Geneva & New York
Starting un 1979 QUNO worked to raise public awareness about the issue of child soldiers, its causes and consequences, and to develop international standards to prohibit the military recruitment and use in combat of all those under 18 years of age in government armed forces or other armed groups.
Our activities included working for:
the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict; and
- the prohibition of military use of children in the International Labour Organisation’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No. 182)
QUNO carried out the research on child soldiers for the UN Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children (the Machel Study). QUNO’s research was published as Rachel Brett & Margaret McCallin: Children the Invisible Soldiers (Stockholm, Rädda Barnen, 1996, 2nd ed. 1998). Following that, QUNO’s child soldiers work focussed more heavily on girl soldiers and on why children volunteer as soldiers (published as Rachel Brett & Irma Specht: Young Soldiers Why They Choose to Fight (ILO/Lynne Rienner, 2004)).
In 1998 QUNO helped to found the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and served on its Steering Committee for many years. More information about child soldiers and the work of the Coalition can be found at www.child-soldiers.org.