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What does this mean?
It’s your right to be protected from war.
If your country is at war, you should be able to go to a safe country and get a safe place to stay.
There should be no child soldiers. It’s your right under the UNCRC not to be forced to go into the army if you’re under 15.
EXAMPLE: In Ireland, you need to be 18 years old before you can join the army.
Learn more about this right
- UNCRC article 38, it’s your right to be protected and free from war. Children under 15 can’t be forced to go into the army or take part in war.
- Under the International Protection Act 2015 in Ireland, it’s your right to be housed in Direct Provision centres if you are a refugee or asylum seeker. You will get food and shelter there until you wait for the decision if you can stay in the country or not.
- Ireland is an independent, neutral country. This means we don’t take sides in wars.
- In some countries, there is a compulsory military service, meaning they need to spend some time learning to be a soldier. There is no compulsory military service in Ireland.
- In Ireland you need to be 18 before you can join the army.
- In 2000, the UN put together the Optional Protocol to the UNCRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC). This treaty aims to protect children from being recruited and used in war situations.
- If there is war in your country, you can go to another country to be safe. You can claim asylum (protection) and if you can prove it is not safe for you to return home, you can get refugee status.
- In Ireland, asylum seekers must live in Direct Provision centres until it is decided if they can stay in Ireland or not.
- Ireland has made a commitment to give shelter to 4,000 people from Syria. They live in Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres (EROC).
- Peace Direct – Take a look at what young people in different parts of the world are doing to build peace
- Cartoons for Children’s Rights – A short cartoon about children’s right to protection in times of war, made for Unicef’s Cartoons for Children’s Rights initiative
- Children and Armed Conflict – More information about children affected by armed conflict is on this website of the UN’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict
- Children, Not Soldiers – Find out about the UN’s Children, Not Soldiers initiative to stop the use of children as soldiers in armed conflict
- Red hand day – 12 February, marks the anniversary of the signing of a protocol or a new rule to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) that forbids the use of children in conflict.