Inside the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo: ending the use of child soldiers
10 December 2016
In Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, numerous children under 18 are recruited by armed groups. Geneva Call is negotiating with 4 of them to put an end to this practice. In July 2016, Geneva Call’s delegation conducted a field visit to discuss this issue with the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS), a group active in the region of Masisi.
The area where the armed group is located is difficult to access and few humanitarian organizations are active there.
Thanks to Geneva Call commitment, the group has already amended its code of conduct to include a ban on the recruitment of children.
The purpose of this visit is to clarify the limits of this ban and to discuss its application on a day-to-day basis. Indeed, the leaders inform us that children come voluntarily to join them, which is confirmed to us by other organizations.
We hope that one day our work will no longer be necessary and that taking up the arms will no longer be an option for a child.
In the meanwhile, Geneva Call continues its work with 3 other armed groups in the region to protect children from the effects of war.