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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Ending the Use of Child Soldiers: History, Impact and Evolution

Friday, September 19, 2014 - 2:00pm
2360 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing focused on the use of child soldiers around the world, the evolution of the concept, and explore ways in which the United States could combat the practice.

Hundreds of thousands of children are used as soldiers in armed conflicts around the world. Some join voluntarily, following their family members or as a last resort after their family's murder. Some are abducted and forced to join. Some are armed and actively participate in killing, while others are used as cooks, porters or sexual slaves. Regardless of the means of recruitment or the duties performed, being a child soldier has a lasting and irreversible impact on the lives of these individuals.

In 2008, President Bush signed the Child Soldiers Prevention Act into law. The law was designed to prevent United States' support of regimes that are known to use children in their armed forces. However, as a result of the inclusion of a waiver clause, the United States is still actively supporting regimes that recruit child soldiers. Please come and learn about the history of child soldiers, its impact on the children's psyches, the evolution of the practice, and why the United States must do more to fight against it.

For any questions, please contact the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at 202-225-3599 or

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Frank R. Wolf, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC

Witness List

  • Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, United Nations
    Written testimony
  • Jesse Eaves, Senior Policy Advisor for Child Protection, World Vision
    Written testimony
  • Lisa Dougan, Director of International Programs, Invisible Children
    Written testimony
  • Aldo Civico, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers University
    Written testimony



113th Congress