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Boys

Beyond Civil Society: Child Soldiers as Citizens in Mozambique

Citation:

Thompson, Carol B. 1999. “Beyond Civil Society: Child Soldiers as Citizens in Mozambique.” Review of African Political Economy 26 (80): 191–206.

Author: Carol B. Thompson

Abstract:

The conditions match any of the most terrifying and depraved suffered by past generations afflicted by war. Yet the victims are not only soldiers. At the beginning of this century, 90 per cent of war casualties in Mozambique were military; today about 90 per cent are civilian. Yet even this sobering UNDP (1994) figure does not name the problem, for the term ‘civilian’ obfuscates the vulnerability and innocence of child victims. The conditions for children who are forced to bear arms erase the traditional analytical categories of military, civilian and child. An estimated 300,000 children under 18, some as young as five years old, are currently serving in 36 wars around the world right now.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Society, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Mozambique

Year: 1999

Child Soldiers: Understanding The Context

Citation:

Somasundaram, Daya. 2002. “Child Soldiers: Understanding The Context.” British Medical Journal 324 (7348): 1268–71.

Author: Daya Somasundaram

Abstract:

This article analyzes the reasons why children join – or are forced to join – armies. The author posits that if we are to prevent children fighting in wars, we need to understand the conditions under which children become soldiers. By understanding these conditions, organizations, societies and other invested parties will be able to improve them and thus prevent children becoming soldiers.

The author finds that the reasons why children become soldiers can be categorized into ‘push and pull’ factors, a categorization system which has also been used by the International Labour Organization.

According to the author, the only way to reduce the phenomenon of child soldiers is to improve the push and pull factors: institutional violence, traumatization (push factors) and disillusionment, entrapment, curiosity (pull factors). (Save the Children)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, Health, Trauma, Violence

Year: 2002

Child Soldiers in Africa: A Disaster for Future Families

Citation:

Skinner, Elliott P. 1999. “Child Soldiers in Africa: A Disaster for Future Families.” International Journal on World Peace 16 (2): 7–22.

Author: Elliott P. Skinner

Abstract:

In the African civil wars of the last twenty years, an increasing number of combatants are as young as 8 or 10, with girl fighters increasingly common. Once inducted into the army it is difficult to reintegrate youth into society. In Sierra Leone, some youngsters were radicalized politically, finding little difference between the merits of democracy and the evils of militarism. Many of these children will be unable to raise viable families or lead viable societies. Human Rights Watch advocates a minimum age of eighteen for involvement in armed conflict of any kind. It seeks to have governments immediately release children to their families, or if they cannot be found, to appropriate alternative care that takes into account the needs of young people.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Girls, Boys, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Rights, Human Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 1999

Child Soldiers, International Humanitarian Law, and the Globalization of Childhood

Citation:

Rosen, David M. 2007. “Child Soldiers, International Humanitarian Law, and the Globalization of Childhood.” American Anthropologist, New Series, 109 (2): 296–306.

Author: David M. Rosen

Abstract:

This article reviews the development of the laws and treaties regulating the use of child soldiers and the political, social, and cultural context in which these developments are grounded. Humanitarian and human rights groups have undertaken a major initiative to end the use of young combatants. These efforts are part of a larger children's human rights project designed to create a universal definition of "childhood." Casting the proposed ban on child soldiers in the language of human rights deflects attention from the enormity of the social and cultural changes involved in the proposed transnational restructuring of age categories. Treaty-making efforts reflect an emerging "politics of age" that shapes the concept of "childhood" in international law, and in which different international, regional, and local actors make use of age categories to advance particular political and ideological positions.

Keywords: child soldiers, globalization, age, law, Rights

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, Humanitarian Assistance, International Law, International Humanitarian Law IHL, Rights, Human Rights

Year: 2007

Military Patrimonialism and Child Soldier Clientalism in the Liberian and Sierra Leonean Civil Wars

Citation:

Murphy, William P. 2003. “Military Patrimonialism and Child Soldier Clientalism in the Liberian and Sierra Leonean Civil Wars.” African Studies Review 46 (2): 61-87.

Author: William P. Murphy

Abstract:

This article uses a Weberian model of patrimonialism to analyze clientalist and "staff" roles of child soldiers in the military regimes of the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone. It thereby examines institutional aspects of child soldier identity and behavior not addressed in other standard models of child soldiers as coerced victims, revolutionary idealists, or delinquent opportunists. It shifts analytical attention from nation-state patrimonialism to the patrimonial dimensions of rebel regimes. It locates child soldiers within a social organization of domination and reciprocity based on violence structured through patronage ties with military commanders. It identifies child soldier "staff" functions within the administration of a patrimonial regime. A Weberian focus on the institutionalization and strategies of domination and dependency provides a corrective to views that exoticize child soldiers, decontextualize their behavior, or essentialize their "youth" as an explanatory principle.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone

Year: 2003

Razing Child Soldiers

Citation:

Monforte, Tanya M. 2007. “Razing Child Soldiers. Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, no. 27, 169–208.

