A report from a global coalition to stop the use of child soldiers says hundreds of thousands of child soldiers have fought and died in at least 20 armed conflicts around the world during the last three years.
The report issued today (Wednesday) in London says some nations that do not directly recruit children back paramilitary groups that use them to kill, loot, destroy property, and commit human rights abuses.
The report also charges that six countries claiming to have ended child recruitment still use children as spies and messengers.
Governments named in the report as using child soldiers include Burundi, Democractic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Burma, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda.
The report also says the United States Army military personnel director has admitted that at least 62 soldiers under the age of 18 have been used in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq during 2003 and 2004.
The coalition says it is encouraged that 87 nations, including the United States, have signed a United Nations protocol that sets 18 as the minimum age for armed fighting.