Hashd offers military training to children in Kirkuk

August 29, 2017 at 7:39 pm

Hashd trains children in south of Kirkuk (August 2017)

Omar Jawad

The Popular Mobilisation Forces known (PMF) as Hashd Shabi are offering military training and how to use guns to children under the age of 18 in Taza area in south of Kirkuk.

“We are thinking about the future of Iraq, and we decided to offer training to the students, not participating them in fighting, that is why we chose the summer break, and hundreds took part in this training,” said Zaki Kahiya, a commander of Qaim battalion of PMF.

Kahiya said the participants were between the ages of 14 to 18 and their training was near the front line in how to use guns and learn tactics of war.

PMF insist that all the children had gone back to their civilian lives and studies but they keep their records in order to call upon them to take part in religious and military events.

The PMF representative in northern Iraq Abu Raza Najjar says hundreds of children have joined them for this training and their aim is to train them enough to defend their land in the case of another calamity such as what happened in the summer of 2014 when Islamic State swooped across northern Iraq.

 

According to international humanitarian law , the participation of children in military training is not allowed. The Additional Protocol of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions forbids states from using children under the age of 15 from participating in military activities and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court perceives this as a war crime.

Jwan Hassan the head of women and children and human rights committee in the Kirkuk provincial council says what PMF is doing is against the Iraqi and international laws. “They (PMF) in Taza subdistrict refused to meet with us because they said speaking about the issue is within the powers of the head of PMF in northern front,” Hassan said. “but we at the provincial council will continue our efforts and have asked the PMF to provide us with a list of the children and their ages.”

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