Practice Relating to Rule 137. Participation of Child Soldiers in Hostilities
In 2007, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Uganda stated:
Efforts have been made to ensure that there are no children in any military force in Uganda; however, pockets of reports tend to indicate that some children could be engaged in armed conflict. The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), charged with most of the responsibility for military action indicates that there are no children in the military forces. However, interviews with stakeholders including children in some of the districts visited … report that there are some children in the forces and they actively participate in hostilities. This also goes for militias from … [certain] districts … who were mobilized by politicians, recruited and trained by the UPDF to fight [the] Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). This, however, is a result of lack of evidence of age due to poor birth registration practices. Children from conflict and non-conflict areas continue to join the armed forces lying about their ages.