Author: Tanya M. Monforte

Abstract:

This article traces the usages of the term 'the child' as a legal concept set in dialectical relationships on three levels of narrative. First, the emergence of the child in international law is described and read critically as a progress narrative imparting a tale of the historical emergence of children's rights. The second section examines the text of the "Child Soldiers Case" in Sierra Leone as a moment of confronting, and ultimately repressing, the 'child soldier' as a legal fiction. The third section attempts to locate the dislocated author and addressee of the primary narratives of the child soldiers' story, and draws out the uses of childhood as a rhetorical stabilizer in the absolute unstable: war.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, International Law, Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2007

Reintegrating Young Combatants: do child-centred approaches leave children—and adults—behind?

Citation:

McMullin, Jaremy. 2011. “Reintegrating Young Combatants: Do Child-Centred Approaches Leave Children—and Adults—behind?” Third World Quarterly 32 (4): 743–64.

Author: Jaremy McMullin

Abstract:

This article uses recent experience in Angola to demonstrate that young fighters were not adequately or effectively assisted after war ended in 2002. The government's framework excluded children from accessing formal disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programmes, and its subsequent attempts to target children have largely failed. More critically the case of Angola calls into question the broader effectiveness and appropriateness of child-centred DDR. First, such targeting is inappropriate to distinct postconflict contexts and constructs a 'template child' asserted to be more vulnerable and deserving than adult ex-combatants, which does little to further the reintegration of either group, or the rights of the child in a conflict context. Second, child-centred reintegration efforts tend to deny children agency as actors in their own reintegration. Third, such efforts contribute to the normalisation of a much larger ideational and structural flaw of post-conflict peace building, wherein 'success' is construed as the reintegration of large numbers of beneficiaries back into the poverty and marginalisation that contributed to conflict in the first place.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, DDR, Gender, Girls, Boys, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Angola

Year: 2011

International Law and the Child Soldier

Citation:

Mann, Howard. 1987. “International Law and the Child Soldier.” The International and Comparative Law Quarterly 36 (1): 32–57.

Author: Howard Mann

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, International Law

Year: 1987

Troubling Humanitarian Consumption: Reframing Relationality in African Child Soldier Narratives

Citation:

Mackey, Allison. 2013. “Troubling Humanitarian Consumption: Reframing Relationality in African Child Soldier Narratives.” Research in African Literatures 44 (4): 99–122. doi:10.2979/reseafrilite.44.4.99.

Author: Allison Mackey

Abstract:

Given the proliferation of representations of child soldiers in contemporary socio-political, legal, and cultural discourse, I explore how the figure of the African child soldier is being mobilized and challenged in the twenty-first century by considering what imaginative and unsettling cultural and political work is being performed in a selection of autobiographical and fictional narratives: Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone (2007), Senait Mehari's Heart of Fire (2006), Emmanuel Jal's Warchild (2009), Uzodinma Iweala's Beasts of No Nation (2005), Chris Abani's Song for Night (2007), and Delia Jarrett-McCauley's Moses, Citizen, and Me (2005). How are we to hear the voice of the child soldier, as a quintessential figure of the voiceless, when it asserts itself within an imagined transnational community of writers/readers of literature? I suggest that, even though they participate in an ethically and market-based economy of humanitarian consumption, the relational and indirect narrative strategies in these texts trouble the already troubled relationship between the spaces where child soldiers are being used and those where narratives about them are being consumed. Although there are no guarantees as to how these texts are taken up by readers, they at least have the potential of coaxing the reader into confronting difficult questions about the limits of “universal” human rights and into recognizing a need to radically rethink planetary relations.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys Regions: Africa

Year: 2013

Posttraumatic Resilience in Former Ugandan Child Soldiers

Citation:

Klasen, Fionna, Judith Daniels, Gabriele Oettingen, Manuela Post, Catrin Hoyer, and Hubertus Adam. 2010. “Posttraumatic Resilience in Former Ugandan Child Soldiers.” Child Development 81 (4): 1096–1113.

Authors: Fionna Klasen, Judith Daniels, Gabriele Oettingen, Manuela Post, Catrin Hoyer, Hubertus Adam

Abstract:

The present research examines posttraumatic resilience in extremely exposed children and adolescents based on interviews with 330 former Ugandan child soldiers (age = 11-17, female = 48.5%). Despite severe trauma exposure, 27.6% showed posttraumatic resilience as indicated by the absence of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and clinically significant behavioral and emotional problems. Among these former child soldiers, posttraumatic resilience was associated with lower exposure to domestic violence, lower guilt cognitions, less motivation to seek revenge, better socioeconomic situation in the family, and more perceived spiritual support. Among the youth with significant psychopathology, many of them had symptoms extending beyond the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder, in keeping with the emerging concept of developmental trauma disorder. Implications for future research, intervention, and policy are discussed.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, Health, PTSD, Trauma Regions: Africa, East Africa

Year: 2010

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