WITNESS – Child Soldiers in the DRC
Since 1996, war has ravaged the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some four million people have died as a result of the armed conflict and over ten thousand children have been used as child soldiers. Today, the country is in fragile transition, with over ten armed groups still operating in the Eastern region. All parties have recruited and used child soldiers in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law.
In 2004, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced the DRC to be the subject of the Court’s first investigation. Under the Court’s jurisdiction is the recruitment and use of child soldiers as a war crime. The ICC remains the only competent and impartial Court that can bring justice to the thousands of children whose rights were violated and childhood taken away from them.
Through the voices of child soldiers, “A Duty To Protect” explores the complexity of the war, the issues confronted by girl soldiers including rape and sexual exploitation and the importance of the International Criminal Court to end the rampant impunity reigning in Eastern DRC. The video gives specific recommendations to strengthen the work of the ICC and calls for the international community’s engagement to stop the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
Witness is a great organization and shows how intermediaries like this can help get global voices out and is also a great example of using video as a medium.