Magazine article The Christian Century

Agreement Reached to Ban Child Soldiers

Magazine article The Christian Century

Agreement Reached to Ban Child Soldiers

Article excerpt

International negotiators in Geneva, who have worked for six years on an agreement barring the use of child soldiers, have reached an agreement on a draft treaty after the U.S. dropped its opposition to establishing 18 as the minimum age for sending soldiers into combat.

"This treaty could really make a difference to hundreds of thousands of children around the world," said Jo Becker, children's rights advocacy director for Human Bights Watch. "For the first time, governments have agreed that the use of children in war is simply unacceptable."

An estimated 300,000 children under the age of 18, and some as young as nine or ten, are currently participating in armed conflicts around the world, according to the State Department and nongovernmental groups that monitor the issue. Conflicts where the use of child soldiers is considered especially egregious include Uganda, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Colombia, Angola and Liberia.

Becker said the U. …

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