Use of Child Soldiers in Warfare

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2002 National Black Members' Conference
23 May 2002
Carried as Amended

Conference notes with grave concern that 300,000 children, boys and girls, are fighting as soldiers with government armed forces and armed opposition groups in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Conference further notes that children are particularly at risk in Africa, parts of the Far East, Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean. The use of children as soldiers must be made completely unacceptable in any circumstances.

Conference belives that governments in developed countries must be persuaded to take action not only to protect children in their countries but to protect children worldwide and therefore urges the National Black Members’ Committee via the National Executive Council, National Affiliated Political Fund and International Committee to work with all the self-organisation committees to lobby our UNISON Link MPs to:

1)Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and to persuade all other European Union countries to do the same;

2)Produce an article in Black Action addressing this issue and to report back at the next Black Members’ Conference 2003;

3)Seek feedback from the International Committee on the membership of the Ethical Trading Initiative Working Group on child labour, where this issue is being dealt with. It is also vital for regular updating from this working group in relation to the children soldiers.