Child soldiers essay thesis

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  3. When a child goes to war

After more than two decades of an immensely cruel war, the Acholi people of Northern Uganda are in a process of healing, both as individuals as well as a society. There are enormous needs to rebuild and repair basically all social There are enormous needs to rebuild and repair basically all social structures. Among the most challenging and painful tasks is the repair of human bonds, like reintegrating former child soldiers —specially the girls, returning from the rebel force, the Lord's Resistance Army. This thesis seeks to understand some of the challenges that are connected to the reconciliation and reintegration process that is taking place.

The study indicates that returned former abducted girls are facing numerous forms of stigmatization as a consequence of fear, skepticism, jealousy and bitterness, but there is more. I suggest that these girls are victims of projection and scapegoating for the survival of the wider society. The former LRA girls and their 'bush-born' children are associated with all of the dangers that can threaten the society.

They are branded with negative values and religious impurity; thus, they are perceived as a hindrance to a revitalization of a positive Acholi identity and restoration of social harmony that are desperately needed in Acholiland.

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A special focus is made in this study, on one of the major stigmas the girls are facing, the stigma of cen —possession of vengeful evil spirits. Accusations of cen directed towards the returned girls by the receiving local community are common, but so is the lack of deeper knowledge of this traditional cosmological concept. The question is; are the accusation based on real fear for the spirit world or on a convenient empty tradition? The returned girls are also symbolizing shared war experiences included experiences 'better left alone', as sexual exploitation and rape.

With their rebel past and fragile sense of belonging, these girls — and their children, become convenient for projection of devastating and stigmatizing experiences and nearly a necessity in the polarity of purification rituals — both for individual and collective purposes. Good has to be separated from evil, pure from impure. This way, shared meaning and belonging, and an Acholi identity to be proud of, may slowly be restored or revitalized and social harmony may return to Northern Uganda. Economic Rehabilitation of Terrorists: What can be learned from Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration programmes?

Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration DDR is fundamental in remaking post-war relationships. This article draws on two sets of field research data from Liberia to highlight the role of social capital in shaping DDR outcomes This article draws on two sets of field research data from Liberia to highlight the role of social capital in shaping DDR outcomes. The way reintegration is communicated and implemented can have a direct impact on all three elements of social capital: promoting norms, developing social networks, and building or undermining relationships and trust.

These components of social capital are directly influenced by reintegration, while also feeding back into how reintegration progresses and is experienced. More specifically, new and existing networks used by excombatants as a way to navigate the post-war environment are an important element of social capital, as it goes through all kinds of distortions and transformations. These networks are important for the survival strategies at work, especially when there are shortcomings in the DDR process.

Finally, a further layer is suggested: that social capital is a factor mediating how reintegration contributes or not to peacebuilding as a whole. There are an estimated , child soldiers on Earth right now. Those fortunate enough to escape to a rehabilitation center are often severely traumatized by their experiences. Due to lack of a stable support system, many former child Due to lack of a stable support system, many former child soldiers end up committing suicide or return to armed factions.

This study reviewed 21 peer-reviewed articles and government publications, as well as 3 personal accounts of former child soldiers in an effort to understand the effects of child conscription and recommend new interventions for the rehabilitation of child soldiers. Current interventions include providing basic necessities, such as food, clothing, and housing; narrative, art, and music therapy; education and vocational training, and emphasizing forgiveness. Among the challenges to successful intervention are a lack of suitable rehabilitation centers, equipment, and staff, continued conflict and disease in low-resource areas, cultural taboos and hostility towards former child soldiers.

Sadly, intervention efforts may be ineffective due to continued conflict and low economic opportunity. Improved trauma therapy, education, and vocational training are critical for rehabilitation in politically volatile regions. Benjamin Mitchell. Nearly 30 years of This paper argues that there is a direct relationship between the youth of Somalia and terrorism, with youth being the determinant in either the acquirement of stability or the growth of terrorism in Africa and worldwide.

Much has been written about reintegration of ex-combatants in a traditional or conventional disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration DDR programme. This volume examines reintegration of ex-combatants in a un-conventional DDR in This volume examines reintegration of ex-combatants in a un-conventional DDR in which a cash-based scheme replaced a reintegration programme.

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It uncovers the dilemmas surrounding the un-conventional DDR programme in Nepal, situating the phenomena in the divisive politics of war to peace transition. Drawing on the narratives and perceptions of ex-combatants and their families, the volume provides a compelling analysis of why some ex-combatants reintegrate socially and economically better than others at the end of a war.

Analysing the consequences and effects of reintegration of Maoist ex-combatants in post-conflict peace and security, the volume argues that cash-based schemed in DDR programme can pacify ex-combatants and de-politicise a DDR programme but cash alone can not reintegrate ex-combatants. Although the reintegration of ex-combatants and reconciliation were the key elements of peacebuilding in Nepal, they were carried out in total isolation from each other.

While the process to reintegrate ex-combatants is arguably over, While the process to reintegrate ex-combatants is arguably over, post-war reconciliation has not begun yet.

