Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Child Soldiers

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

Where Are the Girls?: Girls in Fighting Forces in Northern Uganda, Sierra Leone and Mozambique : Their Lives During and After War

Citation:

McKay, Susan, and Dyan E. Mazurana. 2004. Where Are the Girls?: Girls in Fighting Forces in Northern Uganda, Sierra Leone and Mozambique: Their Lives During and After War. Montréal, Quebec: Rights & Democracy.

Authors: Susan McKay, Dyan E. Mazurana

Abstract:

By contributing to what is currently known about girls' distinct experiences in fighting forces, the presentation of findings from our study of girls in fighting forces is intended to assist the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the United Nations, other donors, conflictaffected governments, and local, national and international governmental and non-governmental organizations in developing policies and programs to help protect and empower girls in situations of armed conflict and postwar reconstruction. In addition, this book should alert child protection advocates at all levels to the presence and experiences of girls in fighting forces and facilitate the design of responsive gender-based policy, advocacy and programs. This book presents findings from a research study entitled "Girls in Militaries, Paramilitaries, Militias, and Armed Opposition Groups" for which we were co-investigators. Our work was funded by CIDA's Child Protection Research Fund and implemented in partnership with Rights & Democracy. The study examined the presence and experiences of girls in fighting forces and groups within the context of three African armed conflicts: Mozambique (1976-1992), Northern Uganda (1986-present) and Sierra Leone (1991-2002). Fieldwork in these countries was conducted between September 2001 and October 2002. In addition to that study, this book includes findings of a parallel study, "Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration: The Experiences and Roles of Girls in Sierra Leone and Northern Uganda," by Dyan Mazurana and Khristopher Carlson, which was funded by the Policy Commission of Women Waging Peace. Fieldwork for this parallel study was conducted between September 2002 and February 2003. One purpose of this research was to gather and analyze data to better enhance the protection of war-affected children, in particular, girls in fighting forces. Within the context of Northern Uganda, Sierra Leone and Mozambique, girls in the fighting forces have suffered major human rights violations, especially gender-based violence. The rights of these girls are under threat from their own governments, armed opposition forces, and, occasionally, by members of their communities and families. At times, girls are discriminated against by local groups and officials, governments and international bodies that keep secret or are unwilling to recognize their presence, needs and rights during conflict, post-conflict, demobilization and social reintegration.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Uganda

Year: 2004

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

Culture, Religion, and the Reintegration of Female Child Soldiers in Northern Uganda

Citation:

Mæland, Bård, ed. 2010. Culture, Religion, and the Reintegration of Female Child Soldiers in Northern Uganda. New York: Peter Lang.

Author: Bård Mæland

Abstract:

The reintegration of thousands of formerly abducted children from the Lord's Resistance Army back to their families and communities in northern Uganda represents tremendous challenges. Culture, Religion, and the Reintegration of Female Child Soldiers in Northern Uganda examines cultural and religious complexities that surround young females who are now returning to the society of northern Uganda, often accompanied by their own children. Understanding the religiously and ritually rich Acholi and North Ugandan context and culture is important for the success of the ongoing reintegration. This collection consists of contributions from diverse fields, such as anthropology, psychology, moral philosophy, religious studies, and theology. (Amazon)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, Gender, Girls, Religion Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2010

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

Year: 2010

Towards a Gender-Inclusive Definition of Child Soldiers: The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga

Citation:

Gallagher, Kristin. 2010. “Towards a Gender-Inclusive Definition of Child Soldiers: The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga.” Eyes on the ICC 7: 115–36.

Author: Kristin Gallagher

Abstract:

This article addresses the importance of the first case before the International Criminal Court through the lens of gender analysis. While the charges against the defendant in The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo are limited to conscripting and enlisting child soldiers and using them actively in hostilities, the case has huge precedential value because it will be the first decided before the International Criminal Court. This article argues for a broad interpretation of the law so that female child soldiers receive protection and recognition under the law.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, Gender Analysis, International Law, International Criminal Law Regions: Africa

Year: 2010

'Paper Protection' Mechanisms: Child Soldiers and the International Protection of Children in Africa's Conflict Zones

Citation:

Francis, David J. 2007. “‘Paper Protection’ Mechanisms: Child Soldiers and the International Protection of Children in Africa’s Conflict Zones.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 45 (2): 207–31.

Author: David J. Francis

Abstract:

The arrest and prosecution in March 2006 of the former Liberian warlord-President Charles Taylor by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, for war crimes including the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and the arrest and prosecution of the Congolese warlord, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, by the International Criminal Court, accused of enlisting child soldiers in the DRC war, have raised expectations that finally international conventions and customary international laws protecting children in conflict zones will now have enforcement powers. But why has it taken so long to protect children in conflict situations despite the volume of international treaties and conventions? What do we know about the phenomenon of child soldiering, and why are children still routinely recruited and used in Africa's bloody wars? This article argues that against the background of unfolding events relating to prosecution for enlistment of child soldiers, the international community is beginning to wake up to the challenge of enforcing its numerous 'paper protection' instruments for the protection of children. However, a range of challenges still pose serious threats to the implementation and enforcement of the international conventions protecting children. Extensive research fieldwork in Liberia and Sierra Leone over three years reveals that the application of the restrictive and Western-centric definition and construction of a 'child' and 'childhood' raises inherent difficulties in the African context. In addition, most war-torn and post-conflict African societies are faced with the challenge of incorporating international customary laws into their domestic laws. The failure of the international community to enforce its standards on child soldiers also has to do with the politics of ratification of international treaties, in particular the fear by African governments of setting dangerous precedents, since they are also culpable of recruitment and use of child soldiers.

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

Year: 2007

Kindergarten Killers: Morality, Murder and the Child Soldier Problem

Citation:

Faulkner, Frank. 2001. “Kindergarten Killers: Morality, Murder and the Child Soldier Problem.” Third World Quarterly 22 (4): 491–504.

Author: Frank Faulkner

Abstract:

The argument advanced refers to the problem of children serving as soldiers in various military or quasi-military groups around the world. It looks to international law for guidelines on how this situation might be brought to an end, examining legislation currently in force, and also why enforcement has proved to be problematical. Given the apparent inadequacies of legal instruments to prevent this type of issue occurring, this article takes a closer examination of the conditions that create underage combatants, together with analysis of the effects this has on the young people involved. In support of these observations, the text offers a real world look at the problem in Sierra Leone, a country that has suffered years of divisive internecine warfare featuring the extensive use of children in combat roles. In a postwar situation, the study includes analysis of the difficulties of rehabilitating Sierra Leonian children traumatised by combat experiences, which reflects on the larger dilemma of national reconciliation and peace building.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2001

Pages

© 2021 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.

Subscribe to RSS - Child Soldiers