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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Paper Protection' Mechanisms: Child Soldiers and the International Protection of Children in Africa's Conflict Zones
Author:Francis, David J.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
Sierra Leone
Subjects:child soldiers
law of war
Military, Defense and Arms
Miscellaneous (i.e. Demography, Refugees, Sports)
international relations
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4501279
Abstract:Against the background of unfolding events relating to prosecution for enlistment of child soldiers - the arrest and prosecution of the former Liberian warlord, President Charles Taylor, by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in March 2006, and that of the Congolese warlord, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, by the International Criminal Court - the international community is beginning to wake up to the challenge of enforcing its numerous 'paper protection' instruments for the protection of children in conflict zones. However, a range of challenges still pose serious threats to the implementation and enforcement of the international treaties and conventions protecting children. Extensive research fieldwork in Liberia and Sierra Leone over three years (2001-2003) reveals that the application of the restrictive and Western-centric definition and construction of a 'child' and 'childhood' raises inherent difficulties in the African context. In addition, most war-torn and postconflict African societies are faced with the challenge of incorporating international customary laws into their domestic laws. The failure of the international community to enforce its standards on child soldiers also has to do with the politics of ratification of international treaties, in particular the fear by African governments of setting dangerous precedents, since they are also culpable of recruitment and use of child soldiers. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]