Child Soldiers in Africa: Solutions to a Complex Dilemma
This article focuses on the dilemma of using child soldiers in violent conflicts throughout Africa and on ways of resolving it in the future. The first section briefly examines some important domestic and international aspects and dimensions of the problem. Then, attention is shifted to particular individual countries on the continent in which the use of children in battle has been most prevalent during the past decade. The next section reviews some recent efforts by the international community to assuage the crisis, offers recommendations on how they can be improved, and raises alternative ideas for new strategies and initiatives. Finally, a conclusion ties all this information together and suggests a hopeful future for the children of war-torn countries in Africa.
In recent years, the use of child soldiers by both government forces and insurgent groups in African countries such as Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and Sudan has been harshly condemned by the international community. Past efforts to alleviate the problem have been somewhat ineffective and many children continue to engage in violent conflict either voluntarily or against their will. The dimensions of this terrible dilemma are complex and widespread, stemming from both domestic and global forces. There is still hope, however, for the children of these war-torn nations. Many countries and international organisations are joining together to develop new strategies that will discourage the use of child soldiers and punish those groups and governments that do. It is extremely important that the United States support these endeavours in their early stages so that effective measures can be implemented that may one day help solve the problem.