Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Solomon Islands
|Publisher||Child Soldiers International|
|Cite as||Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Solomon Islands, 2001, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/498805cf2.html [accessed 11 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Mainly covers the period June 1998 to April 2001 as well as including some earlier information.
– total: 430,000
– under-18s: 215,000
- Government armed forces: Unknown
- Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription
- Voluntary recruitment age: not known
- Child Soldiers: unknown in government forces; indicated in opposition forces
- CRC-OP-CAC: not signed
- Other treaties ratified: CRC,GC/API-II
- There have been indications of under-18s participating in armed groups involved in recent ethnic conflict.
In June 2000, an armed group, the Malaitan Eagles, seized control of the capital Honiara and held Prime Minister Ulufa'ulu hostage. The Malaitan group had been fighting Guadalcanese armed groups intent on evicting Malaitan settlers from the island. The same month, fighters linked with the Bougainville secessionist movement seized the western town of Gizo. On 30 June, the parliament elected former opposition leader Sogavare as new Prime Minister. Peace talks started in July. Some 60 people were killed in the fighting and more than 20,000 Malaitan migrants were expelled from Guadalcanal.
The Isatabu Freedom Movement (IFM), a collective name for armed political groups also known as "Guadalcanal militants", emerged between March and October 1998. Apparently without a single leader, several commanders representing eastern and western Guadalcanal groups cooperate in armed operations which in 1998 and 1999 focused on driving out Malaitan settlers from rural Guadalcanal. In 1999, the IFM was also known as Guadalcanal Liberation Front, Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army (GRA) and Isatabu Freedom Fighters (IFF). The IFM continues to control rural Guadalcanal around Honiara outskirts, extorting support from villagers.
The IFM is said to draw most of its fighters, estimated to number between 300 and 2,000, from impoverished villages along the rugged Guadalcanal south coast. They have, at times, included at least 100 child soldiers aged 12-17 and are armed with hunting rifles, some stolen police guns and explosives, traditional weapons and home-made pipe-guns or refashioned World War II rifles.1737
1737 AI, Solomon Islands: A Forgotten Conflict, 9/00.