Should Child Soldiers Be Given Amnesty?
By Hailey Fox
February 7, 2019
According to Unicef.org, “Recently, in 25 countries, thousands of children under the age of 16 have fought in the war” (Children as soldiers) and “In 1988 alone, they numbered as many as 200,000” (Children as soldiers). Because of this evidence, it is clear that the manipulation and recruitment of child soldiers is becoming more popular across the world. Child soldiers should be given amnesty, not only because they were manipulated but because they deserve a second chance.
When you talk or think about not giving child soldiers amnesty have you ever thought that maybe they were tired, hungry, alone, and afraid. In the article “Child soldiers should be prosecuted” published by debatewise.org, this quote stood out the most, “The recruiters of child soldiers also use drugs and alcohol to make children more complaint and to enable them to commit acts they would not ordinarily commit”. This points out that the kids are manipulated into doing something that they wouldn’t if they weren’t under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It also proves that the recruiters are responsible.
As previously stated, the recruiters are also responsible for the tragedies in these kids lives. These recruiters basically put on an act. First, they provide the necessities that the kids need, then they say that this is a safe place for them to stay but there is one condition. They have to fight in the war. These recruiters are very smart though. They get the kids when they are alone and vulnerable. It’s like the recruiters are putting the children in a mental trap. Ishmael Beah told the reporter in the television show The Hour, “Between 12 and 13, my parents were killed, my entire family was killed. My Mother, Father and 2 Brothers, and I was devastated I didn’t know what to do with my life anymore. I ended up going to a military base to look for safety and that and then they pressed me into this war. They forcefully trained me basically how to use the Ak-47”(Beah,2007). This reveals that the recruiters prepare a nice looking safe place on the outside but on the inside its dark, scary, and a place that you never want to be. This also shows that the child soldier situation is very complex but sometimes we have to think about who is behind the situation and not who is manipulated. Kind of like looking at the puppeteer, not the Puppet itself.
It is understandable that giving amnesty is not an easy thing. After all, we have to think about the awful things the child soldiers do. We have to consider how some of the child soldiers enjoy killing the U.S soldiers or how “In Sierra Leone child soldiers committed acts of rape, mutilation and mass killing of civilians”(Child Soldiers Should, 2016). As terrifying as it sounds we can’t assume the worst. We still have to understand that these child soldiers had no choice and that “Maybe that the child thought it would be safer to enlist or factors such as poverty and hunger influenced their decision”(Child Soldiers should, 2016).
There is so many reasons that child soldiers should be given amnesty. They really deserve a second chance, simply because they weren’t given one to begin with. They were forced and manipulated to do something they would NEVER do in real life or under the influence of drugs and alcohol. As mentioned in a previous paragraph, the recruiters are manipulating these kids into getting revenge on the enemies. But we have to realize that the recruiters have scarred these children for life. God knows they really need our help. So with all this said, Do you think child soldiers should be given amnesty?