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International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers (12th February)

Published Wednesday February 12 2014

On 12th February 2002, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict entered into force. Since then, the 12th of February is observed as International Day against the use of Child Soldiers. With this observance, the attention of the international community is called to the fact that throughout the world, around 300,000 children are still used as soldiers in conflicts – against their will and without any possible benefit to them. They are torn from their families and schools and forced to become involuntary participants in war with all its atrocities; some die, many are wounded or maimed, all are scarred for life by this traumatic experience.

On the occasion of the international day against the use of child soldiers, Luxembourg wishes to recall its long-term commitment to the protection of children in armed conflicts, through its development cooperation and its support to NGOs working to help children victimised by war.

This commitment is also among the priorities of Luxembourg in the Security Council. Indeed, since 1st January 2013, Luxembourg is chairing the United Nations Security Council’s Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. This subsidiary organ of the Security Council is playing an important role in the Council’s monitoring of the protection of children in specific situations.

Luxembourg has ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict in 2004 and is working to support universal ratification of this important legal instrument, which prohibits direct participation of children in hostilities. Luxembourg has also been among the first signatories of the Paris Principles and Commitments, adopted in 2007 at the Ministerial Conference entitled “Free Children from War”, which are endorsed by 105 States today.

The commitment of the international community and civil society has allowed for significant progress in terms of protecting children over the last decade. But as long as the phenomenon of the use of child soldiers has not been completely eradicated, it necessary to remain up in arms over it. Children do not belong on the battlefield.

SRSG-CAAC & UNICEF Fact Sheet: Recruitment and Use of Children

Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

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