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On Two Feet and Wings: Child Soldiers

Year 8 English Text. One boys amazing story of survival. A true account of the a part of the life of Abbas Kazerooni.

Article on Child Soldiers

Following the political and social turmoil that was the 1979 Iranian  Revolution, Iraq was on the opportunistic offensive. Fearful that its own  oppressed Shia population might rise up against the state and desirous of  achieving the status of premier Persian Gulf state, Iraq attacked Iran without  any warning on September 22, 1980.

Iran retaliated quickly–and unconventionally–and even used child soldiers in  the process. While the minimum fighting age was 16, it was not uncommon to see  12 year olds engaged in battle, donning “keys to paradise” distributed by the  Ayatollah for use in heaven upon their virtually assured death. Often used as  human mine clearers, estimated death tolls of these children soldiers are as  high as 100,000.


Why Children ?

Why Children ?

Physically vulnerable and easily intimidated, children typically make obedient soldiers.As society breaks down during conflict, leaving children no access to school, driving them from their homes, or separating them from family members, many children perceive armed groups as their best chance for survival. Others seek escape from poverty or join military forces to avenge family members who have been killed.        

Poverty and lack of access to educational or work opportunities are additional factors – with joining up often holding out either the promise or the reality of an income or a means of getting one. Coupled with this may be a desire for power, status or social recognition. Family and peer pressure to join up for ideological or political reasons or to honour family tradition may also be motivating factors. Girl soldiers have reported joining up to escape domestic servitude or enforced marriage or get away from domestic violence, exploitation and abuse.


Click on the link below to read more about the child soldiers.

Armed children as young as 14 are said to have been deployed alongside riot police

Iran's Islamic regime is using "child soldiers" to suppress anti-government demonstrations, a tactic that could breach international law forbidding the use of underage combatants, human rights activists have told the Observer.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran says troops aged between 14 and 16 have been armed with batons, clubs and air guns and ordered to attack demonstrators who have tried to gather in Tehran. The youths – apparently recruited from rural areas – are being deployed in regular riot police roles and comprise up to one-third of the total force, according to witnesses.