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tv   Inside Story 2018 Ep 43  Al Jazeera  February 12, 2018 8:32pm-9:01pm +03

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terrorism measures including our joint commitment to the defeat of isis in egypt has been a very important member of the defeat isis coalition from the beginning they egypt deals with the threats of isis themselves that are dealing with it certainly currently in the sinai opposition activists in syria's eastern ghouta turning to social media to hide out the suffering of around three hundred fifty thousand people trapped in the besieged area hundreds have been killed in asked reich's and shelling by government forces and their allies in the past week alone the un is calling for a ceasefire so that aid can reach people in need investigators in russia trying to piece together a passenger plane crashed minutes after takeoff killing all seventy one people on board both black boxes have been found which could provide vital information to determine what happened a state of emergency has been declared in tonga as the pacific nation braces for tropical cyclone gator the storm is just off the coast of the most populous island
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winds of two hundred seventy five kilometers an hour it's expected to make impact as a category five storm inside stories up next i'll have news after you after that thanks for watching a bit. the number of child soldiers is expanding in many war zones according to the u.n. tens of thousands of children are involved in conflicts in over twenty countries around the world so what should be done to stop this practice this is inside story .
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hello and welcome to the program i'm. monday marks the international day against the use of child soldiers it's a problem that shows no sign of ending in fact many rights groups and the u.n. say it's getting worse there are tens of thousands of children around the world putting their lives at risk and the global effort to fight this doesn't have the money it needs in two thousand and fifteen less than one percent of the estimated one hundred seventy four billion dollars of international aid was spent on this issue. but it's not all doom and gloom there has been some progress at least five thousand child soldiers were released and integrated into society last year in places like democratic republic of congo one hundred sixty seven countries have now ratified the international treaty which bans the conscription of children under the age of eighteen the un has highlighted fourteen countries where the problem is still a concern it's figures from last year show more than three thousand children were
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recruited by armed groups in democratic republic of congo around forty percent are girls in northern nigeria unicef says boko haram used eighty three children as so-called human bombs in the first half of last year that's the practice of forcing children to become suicide bombers in two thousand and seventeen the number of child soldiers doubled in the middle east particularly in yemen with more than nearly two thousand children some as young as ten recruited to fight and in south sudan at least nineteen thousand child soldiers are involved in conflict the un has obtained the release of almost two thousand child soldiers so far in south sudan but the situation remains particularly alarming habit morgan has been talking to a few former child soldiers in the be you. these moves are not need to john he's been taught how to carry them out for the past two years since he was fifteen he didn't learn the drills willingly johns' one of at least seven hundred
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children forcibly recruited by the south sudan's national liberation movement this new thing we're. going to do. to do the place for those who want to go alone or if desc easy to want to move in date say if you want to fly on new do yet again very close. the civil war in south sudan now into its fifth year has killed thousands and displaced millions many vulnerable kids were recruited by armed groups to fight both boys and girls such as thirteen year old sarah. i was wounded in two angles to this people and only ones tend to be on the phone with the only form. on mr phone this is to me and it is put on to do that and said to. mr raymond. right groups they nearly all armed groups to critic children to fight the
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south sudan's national liberation movement has recently released more than three hundred children that they were not really forced but that their condition abandoned first today and now all of us are good at this stage so in fact we did not dent over the years that they may be a needed me to fight does well you see we have decided also as we are now in tones of that the best sort of we decided to release them so that they can go to school. communities. nearly two thousand children have been demobilized in the past five years but they are being replaced according to unicef the number of tell soldiers in armed groups and on forces has been on the rise since the war in december to fifteen that despite all were inside agreeing to stop recruiting tough soldiers and releasing those already enlisted but even for those who have been demobilized life is a challenge. many children who've been released have no idea where their families are
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for others fighting has become a way of life that the biggest challenge is reintegration it's a process that takes time to do three years for that child to go back home and resettle we still have more kids to be released so access big thing that we need more kids to be released all real concern is the reintegration of these children so that they don't get recruited again. john and sara say they don't want to return to the battlefield but they also feel what lies ahead after their past experiences and wonder if they may be forced to fight again he will mourn onto their own young south sudan. let's bring in our guests joining us on skype from sierra leone's capital freetown ishmael all for it charles a former child soldier who now works as a program manager at healy international relief foundation in london rachel taylor director of programs at the u.k. based in geo child soldiers international and from south sudan's capital juba