In this context, analysing the nexus between social reintegration of ex-combatants and post-conflict reconciliation, this chapter explores the implication of reintegration in reconciliation and vice versa. DB Subedi. A number of studies have documented and analyzed forced marriage patterns and realities of girls within the Lord's Resistance Army LRA. However, the impact of wartime abduction, captivity and forced marriage on forging and sustaining However, the impact of wartime abduction, captivity and forced marriage on forging and sustaining post-LRA marriage relationships has been under-researched.

This article contributes to addressing this gap by examining how stigma against female LRA ex-abductees influences their prospects for choices in marriage as they seek to reintegrate in communities of Uganda. Drawing on findings from Acholi area of northern Uganda, the article discusses how cultural and traditional perspectives stigmatize female ex-ab-ductees, considered as 'unacceptable', 'stained' and therefore 'unmarriageable'.

The findings suggest that stigma adversely affects access to key community relationships such as marriage, thereby hindering social and economic opportunities for recovery and reintegration among the female ex-abductees in Uganda. Jenning Leung. Related Topics. Child-Rearing Practices. Follow Following. Social Representations. W ar, as it is said, is hell, and no war has ever exempted children, either as victims or combatants. Our recent attention to the practice of child soldiering is less about changes in the nature of modern combat and more to do with the globalising ideal of childhood as a sheltered period of development.

As it so happened, we reached this point right around the time capitalism defeated communism and the end-of-history theorists gleefully declared there were no wars left to fight. What remains is pacification, to clean up the crazy or evil groups who decline to get with the program. In this way, the child soldier comes to stand for all illegitimate armed groups, whose motives are always irrational — as are those of the child soldier.

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Their fighting is a misguided response to trauma, or the result of cult-style programming, or is forced by the threat of violence from a monomaniacal strongman. In the age of liberal democracy and non-violent resistance, all insurgency is as unnatural as an adolescent lieutenant. Once a militia anywhere in the world is accused of using child soldiers, the West is self-authorised to intervene and restore order. Kony was a good internet joke, but it also led directly to congressmen in both houses and parties calling for an increased US presence in central Africa.

In his book Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy , Mark A Drumbl cites just a few examples: Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian general and the author of On War , joined the Prussian army at 12; Alexander the Great became regent and quelled a Thracian rebellion at 16; and Joan of Arc was also a teenager when she petitioned the king for permission to travel with the army to Orleans in David was even more precocious when he slew Goliath and ascended to the throne.

And there were teens at the Boston Tea Party in , while the year-old Samuel Maverick was one of five colonists killed at the Boston Massacre in Drumbl also includes the civil rights activist Claudette Colvin, who at the age of 15, nine months before Rosa Parks, refused to give up her bus seat.

The list goes on, and for all the names we know, there are many more lost to time. On the contrary, inspired children were a sign of favour from God — or history. The presence of child soldiers today immediately depoliticises the conflict and renders it a question of criminality , but child soldiers in old war stories raise the question of the future, which is to say now. Whatever they did, after all, got us here.

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When a child goes to war

Think about the boy wizard Harry Potter: a war orphan seized from his surviving relatives at age 10, Harry is brought to a secluded academy run by former militants, told he is destined for glory, and taught to fight. When the warlord who killed his parents returns to make a power play, the teenage Harry raises and trains an armed cadre of his fellow high-schoolers to fight internal and external enemies. One of these child soldiers is killed in an ensuing battle. In the remake, the invader is North Korea. The protagonists are a scrappy group of Colorado high-schoolers who take to the hills and mount an offensive against the Ruskies.

They fought here alone and gave up their lives, so that this nation shall not perish from the earth. The Harry Potter series underestimates the lifelong trauma these children would experience, never mind whether they should be immediately taking jobs as civil servants.


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International standards would call for them to be demobilised and reintegrated into the civilian population. But at least in Harry Potter or, for that matter, The Hunger Games novels by Suzanne Collins, children get to experience a range of emotions, to make choices and have intentions. This flat image serves the interests of aid organisations and the UN General Assembly, but it requires us to ignore the voices of the children themselves.

The rhetoric assumes the child soldiers are abducted or coerced, but surveys of youth recruits to the LTTE suggest that this is relatively rare. In one survey, 18 of 19 teenage boys from the LTTE said they joined voluntarily.


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  4. But can a child truly volunteer to join an army? Even when they enlist by choice, child soldiers do so under a set of constraining circumstances. Young women described their enlistment as a flight from sexual violence and other exploitation into a structured military environment.

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    If boy soldiers are depicted as intrinsically vulnerable, then girl soldiers are doubly so. Consumers of Western media have learned to make the mental leap between young women in danger overseas — and rape. In an effort to record the stories of girls themselves, in a team of local researchers led by Yvonne E Keairns of the Quaker UN Office interviewed 24 young women from across four conflicts: Angola, Colombia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

    But of the other 18 girls, 17 had joined guerrilla groups voluntarily, and their testimony about their choices sheds light on the complexity lacking in our portrait of child soldiers. Many of the young women interviewed described their enlistment as a flight from sexual violence and other forms of exploitation in the home into a structured military environment. When these groups did exercise reproductive control, it was usually in the form of forced contraception and abortions to maintain the fitness of the fighting corps. One Sri Lankan militant describes escaping her home on the eve of an unwanted marriage.

    The statements of the Filipina militants are especially striking: the girls report taking part in a culture of mutual criticism, where they had plenty of time to study, and the group listened to their voices.