On the earthen floor, to the sound of a single-string percussion instrument called a Berimbau
, Congolese children stand in a circle practicing rhythmic movements with their arms and feet and chanting.
At least 18,802 people were killed in Iraq and another 36,245 were injured; this is the number of civilians killed in violence over the past two years and it is staggering.
Whether in Palestine, Ukraine or Somalia, wars result in millions of children threatened by the brutality of armed conflict.
24 hours after the shocking kidnap of more than 400 women and children in Nigeria by Boko Haram, the United Nations Security Council discussed the safety of children as victims of non-state armed groups.
Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi has called for globalised human compassion to combat the global and persistent problems of child labour and child slavery.
One year ago, representatives of the last eight governments of the world named by the U.N. secretary-general for the recruitment and use of children in their security forces gathered at the United Nations in New York to declare they were ready to take the steps necessary to make their security forces child-free.
In 2003, Moses Otiti, a 15-year-old from Uganda, was walking in a group with his father when members of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) ambushed them.
Over 2,000 children are still being used as soldiers by 27 armed groups in North Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo despite efforts by the United Nations Children’s Fund to remove them from the frontlines and return them to their homes.
One of Amina Diallo’s sons, 14-year-old Salif, has been missing since August last year. She thinks Islamists kidnapped him while he was on his way to the market in their hometown of Gao, in northern Mali, and recruited him as a child soldier.
Plenty of monikers have been attached to Omar Khadr, one of the most famous Guantanamo Bay detainees - child soldier, terrorist, war criminal, Al-Qaeda family member, security threat.
The protection of children remains critical in the Central African Republic, where parents willingly give their children to armed groups in exchange for protection and services.
"When I was still at school I was abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army, along with 139 other girls," says Grace Akallo. "I spent seven months in captivity, but I survived, I escaped and I went back home."