 18.

But the UN has highlighted 14 countries where the problem is still a concern including Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan and Iraq.

So, what should be done to stop the recruitment of children into conflict?

Presenter: Mohamed Jamjoom.


Ishmael Alfred Charles – former child soldier who now works as a programme manager at Healey International Relief Foundation

Rachel Taylor – Director of Programmes, Child Soldiers International, a UK-based non-governmental organisation

Brigadier-General Lul Ruai Koang – Spokesperson, South Sudanese army

Ishmael Beah – former child soldier in Sierra Leone