Report on the recruitment of children by non-State armed groups, including mercenaries and PMSCs
Working Group on the use of mercenaries
To the 39th session of the Human Rights Council
Twice a year, the Working Group on the use of mercenaries issues calls for inputs to inform thematic studies to be presented at the Human Rights Council in its September session and at the General Assembly in October.
In order to prepare this report, on 30 November 2017, the Working Group on the use of mercenaries held a private expert consultation in Geneva to collect and discuss information.
This report focuses on the recruitment of children by non-State armed groups, including mercenaries and private military and security companies (PMSCs). In addressing this issue, the Working Group refers to the international legal framework and non-binding initiatives on the use of children in armed conflicts and presents some of its findings from past country visits. It also addresses issues, including recruitment practices and motivational factors, that result in children being associated with non-State armed groups.
The report sets out the relevant international legal framework and complementary non-binding initiatives. It explores the associated motivational factors that result in children being associated with non-State armed groups. The report provides an analysis of the human rights impact of this phenomenon, including from a gender perspective. It also discusses issues related to the alleged recruitment of former child soldiers by private military and security companies.
The report highlights the human rights impact of this phenomenon and provides recommendations addressed to States, private military and security companies, non-State armed groups, the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers’ Association and the Montreux Document Forum.
For instance, the Working Group urges States to criminalize in national legislation the recruitment and use of children under the age of 18 years in armed conflict. It stresses the importance of investigating, prosecuting and sanctioning those responsible for such crimes at the national level, and providing a remedy to victims of violations committed by all persons and entities within its jurisdiction.
The Working Group also urges all States that have jurisdiction over PMSCs that recruit children to put an end to their cooperation with such companies and to prosecute those responsible for such recruitment. Additionally, it recommends that States end any cooperation with or support for any non-State armed groups that recruit and use children in armed conflict