Oslo, 22 November 2022 (TDI): Trine Heimerback, the Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, hosted a briefing in Colombia and Norway on children recruitment in the armed forces.

The theme of the event was “Managing Exits from Armed Conflicts”. Heimerback began by expressing gratitude to United Nations (UN) Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) for significant work as well as the donors who made this initiative possible.

In the event, it was said that child recruiting by military forces and organizations, along with child protection, is an important agenda item.

Each year, tens of thousands of kids are released from the armed forces and other organizations without any social protection. Without programmes for assistance and reintegration, young kids are left to deal with the difficulties and trauma of conflict.

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Moreover, they endure stigma as well. Families and communities may view or reject children who have been used or recruited by armed actors with distrust.

International Law

According to one statement, children who are enlisted and utilized in armed conflict should be recognized as victims of international law violations. All minors are included in this, as well as those who have broken the law as defined by the UN.

Authorities often revictimize children who have been victims of armed organizations after releasing them. They are detained, treated like criminals, and tried in military courts for taking part in terrorist operations.

In this regard, it was argued that detention should never be used as a last option. To guarantee that children may be reintegrated into their communities, their needs must come first when it comes to protection.

Social Reintegration

Additionally, it was stated that States Parties must take all necessary steps to aid in a child’s physical and mental healing as well as social reintegration if the child was a victim of war, torture, or any other cruel treatment or punishment.

For survivors, it’s crucial to have access to adequate healthcare, education, and emotional support. It is impossible to ignore the value of education in this regard, according to Heimerback.

Children are easy targets for abuse and recruitment by military forces and other organizations when they are not in school. Another critical step toward achieving this goal is putting into practice the Safe Schools Declaration.

“I am very glad to congratulate Colombia and my co-host, Ambassador Sonia Pereira, on Colombia’s endorsement last week,” Heimerback stressed. She stated that Norway will continue to assist in this crucial effort.

Additionally, Heimerback said that “during our time on the Security Council, Norway prioritized the protection of civilians, particularly children. This emphasis is shown in our Humanitarian Strategy as well.”

In the concluding remarks, Heimerback was expecting the project researchers’ suggestions for strengthening the reintegration support for children who have been recruited and used in armed situations throughout the world.