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On Child Soldiers, UN Doesn't But May Soon List Al Nusra, DRC UNclear

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 22 -- In Syria, the UN has listed as child soldier recruiters the government and the Free Syrian Army, but not the Al Nusra Front. Inner City Press on Monday asked the UN's envoy on the topic Leila Zerrougui if Nusra is viewed as part of the FSA, or if the list is lagging behind.

  The latter, she said: the list was only through the end of 2012, when she said Nabhat Al Nusra was only becoming known. "The role of al Nusra was coming at the end of 2012," she said. Now they could be listed.

  Inner City Press asked asked her about any demobilizations of child soldiers. She distinguished between those children who join "voluntarily," with involvement of their family, from those who do not.

  "Demobilization means children are outside their family," she said. "We have to convince the commanders that they won't have an interest, if they want to have a future, to use children."

"Recruiting children is a war crimes," she concluded.

  But what then of the Congolese Army units listed, even in the new Group of Experts report the full text of which Inner City Press exclusively put online in June, as recruiting children?

  Inner City Press read two of them out: FARDCís 1032nd Battalion and 812th Regiment, right from Paragraphs 149 and 150 of the GoE report. What will Zerrougui and her Office do?

 It is not even clear that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Herve Ladsous has suspended support to these units, much less ensured any prosecution for war crimes.

As pointed out with regard to the 391st Battalion, which moved from rape, still with UN support, to desecration of bodies, Ladsous's DPKO has made a mockery of Ban Ki-moon's supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. Watch this site.


 

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