No Child Soldiers poster from the French Organization, Demobilisons les Enfants Soldats
"The most dangerous places are those conflict zones where children are actively recruited into the fighting forces, and the current worst offender...is Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army," said Gareth Evans, head of the International Crisis Group think tank.
"Its recruiting, indoctrination and battle tactics have left countless children either dead, or dreadfully physically or mentally scarred."
During its brutal, two-decade insurgency, the cult-like rebel group has kidnapped up to 25,000 children to serve as soldiers and sex slaves. Each evening about the same number of child "night commuters" trudge into towns to avoid abduction.
Amnesty International: Child Soldiers
"What makes it even more dangerous is that no one is hearing about it... The long-standing and invisible nature of the situation has led to an entire generation of children growing up in camps," said Krista Threefoot of aid group Catholic Relief Services.
Military recruitment is also a major risk for children in Congo, as highlighted by former BBC war correspondent Martin Bell. "Despite partial demobilisation, (Congo) is believed to have more child soldiers than any other country in the world," he said.
He also pointed out that, here and in his other choices of Darfur and Iraq, poor security means large proportions of the population are beyond the reach of the aid agencies.
Congo's first free elections in 40 years, set for the end of July, are meant to draw a line under its 1998-2003 war that killed millions, but conflict still simmers in the lawless east, where disease, hunger and violence kill about 1,200 a day.
"Women and children are regularly targeted by illegal and armed militias and other predators, who perpetrate unacceptable acts of violence and rape against them," said U.N. aid chief Jan Egeland, who also selected northern Uganda and Afghanistan.
This video brings together Ben Okafor with other African artists: Alpha Blondy, Kidjo Angelica, Mama Keita, Lokua Kanza, Bibie, Monique Séka, Charlotte M"Bango, Aïcha Koné and Madéka. Their performance speaks to taking action to fight against the exploitation of the children soldiers.