Armed conflict has wide implications for civilian populations generally. Of particular concern are the diverse threats to which children are exposed in such circumstances. One of the many illegal acts to which children fall victim is recruitment by armed forces and armed groups. Preventing the recruitment of children and their participation in hostilities is by far the best way of protecting them. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), therefore, places a great deal of emphasis on prevention. Ensuring respect for the rights of children is a top priority. Providing a secure environment where children have ways of being safe, well fed and properly clothed that do not involve carrying a gun is something to which all of us can and must contribute. But it is states that bear the primary responsibility for creating this environment. The ICRC will continue to promote the principle of not recruiting children and support the development and application of international humanitarian law at field level, in the hope that one day there will be no more child soldiers, and that humanity and justice will prevail.

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