Militarisation of Children Condemned


The Celtic League has written to the Northern Ireland Children’s Commissioner about the militarisation of children. The League says her stance in condemning the appearance of children in paramilitary garb on parades whilst failing to criticise cadet forces is contradictory.

The issue of UK cadet forces and the militarisation of children was the subject of a condemnatory resolution adopted at the 2012 AGM of the Celtic League held in Brittany in October. (See links below):

The League has written to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child enclosing earlier correspondence about the matter it exchanged with Children’s Commissioners in Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland

“Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People
Ms Patricia Lewsley
Millennium House
17-25 Great Victoria Street


Dear Commissioner Lewsley,

I refer you to our correspondence in 2011 when we expressed our support for the stance you had taken over the militarisation of children (in the context of children appearing at parades in paramilitary clothing) and we urged you to extend your concerns also to the operation of Cadet Forces.

We note that you have once again articulated concerns in relation to this issue (April 2013) and once again we would reiterate our concern about the `Cadets’ issue.

We share your concern about the militarisation and politicisation of young people in such parades but would advance the view that a failure to take a stance over the Cadets issue is hypocritical in the extreme.

We understand that there are over 1500 young people in cadet forces in Northern Ireland. Not only are these children dressed in military garb but they also practice and exercise using equipment similar to that used by the armed forces.

We urge you to revisit your failure to date to state a clear position of opposition to the militarisation of children whether it is via paramilitary organisational links or links to the established armed forces of the United Kingdom.

The issue of the militarisation of children was considered at the Annual General Meeting of the Celtic League held in Brittany in October 2012 which adopted a condemnatory resolution..

For information we have since raised this matter with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and I will be urging our General Secretary to make further representations to the Committee about your apparent contradictory stance on this issue.

Yours sincerely

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information”

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact:

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The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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