(SWI) – Switzerland should play a more active role in the protection of children who are victims and perpetrators in armed conflicts, said Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, citing the country’s commitment to peace, democracy and human rights. About 250,000 children under 18 are currently estimated to be serving in armed groups, 40% of them girls, Burkhalter said at the annual conference of the foreign ministry’s Human Security Division on Tuesday. Thousands of children worldwide are forced to join the army, to kill or maim; often their victims are other children. Thousands of girls are enslaved and raped during conflicts.