By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame’s is recruiting child soldiers into his armed forces. He must not get away with it. Rwandan families turning a blind eye to their children’s recruitment into Kagame’s military are no doubt doing so for at least two reasons — 1) poverty and desperate need to earn incomes; 2) intimidation by the regime. Be that as it may, Kagame’s recruitment of child soldiers must be exposed and condemned in the strongest terms.
The United Nations which uses Rwandan soldiers in peacekeeping operations must draw a red line. Kagame must abide by the 2007 Paris Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups. The Paris Principles define a child soldier as follows:
”A child associated with an armed force or armed group refers to any person below 18 years of age who is, or who has been, recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, cooks, porters, spies or for sexual purposes.”
General Kagame, what is not clear here? Over to you