human rights issue

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Human Rights Issue:

Human Rights Issue By Pasquale Maltese

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Invisible Children Foundation Advertisement (2010 )

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CHILD SOLDIERS OF SIERRA LEONE Audio: “Solomon Vandy” James Newton Howard (2006)

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The use of child soldiers is an extreme violation of Human Rights in which children as young as nine years of age are separated from their families and are recruited into the armies of political groups or dictators to engage in armed conflict , be used as spies, lookouts and in some cases, as sexual slaves. These children are trained in combat, tortured and expected to battle the opposite force leading to many deaths, injuries and post-traumatic syndrome. They are also given hallucinate drugs such as marijuana to ease their trauma and lead them to vulnerability. The early exposure to violence and deadly weaponry has also lead to many once child soldiers becoming cold-blooded criminals who are unable to see the ethical implications and consequences of taking the life of another person.

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Blood Diamond (Film) 2006

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From the 1991 outbreak of the Civil War in Sierra Leone until the establishment of peace in 2002, over 10 000 children were said to have participated in armed conflict. The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the military of Sierra Leone were both guilty of recruiting children whether it be through the kidnapping of children from their families or the large amount of children who were seemingly forced to join the armies to avoid persecution and protect their relatives. There have been widespread reports that young women were also used in combat and to serve the members of the army in acts such as slavery and sexual services .

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The Hour (Talk Show) Interview with Ishmael Beah (2006)

Legal Responses:

Legal Responses Conventions on the Rights of the Child (1989) Article 32: States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. I n 1989, the members of the United Nations established CROC with the purpose of ensuring that that the human rights of children are protected and recognised . Article 32 was inserted in order to encourage countries to protect children from exploitation and hazardous activities including the use of children as child soldiers. 193 countries, including Sierra Leone, have ratified or have attempted to ratify, this International Law into their legal system. Audio: Eminem-Like Toy Soldiers (2005)

Effectiveness:

Effectiveness The United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child has initiated the international recognition of the human rights issue. Sierra Leone are signatories to the convention but due to state sovereignty , the law has not been completely ratified leading to an increased difficulty in enforcing and prosecuting under the legislation. The article (32) in which child soldiers is protected in rather broad and lacks specification. One most also note that the Convention was made effective in 1990, a year before the beginning of the civil war and use of child soldiers demonstrating the nation’s somewhat initial ignorance of the convention.

Optional Protocol to the CROC on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (2002):

Optional Protocol to the CROC on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (2002) Article 1 States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that members of their armed forces who have not attained the age of 18 years do not take a direct part in hostilities. Article 2 States Parties shall ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 18 years are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces. The Optional Protocol was the first option to the original Convention on the Rights of the Child and draws focus on the use of children in armed conflict . The protocol contained 128 signatories and lead to amended ratification of the original convention in regards to child soldiers.

Effectiveness An International Law leading to a Domestic Response:

Effectiveness An International Law leading to a Domestic Response Declaration: "With regard to article 3, paragraph 2, of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the participation of Children in Armed Conflict, the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone declares that: 1.  The minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the Armed Forces is 18 years; 2.   There is no compulsory, forced or coerced recruitment into the National Armed Forces; 3.    Recruitment is exclusively on a voluntary basis." This Declaration from the Government of Sierra Leone signifies a significant step in the ratification of the International Law and the appropriate response to the human rights issue. It allows authorities from Sierra Leone to prosecute violators of the human right through their own legal system and courts . ( Such as the “Prosecutor v. Alex Tamba Brima , Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu (2008) SCSL)” The response has been effective in influencing domestic action but the process of prosecuting and detaining offenders of the violation could become difficult for the scarce Sierra Leone authorities .

Legal Responses:

Legal Responses Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (2002) International Labour Organisation Convention 182 (1999) African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1990) The Rome Statue allowed for cases to be heard in the ICC for nations enlisting children under the age of 15 into armed forces. It also describes such violation as a crime against humanity. The ILOC and ACRWC focus on the welfare of workers and their responsibility to eliminate any forms of unjust labour , especially child soldiers. The ACRWC is an example of an intergovernmental organisation ensuring that the continent of Africa is aware of the Rights of the Child.

Effectiveness:

Effectiveness The Rome Statute remains increasingly difficult to enforce and its jurisdiction to prosecute individuals violating International Law endures complications due to the lack of an “International Police Force” to arrest and detain any Sierra Leonean offenders. The ILOC and ACRWC are also difficult to enforce domestically and their lack of recognition by the victims of the crimes in Sierra Leone, and the victims struggle for legal accessibility , reduces the effectiveness of these responses in solving the human rights issue.

Non-Legal Responses:

Non-Legal Responses The Coalition To Stop the Use of Child Soldiers Formed in 1998, The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers is a Non-Government Organisation that assists in ending the recruitment of child soldiers and assisting into their rehabilitation , including treatment for post-traumatic syndrome and their reintegration into society. A Global Report is released by the coalition every three to four years displaying research into the Human Rights issue and the steps taken to effectively respond to it. Child soldiers. Two simple words. But they describe a world of atrocities committed against children and sometimes by children. Committed in many different countries and often hidden from the public eye. We know how devastating these experiences are for children – thanks to the courage and determination of those who have spoken out and called on the international community to take action on their behalf . –Preface, Jaap E. Doek Global Report (2008) CSUCS Global Report (2008)

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Salvation Army Commercial (2009)

Amnesty International, Salvation Army and The Red Cross/Crescent:

Amnesty International, Salvation Army and The Red Cross/Crescent These NGO’s aim to create awareness of the Human Rights Issue and have been practical in their assistance in stopping Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone without government funding . They work on an i nternational scale and use advertising as a form of promotion.

Red Hand Day:

Red Hand Day On February 12 each year, Red Hand Day is internationally commemorated to raise awareness over the issue of Child Soldiers and plea to governments to also draw attention onto the issue. It is also a Non- Government initiative and people are encouraged to create red hands to commemorate the event. Red Hand Day (2002)

Effectiveness:

Effectiveness Non- Government organisations have been extremely effective in raising awareness over the human rights issue and garnering supporters internationally to support their cause. These organisations are also practically involved in Sierra Leone to assist those who have been victimised by the child soldiers issue through their extensive support systems . Due to them not having any religious or national bias , the organisations have easy accessibility into Sierra Leone. Red Hand Day itself has collected over 350 000 hands conveying the large international support that the event has raised.

The Media:

The Media The civil war in Sierra Leone sparked widespread media attention and the use of child soldiers was extensively publicised . Along with the numerous news reports on the issue, numerous films (Blood Diamond), commercials (Invisible Children), documentaries, books and talk shows (The Hour) have raised awareness of the issue. Effectiveness The media’s large public outreach has assisted in the issue being spread and has generated large public opinion on the Human Rights Issue.

Additional Sources:

Additional Sources Excerpts from Legal Documents and Statistics: treaties.un.org Case Law and additional information: Legal Studies HSC Third Edition Logos of institutions and cover of Global report media release were found on the respective websites Sources videos integrated from Y outube