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Report on Child Soldiers Wins Prestigious Award

Bosnia -- children playing with toy guns Sarajevo 1996
Bosnia -- children playing with toy guns Sarajevo 1996
(PRAGUE, Czech Republic) For her groundbreaking report on children who fought in the Balkan Wars, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's (RFE/RL) Mirjana Rakela has won the European Union's prestigious 2008 Lorenzo Natali Journalism Prize.

In a two-part report, Rakela told the stories of some of the thousands of children who fought in the Balkans between 1991 and 1995. Although the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child prohibits the involvement of children in military operations, Rakela's November 2007 report for RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian-Languages Service shows that the convention was ignored by many of the sides during the conflict.

[Read the transcript of Rakela's award-winning story, Child Warriors: Manipulation Without Borders]

[Read Rakela's online article, Child Soldiers of the Balkans, along with an interview about the story]

The Natali Prize was established by The European Commission in 1992 to recognize journalists who defend human rights, democracy, and development. [Learn more about the 2008 Lorenzo Natali Journalism Prize]