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Child Soldier - Research Paper Example

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Date Child Soldier Abstract Two million children have died in conflict over the last ten years. Over a million children have been orphaned, over six million have become permanently disabled or incurred serious injuries and over ten million have been left in a state of chronic psychological trauma (Andvig & Gates, 5)…
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Child Soldier
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Download file to see previous pages They end up being victims of trauma due to exposure to violence; they are deprived of education are at risk of ending up as child soldiers (Ozerdem & Podde, 13). There is a high probability that children who live in conflict areas get deprived of basic needs such as food, shelter and medical attention. To add on to this, the issue of relief for children tends to be given the last priority when in war. This results in insufficient or zero protection for minors. Due to their physical constitution and growth, children are most vulnerable to being deprived of basic needs such as food and medical assistance and this has a severe impact on how they develop. Since 1998, armed conflicts that involve child soldiers have been recorded in at least 36 countries (Child soldiers; global report 2004). The traumatic scars that are left on these children are just one out of many post war problems that face such countries. There are other problems such as food shortages, refugees and mourning for relatives lost in the war. Former Child Soldiers are in most cases forgotten about and if remembered it will be for the purposes of blaming them for the war. Children who come from families that are poor and disadvantaged and who may be seeking for a sense of belonging, physical support or revenge for losing their families are particularly vulnerable to exploitation in periods of conflict. In some cases, children are kidnapped and forcefully trained to become fighters. Estimates indicate that in the last 15 years the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) alone has kidnapped over 15,000 children from areas around Gulu, northern Uganda (Wessells 35). The targeting of children is deliberate as they are easily manipulated compared to adults and can be made to perform atrocities and crimes without asking questions. The accessibility of light weaponry is also a contributor to child soldiering as it makes it possible for even the very young children to use and bear arms. Efforts made by the United Nations in naming and shaming governments and rebel groups that do not abide by the international and domestic laws that uphold children’s right have had very limited effect in combating this vice. The annual report by the Secretary General lists dozens of groups and several governments that continue to use or recruit children in their armed forces. Africa has the largest number of child soldiers despite the signing of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in 1999 which is the only regional treaty that outlaws child involvement in armed conflicts in the world (Child soldiers; global report 2004). In 2010, the United Nations together with other rights organizations launched the Zero under 18 Campaign which is aimed at attaining universal ratification of the child rights protocol by the year 2012. The ultimate goal is to ending impunity for those who violate children rights and strengthen enforcement of laws against such violations. Graca Machel (UN 1996) states that war is a violation of the right of a child to life and the right to have a family that nurtures and respects the child. Process Analysis The main sources of material used in this research were anecdotal reports and academia journals. These reports gave valuable insight and information on the issue of child soldiers. Relevant literature on the topic was obtained ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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