To commemorate the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers on 12 February Günter Nooke, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (11 February):
"The use of children as soldiers in wars and armed conflicts is one of the most horrendous crimes imaginable. Children, usually powerless in such situations, are particularly affected by crises and violent conflicts. Often their lives are destroyed.
Children depend on us for protection. Therefore, we must reinforce our efforts at all levels to prevent the most serious crimes against children. All States are called upon to take determined action against these crimes.
I am especially concerned about the fate of children in many African countries, as well as in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. We consistently receive horrifying reports from these places, a trend that has been seen especially in recent months.
The human rights policy of the German Government and its partners in the European Union is strongly committed to improving the situation of children in armed conflicts. In Africa alone, the Federal Government is providing well over 100 million euro to support a wide range of projects aimed at reintegrating former child soldiers into society. We are determined to continue working for a peaceful future for all children."