During the International meeting of Freinet teachers which took place in St Louis, Senegal in August, 2006, during a workshop we had discussions with African teachers and teachers from all over the world about the use of children in the wars in Africa and in other parts of the world. Then a text was proposed to the General Assembly of the FIMEM and it was voted unanimously. The FIMEM is sending you this text and is asking you to spread it widely around you and to send it to your government.
THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE RIDEF, (International Meeting of Freinet Teachers) in Saint-Louis, Senegal, 7th-14th August 2006, condemn the recruitment and the use of children-soldiers, as well as all other forms of violence, exploitation and negation of the children’s rights.
• We remind that according to the UN, no man can carry any weapons before the age of 18 and that the right to education is an inalienable right, as well as the right of the children to be respected according to their culture and identity.
• We judge that the children’s use as soldiers, (that forbids them to live the specificity of the phases of their life cycle characterised by playing, communicating with others, expressing themselves and learning) is a crime against humanity that must be judged by an international court.
• We also judge that the “Democratic West” is very hypocrite and compromising according to this particular aspect and that the countries of the North should abstain henceforth from every form of intervention with the hidden aim of enlarging their power and their economic markets under distort humanitarian reasons.
• We retain that it is the aim of the international organizations, of the organizations for children’s rights, of the pacifist movements, of the feminist movements, of the educational movements to underline with strength the problem to the world opinion.
• We, the Freinet participants in the RIDEF, invite all the organizations and institutions to fight every form of recruiting, exploitation, ideological and fanatic manipulation of the children and every form of intervention of children in situations of war.
• We also invite to denounce the politics of compromising adopted by those governments that, on one hand denounce these situations, but on the other, sell weapons and technologies to the countries in situations of war.
Voted by the General Assembly of the FIMEM (International Federation of the Movements for Modern School), August 11th, Saint-Louis, Senegal