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Full Access From Youth Affected by War to Advocates of Peace, Round Table Discussions with Former Child Combatants from Sudan, Sierra Leone and Cambodia

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From Youth Affected by War to Advocates of Peace, Round Table Discussions with Former Child Combatants from Sudan, Sierra Leone and Cambodia

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There are a roughly estimated 250,000 children serving as combatants in armed groups worldwide. They are forced to perpetrate horrific violence and subjected to the same. Studies on the impact of the use of children in armed conflict have tended to focus on the demographics, roles and mental health outcomes of this population and programs are centered on rehabilitation. Few programs, however, are focused on mitigating access, stopping recruitment and securing the release of child combatants during the thick of the conflict or in its immediate aftermath. These interventions are desperately needed not only to ensure the protection of children, but also to help stop conflict and insecurity. In order to gain insight into what more can be done, particularly by security forces, to prevent and ideally halt the practice of using children in combat, the Child Soldiers Initiative hosted a two-day Round Table meeting in Halifax Canada with former child combatants from Sierra Leone, Sudan and Cambodia, academics and humanitarian non-governmental organizations to examine this issue. The results of this meeting are summarized here and include recommendations made to communities, humanitarian organizations, United Nations and peacekeeping forces that address strategies for reducing access and mitigating the use of children in combat.

Affiliations: 1: McGill University, Department of Family Medicine; 2: Paediatric Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children; 3: American Red Cross ; 4: Office of the Lieutenant General the Honorable Roméo A. Dallaire (Retired) ; 5: Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, Dalhousie University

10.1163/187541111X613614
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There are a roughly estimated 250,000 children serving as combatants in armed groups worldwide. They are forced to perpetrate horrific violence and subjected to the same. Studies on the impact of the use of children in armed conflict have tended to focus on the demographics, roles and mental health outcomes of this population and programs are centered on rehabilitation. Few programs, however, are focused on mitigating access, stopping recruitment and securing the release of child combatants during the thick of the conflict or in its immediate aftermath. These interventions are desperately needed not only to ensure the protection of children, but also to help stop conflict and insecurity. In order to gain insight into what more can be done, particularly by security forces, to prevent and ideally halt the practice of using children in combat, the Child Soldiers Initiative hosted a two-day Round Table meeting in Halifax Canada with former child combatants from Sierra Leone, Sudan and Cambodia, academics and humanitarian non-governmental organizations to examine this issue. The results of this meeting are summarized here and include recommendations made to communities, humanitarian organizations, United Nations and peacekeeping forces that address strategies for reducing access and mitigating the use of children in combat.

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/content/journals/10.1163/187541111x613614
2012-01-01
2016-12-08

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