Protection versus reintegration of child soldiers: assistance trade-offs within the child protection regime

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Policy responses to child soldiering focus on criminalising recruitment and preventing re-recruitment of children who have already fought in war. These dominant remedial measures are rooted in legal approaches that reflect securitised strategies; namely, symbolic prosecution of child recruitment as a war crime to deter future child recruitment. Yet, criminalisation has had minimal impact on conflict-affected children and has failed to prevent child soldiering. Moreover, criminalisation produces tradeoffs with assistance programmes for former child soldiers. Despite recognition that children should participate in decisions affecting their well-being, child reintegration efforts rarely consult children about key decisions, let alone conceptualise ways to encourage their active participation in decision-making. Meanwhile, programs designed to help children after war remain short term and ill-suited to children’s own post-war needs and aspirations. Designing more effective post-war reintegration assistance will likely require recognising child agency and breaking up the monopoly that criminalisation strategies currently possess.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational child protection
Subtitle of host publicationtowards politics and participation
EditorsNeil Howard, Samuel Okyere
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783030787639
ISBN (Print)9783030787622
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePalgrave studies on children and development
ISSN (Print)2947-5724
ISSN (Electronic)2947-5732


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