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Child Soldiers in Africa: A Global Approach to Human Rights Protection, Enforcement and Post-Conflict Reintegration

Child Soldiers in Africa: A Global Approach to Human Rights Protection, Enforcement and... JANET MCKNIGHT ∗ I. INTRODUCTION Today’s warfare in Africa, especially the exploitation, abuse and use of children, is nothing short of a process of self-destruction. This goes to the very heart of whether or not in large portions of Africa there is promise of a future for those societies. —Olara Otunnu, former United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, 2001 1 Children have been recruited in more than 85 countries and have fought in approximately 36 conflicts across the globe.2 They have acted as combatants, mine testers, messengers and cooks. Some children have even been used as human shields or as sex slaves for military leaders. The conscription, recruitment and use of children in armed forces constitute one of the most egregious human rights violations due to the defenselessness of the victims. As former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated in his 2000 Report on Children and Armed Conflict, ‘[children] depend, even more than adults do, on the protection afforded in peacetime by family, society and law’.3 The use of child soldiers encompasses not only human rights violations based on soldiering but also major concerns about child labour, abduction, forced prostitution and slavery. There http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png African Journal of International and Comparative Law Edinburgh University Press

Child Soldiers in Africa: A Global Approach to Human Rights Protection, Enforcement and Post-Conflict Reintegration

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2010
Subject
Articles; African Studies
ISSN
0954-8890
eISSN
1755-1609
DOI
10.3366/ajicl.2010.0001
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

JANET MCKNIGHT ∗ I. INTRODUCTION Today’s warfare in Africa, especially the exploitation, abuse and use of children, is nothing short of a process of self-destruction. This goes to the very heart of whether or not in large portions of Africa there is promise of a future for those societies. —Olara Otunnu, former United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, 2001 1 Children have been recruited in more than 85 countries and have fought in approximately 36 conflicts across the globe.2 They have acted as combatants, mine testers, messengers and cooks. Some children have even been used as human shields or as sex slaves for military leaders. The conscription, recruitment and use of children in armed forces constitute one of the most egregious human rights violations due to the defenselessness of the victims. As former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated in his 2000 Report on Children and Armed Conflict, ‘[children] depend, even more than adults do, on the protection afforded in peacetime by family, society and law’.3 The use of child soldiers encompasses not only human rights violations based on soldiering but also major concerns about child labour, abduction, forced prostitution and slavery. There

Journal

African Journal of International and Comparative LawEdinburgh University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2010

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