What We Do
The Coalition works to end the recruitment and use of boys and girls as soldiers, to secure their demobilization and to promote their reintegration into their communities. To achieve these goals we work in the following three areas:
Research and monitoring
The International Coalition is the leading international non-governmental organization monitoring the use of child soldiers worldwide.
We produce the Child Soldiers Global Report every three years, providing detailed country-by-country information on the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict by government forces, government-backed paramilitaries and armed political groups, as well as information on demobilization and reintegration programs where these exist. The next Global Report is due to be published in May 2008.
We regularly submit briefing papers and country information to the UN Security Council, usually in advance of the council''s annual debate on the involvement of children in armed conflict. We also submit country information three times a year to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which monitors governments'' progress in implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Documents and other briefing materials are also submitted to regional bodies such as the European Union and the Organization of American States when relevant.
We work in collaboration with our national coalitions to commission and carry out research on child soldier use in particular regions or countries. In 2004 we published separate reports on the use of children in armed conflict in Israel and the Palestinian Occupied Territories, and on the plight of girl soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2006 we published reports on child recruitment in South Asian conflicts, child soldiers in West Africa and an analysis of submissions to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. In 2007 we published reports and briefing papers on Priorities for child soldiers in the DRC, a report of an international forum on armed groups and the involvement of children on armed conflict, and the vulnerability of children to involvement in armed conflict in the Lebanon.
We have also researched and published general articles on the context, causes and consequences of child soldiering. Topics have included displacement, girl soldiers and sexual exploitation, and juvenile justice for child soldiers accused of human rights violations.
Advocacy and public education
The Coalition campaigns for the immediate demobilization of all children currently being used as soldiers in armed conflict and their reintegration into their communities. It lobbies governments and armed political groups known to be using child soldiers and makes recommendations to governments and inter-governmental bodies such as the UN for action to demobilize children and assist them to return to their communities.
We work to raise awareness of child soldiers among the general public through the dissemination of publications and via media campaigns.
The Coalition campaigns for all governments to adhere to international laws prohibiting the use of children under the age of 18 in armed conflict.
Networking and capacity-building
The International Coalition works in collaboration with regional and national Coalitions to develop research and campaigning expertise, especially in countries where there are children involved in armed conflict.
We promote the dissemination of information about child soldiering as well as reintegration and other programs to assist child soldiers.
The Coalition is involved in a range of projects and activities aimed at strengthening regional and national networks, facilitating the exchange of information and experience and stimulating debate. Some examples of current projects and activities are the Child Soldiers Newsletter and the psycho-social webpage.
The Coalition has been at the forefront of efforts to ban the recruitment and use of child soldiers. Its achievements include:
- Playing an instrumental role in the negotiation, adoption and entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (see Developments).
- Active engagement with influential inter-governmental agencies, such as the UN Security Council, the Human Security Network, the European Union, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the International Labour Organization.
- Publication of two Child Soldiers Global Reports, providing comprehensive country-by-country information on child recruitment and use worldwide, as well as numerous reports and briefings on the use of children in armed conflict by government forces and armed political groups.
- Publishing research on issues relevant to child soldiers including gender and sexual exploitation, displacement, juvenile justice and the reintegration of former child soldiers into their communities.
- Forming national coalitions in 35 countries worldwide and regional coalitions in Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Southeast Asia.