Child soldiers in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Rakisits, Claude 2008, Child soldiers in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Refugee survey quarterly, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 108-122, doi: 10.1093/rsq/hdn054.

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Title Child soldiers in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Author(s) Rakisits, Claude
Journal name Refugee survey quarterly
Volume number 27
Issue number 4
Start page 108
End page 122
Total pages 15
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Geneva, Switzerland
Publication date 2008
ISSN 1020-4067
Summary According to the academic literature, the most widely used estimate is that approximately 300,000 children are part of regular and irregular armies worldwide, either as combatants or as support personnel. Moreover, most scholars believe that their numbers are growing. However, the truth is that no one really knows the actual number of child soldiers fighting in some seventy-two government or rebel forces in about twenty countries. This is simply because field work on this subject is notoriously difficult. And as it is in breach of international humanitarian law to engage a child under the age of 18 years, regular armies and guerrilla forces are hardly going to publicize the number of child soldiers in their ranks. Whatever the true number of child soldiers may be, the fact remains that child soldiers have become a principal component of military forces across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. For Africa alone, estimates suggest that there are 120,000 children, 40 per cent of all child soldiers. Moreover, not only has Africa experienced the fastest growth in the use of child soldiers, but the average age of the children enlisted in some African countries is declining as well. And this is despite the fact that there are a number of international treaties and principles that prohibit the use of child soldiers. Successfully bringing peace, security, and the rule of law in the Kivu provinces, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), will be a massive challenge that will require domestic and regional measures implemented over probably several years. This will necessitate the continued active political and financial support of the international community.
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/rsq/hdn054
Field of Research 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©UNHCR 2009 All rights reserved.
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of International and Political Studies
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