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brigadier general. spokesman for the south sudanese army welcome to you all charles we talk a lot in this program about the horrors of war but you experience it as a child first hand you were fourteen when you were force of become a child soldier in sierra leone could you tell our viewers about what happened to you. well it was in a village called ok you know what i mean i cannot distribute the. districts of stereo where we were in a bush when i was recording recouping in the regular school i always find this book that is going into the air that's the way to actually identify where people are actually residing and so the way they were to trace almost into the bush and then. in the bush and i rested all of us and took us to the township of mine in such a different kind of districts and so i was very aware and strict and. teaching us
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how it should go and also asks difficult to look carry beatitude i tips so it's it was a whole new process which does not mean i want to be convinced a summary because of our work we can give you but it's a long process of induction on and end up judicially until i actually bite into guy challenges and also understand plavix courses and how to maneuver it is and comes as where government forces all the. which is that everyone's a fighting force that was actually supported governments are doing science. instead indicated there are bus accidents so it was a whole process where. i do want to be part of them unfortunate so i was always looking for rooms of the chewed is so xscape but also have been condescend to the fact that if you're caught why do you try mixtape you are actually going to kill
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the media because they will see you as a spy rachael this is all very complicated subject matter i want to try to break this down a bit for the viewer could you tell us what are the primary causes of children being used by armed groups in times of conflict and war. i think the use of children by armed groups and even by state armed forces has a very long history and although the types of conflicts with seeing nowadays have developed somewhat over the previous century the reasons why children and young people become involved in these groups have remained fairly constant primarily it's due to lack of access to resources to education to security primarily to food to employment and in contexts where young people see no other provider of these kinds of things they often find that they have no other option except to join these groups so although there are a great many children who are compelled to a forced or ducted and join on groups that are that way it's really important to
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remember that for a lot of young people it's not that they have been forced in that manner that they've been kidnapped and forced to fight but that they have just simply have no other options and that's an area where we need to focus more resources as a preventive measure general kwang when we're talking about child soldiers south sudan of course is a flashpoint now last week there was a report issued by human rights watch that found that commanders from both government forces and rebel groups have been abducting detaining and forcing children some of them as young as thirteen into their ranks since the warring parties signed the agreement on the resolution of the conflict in south sudan in august two thousand and fifteen what is your response to those allegations. one is that we do not. to be recruited into our none five where it happens and then it comes to our notice we take a sweep action the only two cases i know of where he just didn't inform a unity state in twenty sixteen where it came to our tension that we had some shots
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old is on fire and when a committee was sent we were able to get to sixteen. and that number and the lease was submitted to unicef and another partners for demobilization and we since waited for the process to be to be completed however we also heard cases of shells so it is that group that by groups that were eventually integrated into and one particular good example is. the presence of shot of soldiers with a copper affection rebel group that was absolved. some years back we know that they heard about three hundred child soldiers the process of integrating them into the army the cover of action is in the process and we we have said that they. did that must be demobilized so it is not wide spread on the side of this barely we have
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heard limited cases and those cases appear against it with that of an authorities charles you now work with trying to help former child soldiers could you tell us about what kind of trauma they've experienced and what is the rehabilitation process like for them. well you know our citizens it's very difficult in a very difficult situation because. like you know as it is the former chancellor design actually have very limited coping mechanisms hence because during the conflict in days what they what we've been in to endure to its own standards used to sometimes doesn't square it you can just use a gun and whatever you have so i actually gets what you want irrespective of who actually awards that sprott all the food and so that's actually a very sad situation because it insists in a real times in the times like now it doesn't happen that way because it's no more
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in a tone justice as we used to call it it's now a real justice situation is now on a democratic and it democratize that where peace prevails and you have to respect all the people so part of the programs that we do is to enable young people for which i was so just of the arrow to have to continue to go back to school and become self-reliant and to trade in program to train for us to train in progress of the devil and also do a lot of psycho social support which is the biggest of what we do because we're find out that many of our colleagues young people have been dishonest but then my system not to stop even do we need to speak date attention to nation and them on how to reach the ones who do things still very low way to very strong in parts of psycho social issues that's actually that is leaving we've done the regular basis so of our program as
