Policy

child_soldier_congoChild Soldier Global Report 2008

 Optional Protocol

ratified 11 November 2001

Other treaties ratified

CRC (Convention on the Rights of the Child. Also, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child),

GC AP I and II (Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977),

ICC (International Criminal Court ), ILO 138 (C138 Minimum Age Convention, 1973),

ILO 182 (C182 Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999)

A comprehensive Child Protection Code was awaiting approval by parliament in October 2007. The code prohibited the forced recruitment of children or their use in armed conflict (Article 50a), as well as the enlistment or use of children in the national armed forces, the police and armed groups (Article 73). Prison terms of between ten and 20 years were specified for these offences (Article 193). The code criminalized rape, (Article 175) and sexual slavery (Article 189), with prison terms of 7–25 and 10–25 years respectively. A wide range of other acts of sexual violence and exploitation were criminalized by the code.16

http://www.childsoldiersglobalreport.org/content/congo-democratic-republic

 National

National recruitment legislation and practice

The February 2006 constitution defined a child as any person below the age of 18. All forms of exploitation of children were punishable by the law (Article 41), and public authorities were under obligation to protect young people from threats to their health, education and development (Article 42). The organization of military or paramilitary formations, private militias or youth armies was prohibited (Article 190). [1]

A comprehensive Child Protection Code was awaiting approval by parliament in October 2007. The code prohibited the forced recruitment of children or their use in armed conflict (Article 50a), as well as the enlistment or use of children in the national armed forces, the police and armed groups (Article 73). Prison terms of between ten and 20 years were specified for these offences (Article 193). The code criminalized rape, (Article 175) and sexual slavery (Article 189), with prison terms of 7–25 and 10–25 years respectively. A wide range of other acts of sexual violence and exploitation were criminalized by the code. [2]

Regional

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child: The Charter is the only regional treaty, which addresses the issue of child soldiers. It was adopted by the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) and came into force in November 1999.[3]

It defines a child as anyone below 18 years of age without exception. It also states that: “States Parties to the present Charter shall take all necessary measures to ensure that no child shall take a direct part in hostilities and refrain in particular, from recruiting any child” (Article 22.2).

A national body, the Commission Nationale de Désarmement, Démobilisation et Réinsertion (CONADER), was established in December 2003 to oversee a DDR program for an estimated 150,000 adult fighters and 30,000 children. An operational framework for children’s DDR was adopted by CONADER in March 2004. By December 2006 CONADER stated that 30,000 children had been released from armed forces and groups.52 Four thousand children were released between October 2006 and August 2007, mainly from “mixed” brigades and armed groups.[4]

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), also known as the Lord’s Resistance Movement, is a militant group/cult operating in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic.


[2] RDC, Ministère de la Condition Féminine, Projet de Code de Protection de l’Enfant, version definitive à traiter au Conseil des Ministres, October 2007.

[4] Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN Doc. S/2007/391, 28 June 2007.

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