Does the America's Army game franchise violate United Nations protocols regarding military recruitment of children?
GameDaily reports on a group called Direct Action to Stop the War which says that it does and has taken Ubisoft, which publishes console versions of America's Arm, to task. On its website, the San Francisco-based Direct Action writes:
"America’s Army” ...is the property and brainchild of the US Army, which admit freely, and with pride, that it is one of their principal recruitment tools...
The military recruitment of children under the age of 17, however, is a clear violation of international law (the U.N. Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict). No attempt to recruit children 13-16 is allowed in the United States, pursuant to treaty. In May, the [ACLU] published a report that found the armed services regularly target children under 17 for military recruitment. The report highlighted the role of “America’s Army...”
The game is having an effect. An informal study showed that 4 out of 100 new recruits in Ft. Benning, Georgia credit America’s Army as the primary factor in convincing them to join the military...
Direct Action will be staging a protest today at noon near the San Francisco office of Ubisoft as well as two other local companies, GameLoft and Secret Level:
Ubisoft is not the only South Park neighbor engaged in the development of the game, Gameloft is working on the cell phone application and Secret Level was a designer on the 2005 Xbox version... This August 6, on the 63rd Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, come out and ask the producers and developers of America’s Army to stop helping the Army recruit children.
Last month Direct Action sent a letter of protest to Ubisoft CEO Laurent Detoc. The group claims that it has heard back from Detoc, who said:
Ubisoft has already planned not to make any further games of America's Army, that they may announce that decision in the future and he discouraged us from continuing our Hiroshima Day action... If Ubisoft's claims are true, why have they not publicly announced the end of the work for the Army's recruitment videogame, and why have they not ended their contract with Army, set to expire in 2015?