UPDATE: Warlord Thomas Lubanga was arrested and is due to stand trial 26 January 2009 in the International Criminal Court (ICC). Click here to read the latest news and learn how this video played an integral role in the campaign to put the issue of child soldiers onto the ICC's agenda, and helped to bring charges against a warlord for enlisting and conscripting children under the age of fifteen and putting them on the frontlines during the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This video was created by AJEDI-ka and WITNESS to advocate for the cessation of voluntary recruitment of child soldiers in Eastern D.R.C. The region has been in active combat since 1996 with over 5 million people estimated to have died as a direct or indirect result of the war. The video features powerful footage, shot between 2003 and 2004, of the military training of children in several militia camps in South Kivu as well as compelling testimony from demobilized child soldiers recounting the horrifying memories of life as soldiers.
More than ten militia groups operate in the region; every one of them has been reported to be using children as soldiers. The majority of these children are between the ages of 8 and 16 years old and include both girls and boys. It is estimated that children make up 60% of combatants in the region. Over 35% of these children are recruited voluntarily, led by a sense of patriotism or by ideas of prosperity. Parents and the community at large are often involved in this voluntary recruitment of children. ON THE FRONTLINES has been screened to thousands of villagers throughout communities in Eastern DRC to reduce the voluntary recruitment of children from these communities.
Copyright 2004 AJEDI-Ka/WITNESS
Running Time: 14:52 minutes