Report on the recruitment and use of children in armed groups in the DRC (2014-2017)
The report, “Our Strength Is In Our Youth: Child Recruitment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 2014-2017”, is the product of staff of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), most particularly the Child Protection Section. The findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed in this work do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its Secretary-General.
Considered an international peace and security issue by the UN Security Council since 1999, child recruitment is inextricably linked to the conflict dynamics in the DRC.
It is a conflict multiplier, adding to armed groups’ strength in numbers, and perpetuating violence by inculcating young recruits with narratives of collective loss, victimhood, injustice, toxic masculinity, and ethnic land claims, training the next generation to fight rather than study, build a business or raise a family.
This report addresses both the personal and the political by blending testimonies of children formerly associated with armed groups with data analysis to inform results-based, and strategies to target top perpetrators of child recruitment and use.
This report is designed to walk the reader through a child’s experience in an armed group.
Its part I highlights children’s agency and ingenuity, and compares trends among armed groups’ diverse modi operandi in three chronological sections: 1. Before, 2. During, and 3. After Recruitment.
Part II includes detailed profiles of the top seven armed groups responsible for recruiting the most children from 2014 to 2017.
Taken together, its findings aim to arm UN, Government of the DRC and other actors with the information necessary to tailor interventions to help end child recruitment in the DRC, one armed group after another.
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