Child Soldiers: Understanding The Context


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

Author: Daya Somasundaram


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

Year: 2002

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