Group claims publisher and US military are recruiting children in
violation of international law.
By Brendan Sinclair, GameSpot
Posted Aug 6, 2008
The America's Army games have served as a recruiting tool for the US
Army since the line debuted in 2002 with a free-to-download
first-person shooter. While the Army has been clear that the games
are targeted at young Americans to increase their interest in
military service, an antiwar group this week is saying those
potential recruits were too young.
The group Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW) is taking to task the
Army and its sometimes-partner in the America's Army series, Ubisoft,
for what it calls the recruiting of children in violation of
international law. DASW claims the Army is specifically targeting
boys as young as 13 with the game, which is rated T for Teen. The
United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of
the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict
specifically forbids the recruitment of children under the age of 18.
The group said in a statement that it met with Ubisoft North America
president Laurent Detoc, who informed them that the publisher was
through making America's Army games. An Ubisoft representative did
not return GameSpot's request for confirmation on that point.
DASW also wants a warning label attached to the game. The suggested
label would read, "Warning: this video game has been developed by the
United States Army to recruit children under the age of 17 in
violation of the U.N. Optional Protocol and international law. Combat
service has been known to cause death, irreparable injuries,
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and lifelong feelings of overwhelming guilt."
The group has planned an antiwar rally for today in San Francisco's
South Park--a block from Ubisoft's offices--to call attention to its
grievances with the games.