Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

The Shocking Story of the Child Soldiers

Just old enough to get their finger round a trigger, they are sent to kill or be killed.

Chechen terrorists mentioned in report. Playing with soldiers is what just about every little boy gets up to at one time or another. Playing with soldiers is a nightmare reserved for the few who are powerless to choose their own destinies. It is the responsibility of the rest of the international community to denounce and publicize this horrendous abuse of basic human rights.

The United Nations has released a report, Children in Armed Conflict, in which it is stated that children are often deliberately killed or maimed to serve as a deterrent to others who consider deserting. In some cases, children had their limbs hacked off with machetes, in others, girls are raped and tortured before being forced into prostitution, incurring a rate of AIDS/HIV infection "three to four times higher than those among local populations" according to the UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS.

The countries mentioned in the report are from the four corners of the globe, from Latin America (Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador) to Africa (Uganda, Sudan, Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, DR Congo), to Asia(Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Philippines) to Europe (Bosnia and

In the latter case, the UN report declares that Chechen "insurgents" Use children in their military operations, namely to plant mines and explosives.

In all, despite releases brokered by the UN, thousands of children remain trapped in this nightmare from which the only escape is a bullet, the only relief from the life of suffering which they have been forced to endure.