According to the head of UNICEF in Sudan Ted Chaiban, rebel groups, government-backed militia, and the Sudanese national army together employ 6,000 child soldiers. Some of the children have chosen to fight, while others have been forced to do so.

Chaiban believes that these children will become “dehumanized” as war “separates them from their emotions and from their normal growth in a way that is much more severe than an adult going through the same experience”.

Approximately 2.3 million children in Sudan have been affected by the Darfur conflict. 700,000 were born during the last five years, and thus, have lived their entire existence in a state of chaos, turmoil, and instability.

The US Congress recently passed a measure which would reduce military aid to countries whose governments employ child soldiers. Sudan has been named as one of several countries which would be impacted by such a restriction.

US Stands Against Child Soldier Use

darfurLast week, US Congress unanimously passed a law which reduces aid to countries with governments who use child soldiers.
The legislation could impact six countries currently receiving military aid from the US –Afghanistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Sri Lanka, and Sudan. In 2008 alone, these six countries received $3.5 million in US military training, $800,000 in US military financing, and $6 billion in US military sales.

Child rights advocate Jo Becker of Human Rights Watch had this to say –

US weapons should not end up in the hands of children nor should US taxpayer dollars finance the exploitation of children in armed conflict.

According to the 2008 Child Soldiers Global Report recently published by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, at year-end 2007, children were involved in 17 armed conflicts around the world.