By Simon Whelan:
British Army used under-18-year-old soldiers in Iraq occupation
8 March 2007
A recent written answer to a parliamentary question from the Liberal Democrats revealed that the British Army sent 15 soldiers under the age of 18 to fight in Iraq, contravening a United Nation’s protocol on children’s rights.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 38, (1989) insists: “State parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.”
The optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict to the Convention that came into force in 2002 stipulates that its state parties “shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons below the age of 18 do not take a direct part in hostilities and that they are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces.”
Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour government ratified the optional protocol against the deployment of those aged 18 and under to war on June 24, 2003.
At almost the same time it was sending them to participate in the occupation of Iraq.
See also here.