This session was one in which the most shocking and atrocious situations were heard in the dialogue as boys and girls of all ages were its victims and protagonists.
Rachel Brett, associate representative of the UN in Geneva made a biographical sketch of the problem that the recruitment of children as soldiers, sexual slaves and auxiliaries exploited in general by diverse armed factions that are fighting represents in various current war conflicts in the African continent. The expert also told us that some of them enlisted to escape from poverty, from a situation of abuse that already existed in the family home", but that most of them were like the case of a child from Sierra Leona who stated, quite convinced, that he had been a voluntary, because a friend of his who had not wanted to join, had been shot in the head.
The Nigerian George Myakora, from the Austrian SOS Kinderdorf explained that the dramatic situation of the refugee camps in Uganda, country in which his NGO has built villages to take in children, but from where they are kidnapped when they return to their original homes, by the rebels who have been waging war against the Government for more than a decade, without the support of the United States in its global strategy against terrorism having served any purpose at all
Marta Santos Pais, Director of Planning for UNICEF, who was in favour of a national reconciliation process, like the one that was done in South Africa, and in which children should take an active part in the drawing up of the action plan for the future.
Lenhart Falk from the NGO Save the Children Alliance, who also focused his speech on this conflict, fought for giving greater protagonism to children in the peace process for the region, as "in my experience as a psychologist, I know that this will work so that children who have done everything: soldiers, drivers, executioners, strategists, nurses, etc. can recover their self-esteem and can reintegrate back into society.
In addition, they have been with the guerrillas and know how they think. Some of the girls told me that they had to have sexual relations with the rebel commanders and that they were willing to mediate so that their children would not have to do the same.