A heart breaking report released today by Save the Children: “Forgotten Casualties of War”, brings to horrific relief a real cause to rally people of good character behind on Justice Sunday.
The plight of child soldiers, specifically girls, in war torn & impoverished countries around the globe is vastly under-reported & acknowledged and yet the victims number in the hundreds of thousands. It is an epic tragedy and one that should be at the forefront of any calls for “Justice, Family & Moral Values”.
In the violent, desperate world of child soldiers, they are the most vulnerable, subjected to the worst abuse and with little chance of returning to something resembling normal life.
They are far more out of the reach of the international agencies than boy soldiers under 18, and are wary of joining rehabilitation schemes because of fear that it will expose what had happened to them and lead to further shunning by their home communities.
Research has shown girls are used extensively in combat in a wide range of international conflicts, in some cases by groups who have had the support of Britain and the United States. Among countries involved are Colombia, Pakistan, Uganda, the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In the DRC, there are up to 12,500 girls in armed groups. In Sri Lanka, 43 per cent of the 51,000 children involved are girls.
Mike Aaronson, the director general of the organisation, said: “When people picture conflict they think of men in bloody combat, but it’s girls who are the horrifying and hidden face of war. Most girls who escape or leave an armed group do so on their own because formal programmes have not been designed with them in mind and can actually make matters worse.”
One of the main problems is that returning boy soldiers are much more likely to be accepted than the girls. The boys can even boast about what they have done as “warriors” while the girls are ostracised as “immoral”, “unclean” and “promiscuous” because they had been used sexually. There are also fears that fighters who took the girls away may return to reclaim them, and take revenge on the community.
Many rescued girls are driven from their villages and end up working as prostitutes in nearby towns. As well as sexual abuse and combat, female captives are often forced into arduous and dangerous tasks, surviving on less food and medical aid. Many suffer chronic illness and disability, and have to look after babies conceived after rape.
Girl soldiers: the forgotten victims of war – The Independent
A small thing some would say… war happens and we can’t be everywhere and be everything to all people. I understand this although it makes my heart ache. What I cannot fathom or forgive is the needless slaughter of even more people in Iraq & Afghanistan & the continued support and sanctioning of paramilitary governments around the world that may somehow “benefit” the national interests of 5 people in the USA.
Where are the prayers and condemnations for these poor children on “Justice Sunday”?
Don’t answer… rhetorical question.
Ps – The Guardian has a short piece as well and mentions the various “uses” the girl soldiers can expect:
Cross posted at Daily Kos