n African Human Rights Law Journal - When a child is not a child : the scourge of child soldiering in Africa

Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



The important place of children as integral to every country's future has been documented in legal, political, social and economic doctrine on domestic, regional and international platforms. Human rights instruments and covenants all espouse the protection of the child with concomitant rights and state obligations. Yet, despite this, in several countries in Africa, one finds children being abused through the wholly unconscionable practice of child soldiering. Whilst this scourge is not only an African problem, it is recognised that the dilemma is critical in Africa. This article examines the reasons why any country and / or military group / person would introduce children to armed conflict, the effect of such engagement on the child victim, and the international and African regional legal conventions. Taking cognisance of the continued abuse of children as participants in armed conflict, the writer makes recommendations for the elimination of the crisis, at both national and international levels. If the terror is allowed to continue unchecked, the consequences for Africa will, inevitably, be the emergence of a generation of disaffected individuals with concomitant limitations for growth and development personally and for Africa, as a whole. This is not the legacy of the African renaissance.

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