Save the Children UK called on world leaders to better protect the large numbers of
vulnerable and innocent girls whose lives are destroyed every year by conflict.
Launching a new report 'Forgotten Casualties of War: Girls in Armed Conflict' the
charity uncovered a shocking life on the front-line for over 120,000 girls who were
discovered to be working for armed groups around the world.
The report identified a 'hidden army' or 'generation' of girls, some as young as
eight, who are abducted against their will to live life in the army. The roles of
the girls vary from being actual soldiers through to serving as porters, cleaners
and cooks. Almost all are forced to serve as sex slaves or 'wives'.
The findings highlight a worrying global trend and are not unique to one country or
continent. In Uganda, there are an estimated 6,500 girl soldiers captured in the
rebel Lord Resistance Army (33 per cent of the total army). In the Democratic
Republic of Congo, there are thought to be 12,000 girls still associated with armed
forces. In Tsunami torn Sri Lanka, 21,500 girls are considered to be associated with
armed conflict (43 per cent of all the children fighting).
The report chastises world donors and leaders for failing to identify and support
the girls in these deplorable conditions and assist them to reintegrate back into
their communities. Formal rehabilitation programmes set up by the international
community are drastically under-funded and inappropriate to girls' needs.
Sadly girls are frequently made to return home unsupported. Their homecoming is
often as depressing as their departure, where they were ostracised by their family
and community because of their 'immoral' experiences. So they are trapped in a cycle
of recrimination - from the armed group if they leave and from the community if they
return home.[Source: CRIN]
For more information, contact:
Save the Children UK
1 St. John's Lane, London EC1M 4AR, UK
Tel: + 44 20 7012 6400; Fax: + 44 20 7012 6963
Posted on 2005-07-27