(Global Brief) – Extreme violence against children affected by armed conflict is not only a humanitarian issue, but also a security concern with lasting implications. As children are forced into conflict, they become part of the ongoing cycle of violence and erode the potential for peace and long-term prosperity. Today, the African Union (AU) faces a sobering reality in terms of the number of children affected by armed conflicts on the continent. This is particularly stark in relation to the ongoing use and recruitment of child soldiers. As of 2015, according to the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, seven countries: Mali, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo,Sudan, South Sudan and Somali, along with one region, Central Africa, feature the recruitment and use of child soldiers within Africa by either state or non-state armed groups—or both.