UK firm ’employed former child soldiers’ as mercenaries in Iraq
Former director acknowledges Aegis Defence Services may have recruited former child fighters in Sierra Leone
And I’m really struggling to find out what the problem is here.
Contract documents say that the soldiers from Sierra Leone were paid $16 (£11) a day. A documentary, The Child Soldier’s New Job, to be broadcast on Monday in Denmark alleges that the estimated 2,500 Sierra Leonean personnel who were recruited by Aegis and other private security companies to work in Iraq included former child soldiers.
“When war gets outsourced, then the companies tries to find the cheapest soldiers globally. Turns out that that is former child soldiers from Sierra Leone. I think it is important that we in the west are aware of the consequences of the privatisation of war,” the film’s maker, Mads Ellesøe, said.
Employing child soldiers, obviously wrong. But “former”?
Ellery, who said he was speaking in a personal capacity, told the Guardian that it would be “quite wrong” to ask whether people had ever been child soldiers, as it would penalise people for things they had often been forced into doing.
He pointed out that under UN rules, child soldiers are not liable for war crimes. “They are, once they reach 18, in fact citizens with full rights to seek employment, which is a basic human right. So we would have been completely in error if, having gone to Sierra Leone, we excluded those people.”