Child Soldiers International (CSI) was formerly the Coalition to Stop the use of Child Soldiers, an international coalition of human rights and humanitarian organizations created in 1998 to campaign for a human rights treaty to prevent children being used in armed conflict. That treaty - the Optional Protocol to the (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC) - entered into force in 2002.
CSI now works for the effective implementation of OPAC; a global ban on any form of military recruitment of people below the age of 18 years; and a definitive end to the military us of children in any capacity.
Through research and advocacy, nationally and internationally, CSI works to end all forms of military recruitment and use in hostilities of persons below the age of 18 years.
CSI's vision is of a world where all children (boys and girls below the age of 18) can grow up under conditions that allow them to realize their full potential and enjoy their fundamental human rights. We believe that to achieve this, children must be protected from any form of military recruitment by armed forces or groups and involvement in armed conflict, as well as from other human rights abuses that occur in these environments.
CSI promotes global adherence to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict with a minimum age of 18 for voluntary recruitment. It seeks to end all forms of military recruitment of children or the use in hostilities in any capacity of any person under the age of 18 by state armed forces or non-state armed groups, as well as other human rights abuses resulting from their recruitment or use. It advocates the release of unlawfully recruited children; promotes their successful reintegration into civilian life; and calls for accountability for those who recruit or use them.
Who are child soldiers?
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. It does not only refer to a child who is taking or has taken a direct part in hostilities. (The Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups (Paris Principles), February 2007).