Child Soldiers in Africa: A Disaster for Future Families


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


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: Age, Youth, 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

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