Small Wars Journal

Child Soldiers, NGO’s And the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child

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The recruitment, enlistment and use of children younger than eighteen to participate actively in hostilities is prohibited under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but many nations have either found ways to circumvent the letter of the protocol or blatantly disregard it. So, how pervasive is this practice? What are the repercussions for children forced to serve? How do you address the victim/perpetrator dynamic that arises with child soldiers?

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About the Author(s)

Christopher S. Knott is pursuing a graduate degree in Global Studies, with the University of Pennsylvania.  He is an Air Force veteran with experiences in Kenya, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and various other conflict areas.