Child soldiers: MEPs and experts discuss how to end the problem 

A child soldier posing with his machine gun in the Democratic Republic of Congo. ©BELGAIMAGE_AFP_A_SENNA_22598529  

The international community has been fighting the recruitment of children in armed conflicts for more than twenty years. Thousands of boys and girls have been freed so far, but the problem persists in seven countries: Afghanistan, DR Congo, Myanmar, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. The EP's human rights and foreign affairs committees will today discuss with experts how to protect children in conflict zones and earn more about the UN initiative to end their recruitment by 2016.

The hearing titled “Children, Not soldiers – How to better protect children in armed conflicts” has been organised by the human rights subcommittee and the foreign affairs committee. It is one of the activities to mark  the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. The hearing will be attended by international experts from the EU, UN, NGOs as well as representatives of diplomatic missions.

The UN launched the Children Not Soldiers initiative in March 2014 with the aim of ending the recruitment of child soldiers globally by 2016. This has been fully endorsed by the European Parliament.

To join the discussion online, use the #ChildrenNotSoldiers hashtag.