Twenty years ago, the world united to condemn and take action against the use of children in armed conflict. 

Since then, over 130,000 boys and girls have been released as a result of Action Plans mandated by the UN Security Council aimed at ending and preventing the recruitment and use of children in conflict. 

The Campaign

Launched in 2014, the campaign Children, Not Soldiers, an initiative of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, and UNICEF, aimed to bring about a global consensus that child soldiers should not be used in conflict. The campaign was designed to generate momentum, political will and international support to turn the page once and for all on the recruitment of children by national security forces in conflict situations. The campaign received immediate support from Member States, UN, NGO partners, regional organizations and the general public. The UN Security Council and General Assembly welcomed “Children, Not Soldiers” and requested regular updates through the Special Representative’s reporting. 

Watch a video recorded in 2014 by Forest Whitaker in support of the campaign.

At the time of the launch, the countries concerned by the campaign were:

AfghanistanChad, the Democratic Republic of the CongoMyanmarSomaliaSouth SudanSudan and Yemen.

The campaign ended at the end of 2016, but the consensus envisioned is now a reality and thousands of child soldiers have been released and reintegrated with the assistance of UNICEF, peacekeeping or political missions, as well as UN and NGO partners on the ground. National campaigns to promote the objectives of
“Children, Not Soldiers” have been launched in most countries concerned and beyond.

Campaign achievements:

During the campaign, the Special Representative and UNICEF worked with their UN and NGO partners to support and strengthen their engagement with the concerned Governments. 

Download and print campaign posters: