child soldiers

What happens when child soldiers grow up? The Mozambique case study

This article offers findings on the first longitudinal study of life outcomes for former child soldiers. Between 1988 and 2004, information was prospectively collected on 39 male former child soldiers in Mozambique. The data show that, after 16 years, the vast majority of this group of former child soldiers have become productive, capable and caring adults. At the same time, none of them are truly free from their pasts.

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The transition of teenage girls and young women from ex-combatants to civilian life: a case study in Sri Lanka

This paper describes the lives of young, female former Tamil Tiger fighters, in Batticaloa, after the civil war in Sri Lanka. It shows how the kinship and solidarity found in female networks, in a matrilineal society, has helped them survive the conflict. In Batticaloa, female-headed households bear the main burden for caring for the traumatised, and sometimes injured, returning female, former soldiers. This is done in the absence of social welfare services or specific medical or psychosocial care.

‘I Can’t Go Home’. Forced migration and displacement following demobilisation: the complexity of reintegrating former child soldiers in Colombia

This paper examines the reintegration experiences of a group of demobilised youth who were associated with various armed groups during the course of ongoing armed conflict in Colombia. In particular, the paper traces how the realities of forced migration and displacement profoundly shape and inform their reintegration experiences.

Unfulfilled promises, unsettled youth: the aftermath of conflict for former child soldiers in Yumbe District, north western Uganda

This article addresses the long term impact of having been a child soldier in Yumbe District, Uganda. Within this district, a group of former child soldiers fell beyond the scope of almost all reintegration initiatives from the time a peace agreement was signed in 2002. Ten years after the youths’ return from the bush, the authors used a qualitative approach to understand their present situation.

Child soldiers or war affected children? Why the formerly abducted children of northern Uganda are not child soldiers

In many places around the globe, over many centuries, adults have forcibly involved children in war. In more recent times, these forcibly involved children have come to be collectively referred to as ‘child soldiers’, in an attempt to address the crises that these children experience within war conditions. However, recent field experiences from northern Uganda show that children, formerly abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army, as well as the community they return to, do not consider themselves as soldiers.

Protective and risk factors of psychosocial wellbeing related to the reintegration of former child soldiers in Nepal

This paper explores protective and risk factors for mental health and psychosocial wellbeing among 300 child solders (verified minors) through a longitudinal study. Both the Hopkins Symptoms Check list and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (civilian version) were used to measure mental health problems, while the Generalised Estimating Equation was used to identify both the protective and risk factors over time. Anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder decreased over a nine month period, while depression prevalence did not change.

Harnessing traditional practices for use in the reintegration of child soldiers in Africa: examples from Liberia and Burundi

The changing nature of armed conflict has been characterised by the use of children as soldiers. The disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of these children back into society has become a primary concern for post conflict African countries seeking to achieve a sustainable peace. Studies have emphasised the crucial role of a participatory approach as an important factor in ensuring success in reintegration programmes.