St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

Accord targets use of child soldiers

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published February 7, 2007


ADVERTISEMENT

PARIS - African, Asian and South American nations where child fighters have been used in war endorsed a new international agreement Tuesday that commits them to stopping the practice and punishing those who recruit youngsters as combatants.

Some nations hailed the text, which carries moral but no legal weight, as a breakthrough. But others said that it may be no more than empty promises and that more than words are needed to rehabilitate children mentally and physically scarred by war.

"We've lost a whole generation of children," said Liberia's deputy minister of education, Hawa Goll-Kotchi. "It's scary."

Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Sudan and Somalia - just some of the nations where children have been recruited as fighters - were among nearly 60 countries that approved the Paris Commitments, although it was not formally signed.

The U.S. government did not participate in the conference. The State Department said the administration objected to some of the wording of the documents but remained committed to its treaty obligations to prevent the use of children in combat.

At least 250,000 boys and girls are believed to still be fighting in about a dozen conflicts worldwide, according to the United Nations.

[Last modified February 7, 2007, 00:23:32]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT