Letter: War is no game

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The Independent Culture
Sir: A major rationale for an international ban on soldiers under 18, which was missing from your article, is the difficulty of ascertaining the true age of young people in many countries.

From Afghanistan to Sudan, war has disrupted the system of birth registration. Without birth certificates, it is impossible to verify the true age of young soldiers who may say they are 16 but could be as young as 12. By encouraging a higher recruitment age of 18, as well as birth registration, we stand a better chance of ensuring that very young children are not recruited either by government or rebel forces.


Deputy Director


London WC2