Tens of thousands of children around the world, boys as well as girls, are fighting wars as part of
government armed forces or other armed groups. Some of them are used as combatants and take direct
part in hostilities, while others are used in supportive roles or for sexual purposes.
The ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999 (No. 182) defines the forced or compulsory
recruitment of children for use in armed conflict as a worst form of child labour. It calls on Members States
to take effective and time-bound measures to prevent the recruitment of children by armed forces or
groups and to facilitate the reintegration of those who have been released. By the time this publication
went to print, the Convention was ratified by 172 countries, including most of the countries where children
are being used in armed conflict.