Child Soldiers International is an international human rights research and advocacy organisation. They seek to end the military recruitment and the use in hostilities, in any capacity, of any person under the age of 18 by state armed forces or non-state armed groups. They advocate for the release of unlawfully recruited children, promote their successful reintegration into civilian life, and call for accountability for those who unlawfully recruit or use them.
The organization work to end the military recruitment of under-18s globally and to prevent their use in armed conflict wherever it occurs. They do this through global monitoring, in-depth work on selected countries, and research and analysis on key thematic issues relating to child soldiers.
Child Soldiers International was formerly known as the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. They were established in 1998 by a group of leading human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Save the Children.
The original purpose was to campaign for a human rights treaty to prevent the military recruitment of children and their use in violent conflict. It was successful and the treaty, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC), entered into force in 2002.
Since 2011, Child Soldiers International has been an independent human rights organisation, based in London and working internationally.
Child Soldiers International has a team of eight full and part time staff, supported by a fundraising volunteer and supplemented by specialist consultants when needed to enhance its research. They are directed by a leadership team comprising the Director of Programmes and the Director of Operations, and governed by a Board of nine trustees.