Research Handbook on Child Soldiers
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Research Handbook on Child Soldiers

Edited by Mark A. Drumbl and Jastine C. Barrett

Child soldiers remain poorly understood and inadequately protected, despite significant media attention and many policy initiatives. This Research Handbook aims to redress this troubling gap. It offers a reflective, fresh and nuanced review of the complex issue of child soldiering. The Handbook brings together scholars from six continents, diverse experiences, and a broad range of disciplines. Along the way, it unpacks the life-cycle of youth and militarization: from recruitment to demobilization to return to civilian life. The overarching aim of the Handbook is to render the invisible visible – the contributions map the unmapped and chart new directions. Challenging prevailing assumptions and conceptions, the Research Handbook on Child Soldiers focuses on adversity but also capacity: emphasising the resilience, humanity, and potentiality of children affected (rather than ‘afflicted’) by armed conflict.
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Chapter 2: Challenges for the protection of child victims of recruitment and use in an era of complex armed conflicts: the Colombian case

Ana María Jiménez

Abstract

In the last two decades, the dynamics of the organization and operation of armed groups in non-international armed conflicts have changed dramatically. These developments have implications for the application of international standards regarding the recruitment and use of children by armed groups. This chapter analyses these implications in the context of Colombia, which has seen the rise of criminal bands – or ‘BACRIM’ – following the demobilization of paramilitary groups. The chapter begins by discussing the generally shifting nature of armed conflicts and their impact upon children. It then sets out the international legal framework applicable to child recruitment and identifies the main gaps in the application of these legal standards to new conflict dynamics targeting children. This chapter further examines steps taken by the Colombian government to address the situation of child victims of BACRIM, in particular pertaining to the reintegration of children associated with these groups. The chapter exhorts additional legal and political measures to address the situation of child victims of BACRIM in light of the recent peace agreement between the government and the FARC-EP.

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