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a cause for sas mythology where we used those who were child soldiers and who were not and it's where we came to them to see exactly. what it challenges out and also but we also followed through the parents and those who have actually gone photo and marry and have kids we're also starting to skids and see how they're transpiring alexandra's from one generation to our all and that's why the project is called inside generation of the impact of the wall. charles thanks for joining us today we really appreciate your time rachael the u.n. and other aid groups have said that progress is being made in the efforts to stamp out child soldiers the use of children in conflicts but it's not happening fast enough could you tell us who are the worst offenders around the world and how is the effort to end child soldiers going. child soldiers are used in conflicts around the world they always have been there isn't really a specific region where you would say it's worse than another it's
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a similar case where the conflicts are happening so at the moment we see a huge amount of conflict in the middle east so there are many child soldiers there are many chancellors across africa in conflicts happening there in the past there were more in south america in colombia for example before the end of the conflict so it's not something where there's really there isn't a culture where this is something that happens particularly there isn't a particular conflict it's just where the violence is where children are they will inevitably be drawn in to some extent or another so we've seen a lot of progress in the sense of standards setting. through states ratifying the optional protocol against the use of child soldiers. through other developments have come to say school speculation to protect children in conflict the parents principals vancouver principals so there's a lot of the parent will political will at that level to address this issue but what we're seeing is a failure for that to implement on the ground. and put simply if you are in
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a conflict situation where communities structures where governmental structures are so damaged and or and so incapable of functioning properly it's very very difficult to prevent young people from being drawn into that and we talk about it as if children were recruited as a set moment and that they were demobilized that they're released and it's these are finite things which happen on a done but that's not the way it works in reality there's a long process of being drawn in there can be a long process of coming out again that can be a lot of going back and forth you have to look at the situations that children are being reintegrated into if you're in a conflict situation where there is no education no employment no safety for your family no access to food you can't really talk about children being reintegrated into society because there isn't a functioning society to go back to. and that's why we continue to see the problem persisting as much as it has despite the efforts that have been made to stop it
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because the conflicts themselves are continuing and often they are increasingly involving an element of total community involvement we don't have conflicts the way we did one hundred years ago where there would be very distinct separate military forces battling it out on a battlefield today what we see is something which is much more pervasive that affects entire countries communities areas so trying to draw children out is very very difficult let's now bring in another former child soldier ishmael baer joins us from a buddha israel was a child soldier in sierra leone now ishmael tell us about the kind of advocacy you're involved in to help the thousands of children still trapped in wars how do you go about raising awareness. well what i try to do and what i did my first book that i wrote was to try and put a human face to the story because often i think when people speak about children in armed conflict particularly in areas where this is not an issue it seems so far
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removed from the realities of people's lives so what i wanted to write about was to put first or put a human face assured that this is happening to the most vulnerable members of human society in addition and that these young people can come back again they have the resilient but it the right care with the right support of course with a range of ration program that is solid that actually looks at the holistic aspects of how to return somebody back into normalcy and give them an opportunity that people can come back to one of those examples and so odd is around the world general cohen critics have charged that most of the militias that have been integrated into the south sudanese army have child soldiers in their ranks so what do you do to ensure that those child soldiers don't continue as members once they've been integrated into the south sudanese army so we make sure that. integrated into. all of the. files are against that our child
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protection department it's not a fight ones that i guess that we ought to inform. and that's why we're able to the mobilize over three hundred former child soldiers in. after the group that was keeping them in there on trial was integrated into this palace and this has been our policy whenever a rebel group is integrated into we make sure that it is do not find their ways into this parallel uncertain file and we have done we have been doing it consistently to ensure that that problem does not to spill over to the national army there's barely we are presenting rachel another aspect to all this is that the exploitation of girls is also becoming disturbingly common. by armed groups could you tell us more about that specifically so the use of go so inches by armed forces by armed groups is also something which has unfortunately very long history it's only relatively recently that the international community has begun to recognise to
