The 31st Triennial Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, meeting 22-24 April 2015 in The Hague, the Netherlands:
Recognises that an estimated 300,000 children (boys and girls) under the age of 18 are involved in more than 30 conflicts worldwide, nearly half of which are girls;
Notes that although international agreements prohibit the use of children as soldiers, recruiting them for armed forces continues;
Is mindful that armed conflicts and the trafficking and proliferation of small arms and light weapons facilitate the use of children in combat;
Deplores that girls are used as combatants, messengers, porters and cooks and are forced into sex;
Notes that trafficking of children is violence and a violation of human rights that constitutes an infringement to the Convention on the Rights of Children;
Notes that in some countries child soldiers can be refused asylum on the grounds of involvement in war crimes. However there are international precedents in which residency permits and support can be provided to child soldiers as victims of human trafficking, a practice that WILPF endorses;
Argues that, while some demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration (DDR) programmes pay special attention to child soldiers, in general the interests of child soldiers often remain unattended;
Recognises that girls voluntarily or involuntarily joining irregular armed forces face very specific problems, dissimilar from what the standard perceptions of a “soldier” experiences and that challenges facing girl soldiers remain generally without recognition.
Advocates for former girl soldiers to obtain asylum or residency, and that states share best practices regarding the treatment of girl soldiers that are refugees and seek asylum or residency;
Press the United Nations and relevant national authorities to provide training and support for girl ex-soldiers.