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The number of conflicts in which children are directly involved dropped from 27 in 2004 to 17 at the end of 2007, according to research by the UK-based Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. But this decline is due more to the conflicts ending than to steps taken by governments to remove children from combat situations. Tens of thousands of children are still believed to be active participants in wars. The organization's 2008 report on child soldiers shows that, though governments are working to end the practice, they are not doing enough to support children transitioning back to normal lives. Moreover, nongovernmental combatants continue to recruit or kidnap children to meet their military needs.
W o r l d T r e n d s & F o r e c a s t s Government diers — child veterans — access to scholarship and rehabilitation pro- grams, including psychological and psychiatric treatment, reports Philip- pine broadcaster GMA News. This strategy would benefit not Stopping the Use of Child Soldiers just the children, but society at large, Slow progress is being made in ending the use of children in combat. according to the bill’s author, Rep. Nerissa Corazon Soon-Ruiz. Child T soldiers’ “involvement in acts of he number of conflicts in which tect children would receive funding extreme violence and exposure to children are directly involved t o h e l p p ro f e s s i o n a l i z e t h e i r horrific situations may desensitize dropped from 27 in 2004 to 17 militaries. them and make them more likely to at the end of 2007, according to At least one nonstate military commit violent acts and separate research by the U.K.-based Coalition group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front themselves from society,” she says. to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. But (MILF) in the Philippines, has — Cynthia G. Wagner this decline is due more to the con- pledged to end the recruitment of flicts ending than to steps taken by child soldiers, who reportedly com- Sources: Coalition to Stop the Use of Child governments to remove children prise 13% of its 12,000-member Soldiers, 9 Marshalsea Road, London SE1 from combat situations. Tens of thou- forces. Doing so could gain the rebel 1EP, U.K. Web site www.child-soldier.org. Human Rights Watch, 350 Fifth Avenue, sa
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