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what extent goals are involved in conflict the stereotypical image of a child soldier is a boy but in fact girls in some areas are around the halls of the children involved all research in the r.c. has shown that around forty percent of the children involved in armed groups that are a go understand that the use of child human bombs that you mentioned earlier by boko haram sixty six percent of those were girls so girls are very much a part of these groups they perform a range of functions many people are aware of the abduction of girls or the compulsion of goes for use as sex slaves or as so-called brides but their roles extend far beyond that they can be involved in fighting in. providing. support whether that's carrying goods and weapons or as charles mentioned earlier looting they cover
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a very wide range of roles as well just like boys do then when it comes to reintegration girls have very specific problems partly because they have been overlooked for so long so for example our research in the o.c. showed that despite the fact that around forty percent of children in armed groups were goals only seven percent of those who'd been demobilized by the un had to go so there was a very large percentage of girls who were going missing somewhere in the process. and there's also often a case with reintegration that there's too much focus on short term practical measures like training for a particular career whether that's a seamstress or headdress or whatever else and our research found that this was not meeting the goals needs and no. i was listening to what it was they were saying that they needed in order to reintegrate successfully and what that came down to in the great majority of cases was going on saying simply we need to feel accepted at home we need the community to welcome us back in. we're ostracized we're seen as
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tainted were seen as having lost our social value as a result of having been involved with these armed groups particularly goals who came back with babies or who were pregnant when they return so we've been implementing programs there to focus much more on the social the personal the cultural aspect of reintegration so that children can go back to a community and be welcomed as the person as individual that they are then so it's communities and regions already under girls with education and employment sorry to interrupt but i just want to pick up on something you said and ask ishmael because we're talking about programs to help really severe amounts of trauma and i want to ask ishmael about the kind of trauma that is faced by child soldiers especially as they're trying to reintegrate into society and what specifically can be done to help them through this. well i think there are different things that have been done on the psychological aspects in terms of programs in therapy and all of these things i believe that over the years people have learned how to do it well well i
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believe based on my experience and also on the work that i do with that would unicef and going to some of these environments what are seen that needs a lot of walk it still opportunities that are created for young people after war. there hasn't been very much really there are market research to really think about how do we give people realize that change is their lives so that they're able to be economically dependent on their own skill sets to be able to do something with their lives often when distinction walk what happens is that the young person and of going back into the conflict because they feel that they're not useful to themselves or to their community and in additionally to communities and not involved in some of how this is done and some have to think about what it is that we can do for a child after well for example in my case when i came out of war if i hadn't had the opportunity to really go to school and discover that i had an intelligence that i can use for something or other than the values of that come to know i probably
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would have embraced the violence again as as an alternative and so that's really where i believe the key issue lies the long term think in a real thinking about what do we do for young people when they come out of a what not just to tell them to be a mechanic be a plumber if they want to do that and if there's actually an economic opportunity for that yes but less than just give them a skill set that bill it was the intelligence as well you know and i think this is where the issue lies it's briefly i want to ask you about numbers specifically a recent report said that international aid provided by governments and international bodies topped one hundred seventy four billion dollars in two thousand and fifteen but less than one percent of that was spent on projects fully or partially partially designed to end violence against children why do you think that is. well i'm not sure what the reason of their notion of the funds that dispersed in germs of where. put to a certain programs but again what i was saying earlier is that i don't think
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there's a long term thinking in addition to the i don't think in the reality that seven reintegration is not a preventive measure been prescribed to reduce programs to make sure that communities in the environment where these young people are do not continue to have violence so in that itself young people are going to try to come back you know i think people are interested but i think oftentimes the way people are focusing on the issue it's not correct for example i live in nigeria now where people talk about a book or on one of the terms of people throw around is derided. i think is often quite wrong i don't think you can people who find themselves in conflict in prison or radicalize just by the nature of being there you know i think it's a wrong approach to think about it even in that way you know i think cycle psychological trauma from boys not radicalisation often people go to war because this situation is already were solved before they get compromised by that by woodward you know so yeah ok we'll have to end it there thanks to all our guests
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rachel taylor and brigadier general. and thank you too for watching you can see the program any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter our handle is at a.j. inside story from a mama drama in the entire team here bye for now. the way we communicate is what defines us as it always has been. as
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