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If an adult 21 year old is compared with a 13 year old child, the adult will normally possess superior strength, greater weight bearing capability, and will generally have more sound judgment and reasoning abilities than that of a child.In situations of rural insurgencies and sustained conflict (where physical mobility over large distances and the extensive use and movement of ammunition is required) adults would fare better than children or adolescents.In 1989, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 38, proclaimed: "State parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities." However, children who are over the age of 15 but under the age of 18 are still voluntarily able to take part in combat as soldiers.The Optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict to the Convention that came into force in 2002 stipulates that its State Parties – "shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons below the age of 18 do not take a direct part in hostilities and that they are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces".In 2011, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon raised the issue of children in conflict areas, who are under threat, and involved in violent activities according to the "Extreme Measures" report.In 2014, more than 17 cases were covered about children in armed conflict.Children in the military may take one of three distinct roles: children can take direct part in hostilities as child soldiers; they can be used in support roles such as porters, spies, messengers, lookouts; or they can be used for political advantage as human shields or in propaganda.Since the 1970s, a number of international conventions have come into effect that try to limit the participation of children in armed conflicts, nevertheless Child Soldiers International reports that the use of children in military forces, and the active participation of children in armed conflicts is widespread.

Academia has offered various explanations for this puzzle from the global proliferation of light automatic weapons add to literature of child soldiers, by adapting theories of industrial organization to rebellious groups.The Parties to the conflict shall take all feasible measures in order that children who have not attained the age of fifteen years do not take a direct part in hostilities and, in particular, they shall refrain from recruiting them into their armed forces.In recruiting among those persons who have attained the age of fifteen years but who have not attained the age of eighteen years, the Parties to the conflict shall endeavour to give priority to those who are oldest.Some of them are captured with their families, or by the activity of one of their family members. They can be detained without sufficient food, medical care, or under other inhumane conditions.Some of these children live with physical and sexual torture.

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