THE USE OF CHILD SOLDIERS IN ARMED CONFLICT
Keywords:child soldiers, armed conflict
The use of the child soldier is by its very nature contradictory. It is therefore not surprising that the law pertaining to and providing protection for the child soldier is uncertain and often vague. The object of this article is to analyse the use of child soldiers in armed conflict, so as to ascertain the complete situation surrounding the child soldier. The relevance of such an examination lies in the fact that the continued dissemination and awareness of this situation will ensure that further preventative and protective measures are
taken, thereby ensuring that the rights of the child soldier are afforded and implemented in a manner consistent with the child’s best interests. The first part of this article serves essentially as a prologue, defining a “child soldier” and highlighting the context in which the analysis of the use of child soldiers will occur. The second part exposes the consequences of participation in armed conflict, whilst exploring some of the encouraging factors of war which contribute to the emergence of the phenomenon of child soldiering.
In law regarding to the child soldier is both analysed and ascertained next, whereafter the full legal position in regard to the child soldier is obtained through the consideration of customary international law. The penultimate part of this article deals with the enforcement and implementation of the law pertaining to the child soldier. The relevance of NGOs and international humanitarian organisations is considered, and recommendations posed by the ICRC are referenced. The conclusion serves to condense the findings of this article, so as to ensure concisely that the full position in relation to the child soldier in armed conflict becomes apparent.
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