Sunday, May 27, 2018

Healing for child soldiers

The involvement of children in armed conflict has raised more questions than answers regarding the future of Africa. Child soldiering is strictly prohibited in international law, yet over 500,000 children in conflict hotspots are exposed to the worst forms of cruelty on the face of the earth. Governments and international bodies have discussed remedial policies, but have largely failed to formulate effective reintegration initiatives to tackle this serious problem. Part of this failure lies with inability of Western approaches to child soldiering, and more generally African conflict resolution, to address the local and religious settings of the people. This is a problem because whilst the highly religious nature of African societies can stigmatize former child soldiers, it can also provide a means to reintegrate them back into societies. This article discusses a study conducted by the Charles Wratto Foundation in rural Liberia using local solutions to address local challenges. Among other experiments, indigenous religious purification rites were performed for the acceptance and reintegration of former child soldiers while tribal leaders and youth were trained to discuss tolerance and lead peace-building activities within their respective communities.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The involvement of children in armed conflicts violates fundamental humanitarian principles,exposes them to the risk of death and injury, threatens their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, and draws them into a culture of violence.

 The use of children as soldiers destroys lives, families and the social fabric of communities. Conditions of violence and poverty are perpetuated when children are forced to abandon school and their families to enter conflicts. The practice violates international law, which has established the minimum age of 18 for recruitment into all forms of military service. Action must be taken to ensure that this standard is universally upheld, violators are brought to justice and hope is restored for children trapped in this cycle of violence. It is our responsibility to ensure that they are protected from the horrors of warfare. They are our future, to accept the use of child soldiers in conflict is to accept the destruction of our future!!!