Sudan: Child Soldiers

Casey Richter


Hjelmgren Period 2


Child Soldiers in Sudan


            In America, from ages 10 to 18, kids study in school, hang out with friends on the weekends, participate in sports and activities outside of school, and are taught within their household, from their family, how to better themselves and lessons they need to know for the rest of their lives. Halfway across the world in Sudan, kids ages 10 to 18 are being forced into the army, brainwashed, and set out to fight for the country that doesn’t even serve them well. These children’s safety is being put into danger, and utilizing children as soldiers is not a humane way to fight. Therefore, the use of child soldiers in Sudan should be outlawed.

            The safety of children in Sudan is highly jeopardized by the use of child soldiers. Not only can they easily die or get injured in battle, they have been brainwashed before they start training to believe that being a soldier is their only job in life. “…Its ranks are filled with boys brainwashed to burn down huts and pound newborn babies to death. ‘I will cut them’ Tanzi vowed (Gettleman 1). Since their brains are less developed to begin with, its easier to brainwash children.  The brainwash of these kids deletes from their memory any recollection of the idea that it is wrong to kill. “…And children are often considered the perfect “weapons”. ‘Child soldiers are ideal.’ A military commander told the Human Rights Watch. ‘They don’t complain, and don’t expect to be paid-and if you tell them to kill, they kill.’” (Gettleman 1). In addition t this type of danger, the kids are literally at risk for their lives fighting in battles. They are at war against full grown, strong, huge adults who could kill them much easier than the child could kill the adult. 300,000 children n the world serve as soldiers, and many of them die every single day.12 years old is too short a life, especially if those years were not lived to the fullest, and therefore, child militia is in no way correct or acceptable.

            Using children to defend their country is not a humane act and should not be allowed. Some believe that they are citizens of the country and therefore have a right to defend it. But rights that belong to a person are only taken advantage of when wanted, and the children have no idea what they truly want because they have been so badly brainwashed. Many organizations have fought for this cause, but have not succeeded. In 2002, the UN called for the age of combatants to be at least 18. The U.S., however, which allows voluntary enlistment with parental consent at age 17, and the UK, whose minimum age is 16, have not signed the agreement. (Gettleman 1). UNICEF also works with human rights groups to support programs started to take child soldiers away from the army and help them to reunite with their families. But throughout Africa, child militia is spreading despite these organizations, and this is not right.

            Hundreds of kids die every day. Many of them die from diseases, accidents, or conditions that we cannot control. But those children who die in war have a long life ahead of them, if they only had the chance. Hunger and poverty in Sudan drive parents to sell their children into service in some cases, and in others, the kids are forced. No matter what the cause, this cannot keep happening. Children are precious, and their lives should not be taken away from them at the mere age of 10. If an end to child soldier use doesn’t come soon, generations will be lost to this spreading problem through Africa. Powerful countries that do not use child soldiers, such s the United States, need to take action to help the lost hoped children in Sudan, and throughout Africa. Not only will we lose a generation of the ids die, but a huge loss will occur if the brainwashing of these kids does not end also. Ishmeal Beah, a former child soldier in Sierra Leone, once said, “Killing became as easy as drinking water.” This is not what we want children to grow up on, and outside countries around the world finally need to step in and help the lost children of Sudan.




Gettleman, Jeffrey. "Armed and Underage." Armed and Underage. 20 Apr. 2009. New York Times Upfront. 15 May 2009 <*requestid=1>.


This website as the most helpful source, it provided information about the past and present situations in Sudan.


Lacey, Marc. "Rebels, Many in Teens, Disarm Sudan's South." 27 Jan. 2004. Gale Learning. Gale Group. 13 May 2009 <>.


This website helped to give me a feel of the severity of the situation and put an emotional aspect into it.


Prendergast, John. "Love Thy Neighbor." 1 Apr. 2004. Harvard International Review. ELibrary. 12 May 2009 <>.


This website also gave information about the present stance in Sudan.


Last updated by Casey Richter. May 22, 2009