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Born November 23, 1980 in Sierra Leone Forced into Sierra Leonean conflict at the age of 12 After three bloody years, he was rescued by UNICEF In 1997 he fled Sierra Leone and went to New York City
Life in the Jungle
Beah s three years of fighting were incredibly brutal He and his fellow soldiers committed many atrocities and witnessed terrible acts firsthand In order to gain more control over their soldiers, Beah and his fellow soldiers were given drugs, after which many of them became addicted
What is a Child Soldier?
A child soldier is any person under 18 years of age who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity.
The definition includes girls recruited for sexual purposes and for forced marriage. It does not, therefore, only refer to a child who is carrying or has carried arms.
Drugs used by Child Soldiers
Brown-Brown: a form of powdered cocaine cut with smokeless gunpowder Marijuana Speed: Stimulant pills Tranquilizers Heroin
Which Countries Use Child Soldiers?
Some of countries that use child soldiers are Burma, Columbia, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Liberia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Cote d'Ivoire.
Psychological Effects During War
Nightmares Aggression Anti-social behavior Substance abuse
Long-term Psychological Effects
Anti-social behavior Substance abuse Disabilities from injuries sustained in war Girls dealing with unwanted pregnancies UNICEF wants to raise minimum enlistment age to 18; US is main obstacle to this goal
Life in America
In the U.S. he lived with his foster mother Laura Sims Attended United Nations International School Graduated from Oberlin college in 2004 Has spoken at the UN Met with such leaders as Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton
Conflict in Sierra Leone
Fighting the Liberia spills into Sierra Leone Conflict between the RUF (Revolutionary United Front) and Sierra Leone s government spanned from 1991-2002 RUF was supported by Charles Taylor The main conflict was over diamond fields, which were sources of revenue
Conflict in Liberia
Civil war (1989 2003) Charles Taylor s National Patriotic Front of Liberia militia 5,000 15,000 child soldiers (25 75% of the total fighting forces)
Conflict in Cote d Ivoire
What is being done?
1989: UN General Assembly signs the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to protect children under the age of 15 from involvement in armed forces 2000: The age in the CRC is raised from from 15 to 18 years old Demobilization, Disarmament, and Reintegration Programs (DDR Programs) such as the UNICEF program that rescued Beah are becoming more and more widespread in areas with child soldiers
Once it leaves Africa, a conflict diamond is indistinguishable from other diamonds 99% of diamonds sold on the market are conflict-free