Appendix C: Topics on Child Soldiers for Incorporation in Training and Education

The chart below is not intended to be an exhaustive list of subjects on child soldiers. Member States are encouraged not only to draw upon the topics listed for incorporation into training and education, but also to expand on this list and include additional topics wherever possible.

In addition, Member States should endeavour to use varied and practical teaching approaches during training and education. This should include both classroom learning activities, as well as scenario-based exercises, activities, and resources, to prepare for tactical encounters with child soldiers. Whenever possible, the latest techniques for active learning should be pursued, with an emphasis placed on practice over theory. Throughout relevant training and education activities, the focus should be on skills development to practically prepare peacekeepers for engaging with children affected by armed conflict.

Moreover, while general knowledge of child protection should be integrated across professional education curricula, certain positions – namely Child Protection Advisors (CPAs), Child Protection Focal Points (CPFPs), and senior mission leadership – require specialised training and education on child protection and child soldiers. Child protection training should be provided to both men and women peacekeepers.

Topics listed below are applicable to military, police, and civilian peacekeepers.

Sample topics

  • About child soldiers
    • The six grave violations against children during armed conflict.
    • Definition of a child soldier, and/or children recruited and used by armed forces or armed groups.
    • The different roles and functions of child soldiers (e.g. fighters, cooks, porters, messengers, spies, for sexual purposes, etc.).
    • Gender-related aspects of violations against children, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
    • Factors contributing to the recruitment and use of child soldiers, including mission-specific factors (e.g. local cultural norms around adulthood and rites of passage, who the traditional caregivers are, where children are at risk, etc.).
    • The special protections afforded to children under international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL).
  • About the mission
    • The elements/assets relevant to child protection in a mission, including:
      • The child protection provisions in the mission mandate as set out in the relevant UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR);
      • The Force Commander’s and Police Commissioner’s Child Protection Directives, as appropriate;
      • The roles and responsibilities of the Child Protection Advisors (CPAs) and Child Protection Focal Points (CPFPs); and,
      • The contributions of other relevant organizations (local, national, or international).
    • Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs for child soldiers, if applicable.
  • About peacekeepers
    • Planning considerations related to the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels.
    • The roles and responsibilities of peacekeepers in child protection, including in the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers, including:
      • The roles and responsibilities of peacekeepers within the UN Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM), including clear guidance on how and what to report, as well as the type of information to be collected;
      • The legal obligations of peacekeepers regarding the rights of children (e.g. the special protections afforded to children under international law, etc.); and,
      • How to handle encounters with children in armed conflict, including child soldiers.
    • The relevant legal and policy frameworks for the detention, transfer, and release of children.
    • Mental health considerations for peacekeepers regarding potential encounters with children affected by armed conflict, including child soldiers.
    • Codes of conduct and discipline for peacekeepers.
    • The essential contribution of women in peacekeeping operations, including in child protection.
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