Reference : V-P-CD-E-01733
Date : 10/2012
Caption : North Kivu, transit and orientation center for former child soldiers. Despite efforts to protect them, children, often boys and girls in their teens, are often recruited into armed forces or groups.
Photographer : YBARRA ZAVALA, Alvaro
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : Getty Images/CICR
Description :
While some are recruited by force, many others also join voluntarily, to escape the poverty, labour, and insecurity that make up their daily lives, only to realise life in the bush is worse. The roles they take on within an armed group or force may vary, from cooks, porters, scouts, to being forced to fight. The toughness of the terrain, the heavy loads they have to carry, the separation from their families, and the violence that marks this existence, all leave a strong imprint on the children's minds and lives. These photos of Didier and Pric, two young teenagers formerly associated with armed forces or groups, as well as of boys in a transit and orientation centre for demobilised children, illustrate the difficulties they face during these journeys. Through its confidential dialogue, the ICRC reminds all sides that recruiting children is contrary to Congolese and international law. This remains forbidden even when a child voluntarily decides to join the armed forces or an armed group. In the Kivus, aside from tracing and reuniting children who were formerly associated with an armed force or group with their families, the ICRC has launched a holistic programme to prevent the recruitment (or the re-recruitment) of children. This pragmatic and still relatively localised programme to protect children is implemented in close cooperation with communities and with the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It includes three main areas: awareness-raising and the preparation of children for their return to their communities, individual follow up, and community-based activities.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 6144x4096
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour