A DUTY TO PROTECT tells the stories of Mafille and January, two girls who were recruited into the military at thirteen and ten years of age respectively. Mafille is a demobilized girl soldier whose experience of violence and sexual exploitation cause her deep psychological scars. In addition to having suffered during the year and a half she spent in the military, Mafille also recounts the stigma she has faced upon returning to civilian life and the constraints in seeking medical attention due to a lack of financial resources. January is a girl soldier whose bravado veils her suffering and whose character and perceptions personify the complexity of the conflict and local perceptions. In this unique portrayal of child soldiers, A DUTY TO PROTECT also looks at the effects of the recruitment and use of child soldiers on their families and the broader community, concluding that the people of Eastern DRC wish for peace and justice in their region.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C) children make up the majority of combatants in a war that has claimed over five million lives. 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.
Copyright 2005 AJEDI-Ka/WITNESS
Running Time: 4:45 minutes