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Sierra Leone and Child Soldiers during the Civil War - Research Paper Example

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The termination of the Cold War ignited an era of ethno-political conflicts that became increasingly internal with characteristic atrocities against neighbors, gender based violence, and butchery. In this era, over 80% of the…
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Sierra Leone and Child Soldiers during the Civil War
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"Sierra Leone and Child Soldiers during the Civil War"

Download file to see previous pages Lightweight assault weapons increased these children’s lethality while others participated in politically motivated, though unstructured, violence like planting bombs or hurling rocks. While the use of child soldiers is a widespread phenomenon in global conflicts, the case of Sierra Leone was the first case that received widespread media coverage.
The issue of child soldiers in Sierra Leone defied gender boundaries with girls joining military drills and activities. Girls made up at least 25% of the rebels in Sierra Leone’s Civil War with typical sexual victimization being rampant as they were forced to service soldiers with sex (Williams 80). This had an especially negative impact on their lives as they were found to be unsuitable for marriage since they were considered impure. Because of desperation, most of them became prostitutes to earn a living. Most child soldiers in Sierra Leone were enlisted through coercion; forced recruitment and mandatory conscription. Whenever the rebels had a shortfall in numbers, they found it convenient to ignore birth dates with no birth records used, except to find out the tribal allegiance of a particular conscript. In fact, even the government turned to the use of child soldiers to counter their use by the rebels. A child who stood as tall as a rifle was considered eligible for conscription into the army. Village headmen were instructed, by local authorities, to provide a specified number of Sierra Leoneans with children being easier to find and conscript (Williams 81).
Some militias in Sierra Leone abducted the children, especially from schools, at gunpoint. Surrounding a school, they would arrest children without explanation and herd them to the forest for training. In other areas, armed militia surrounded public spaces like marketplaces and ordered its occupants to sit before trucking away anyone found “eligible” for service (Maclure & Myriam 120). Those who were most at risk were teenage boys ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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