Going beyond “counter recruitment” strategies to End Abusive and Improper Military Recruitment

Going beyond “counter recruitment” strategies to End Abusive and Improper Military Recruitment

In 2004 – according to the latest available statistics from the Under Secretary of Defense – about 19,885 seventeen year old children joined the US armed forces, constituting 23% of all new reserves and 4.3% of active armed forces recruits.  These 14,933 boys and 4,952 girls represent a fraction of the youths targeted annually by military recruiters who have become an ominous presence in elementary schools across the country where students as young as 11 can participate in the Middle School Cadet Corps.

If you or your branch have been active in efforts to stop abusive and improper military recruitment in your communities and local schools, WILPF’s Advancing Human Rights Committee would like to introduce you to a new and potentially powerful advocacy strategy.

In January 2003, the US became legally bound by theOptional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (CRC OPAC). In June 2008, the Children’s Rights Committee, the UN committee of experts that oversees the implementation of this protocol (or treaty), will be reviewing US compliance with international standards on the recruitment and deployment of children (anyone under the age of 18) into armed forces and participation in military conflict.

WILPF plans to submit information to the UN Committee about the reality of improper and abusive recruitment tactics in the US to enable a more complete and accurate evaluation of U.S. practices.   Drawing on the standards contained in the CRC OPAC, the Advancing Human Rights Committee prepared a questionnaire to guide WILPF members interested in gathering anecdotes and information from their communities about improper and abusive tactics employed by recruiters to enlist children.

Interested members are invited to join a teleconference training on the project on one of the following dates and times:

Monday, September 10, 7-8 p.m. ET (4-5 p.m. PT); or

Thursday, September 13, 6-7p.m. PT (9-10 ET)

Please pre-register if you plan to be on the call by contacting Jody Dodd at the national office, 215-563-7110 or jdodd@wilpf.org

For more information on WILPF’s End Improper and Abusive Recruitment Project, please contact Laura Roskos, Coordinator, Advancing Human Rights Committee at masscedaw@yahoo.com

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