Child soldiers are one of those embarrassing travesties of basic human rights that—along with slavery and forced labor—we in the developed world would like to take for granted as things of the past.
Unfortunately, just as slavery and forced labor are still thriving concerns, children are being abducted and inducted into combat forces around the globe, sometimes in the service of militias or armies that control resources or production of goods we consume here in the developed world.
MORE: The Congo’s Boys of War
The PSA “Jam” produced by the Canadian arm of British relief organization War Child is only a little more than a minute long. It makes no pretenses of being a comprehensive explanation of why child soldiers are armed and firing in so many conflict zones around the world.
When guns outnumber books and blackboards, the results are always lethal.
The factors that lead to boys of 11 or 12 being groomed into regimented killers are complex and intertwined—poverty, entrenched ethnic enmity and unfair resource exploitation to name a few—and will not be banished by any one solution.
However, every avenue of redress begins at the same spot: Education.
The more we in the first world learn about the causes and conditions of war children, and the more these children of conflict can gain access to education and opportunities, the better the chances for a world where no more boys are trained to kill adults. That is what War Child has set out to do.
Is it fair to ask people in the West to be responsible for crimes against humanity half the way across the globe? Reason that out in COMMENTS.
Related Stories on TakePart:
• Ex-Child Soldier Emmanuel Jal Raps for Peace as Sudan Braces for War
• Six African Nations to Halt the Use of Child Soldiers
• Toy Guns in War Zones
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice. Email Allan | @Allan_MacDonell