September 16/2021(ENA) Organization for World Peace (OWP) confirmed the recruitment of Child soldiers by TPLF to its war in Ethiopia for the purpose of human waves.
OWP said in a statement that it is a known fact that children under the age of 18 have been regularly recruited by the TPLF in Ethiopia.
Local Tigrayans have reported the occurrence of children participating in wartime activities, it stated.
These child soldiers are being used by TPLF for the purpose of creating human waves with the intent to overwhelm the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), it indicated.
“For instance, there is now evidence pointing to how the TPLF involved child soldiers in their moves to invade the Afar and Amhara regions. The children rescued by the ENDF have explained that they were recruited by the TPLF. The TPLF have recognized that ENDF will not directly shoot at children which has led to Tigray rebel forces using these children as human shields against attacks,” it elaborated.
This is happening alongside reports from government soldiers fighting against the TPLF that children within the TPLF are being used as fodder. This is an impending crisis within the Tigray conflict.
According to OWP, many children in the area are now in a vulnerable position in terms of their own safety as the conflict continues in the region.
“It is crucial that this issue is addressed for the well-being of all the children in the Tigray whose lives are being heavily affected by this continuing conflict,” it added.
The TPLF is using child soldiers as a first line of defense against opposing forces, with the children being the first sent to fight against the ENDF while the rest of the TPLF forces follow behind, OWP said.
The ENDF soldiers have also described their response to the use of child soldiers by stating that they are not firing back against the children. They claim that in at least one case children involved in the TPLF forces dropped their weapons and ran to a nearby village to find safety.
The recruitment and use of child soldiers is considered a violation of the UN Convention and a war crime.
International law is clear that children under the age of 18 are to not be involved in any capacity in war.
According to Ann Fitz-Gerald, director of Balsillie School of International Affairs and professor in the Political Science Department at Wilfrid Laurier University, “The use of children to support any element of armed conflict constitutes a war crime – that the international community is observing this evidence and remaining silent questions the whole value of the conventions and protocols the world has adopted to address such crimes.”
The Organization for World Peace is a not-for-profit organization promoting peaceful solutions to complex issues across the globe.