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 11: Children born of conflict-related sexual violence within armed groups: a case study of northern Uganda

Myriam Denov

Abstract

While children have been implicated in armed conflict for centuries – whether as participants, witnesses and/or victims – the conceptualization of who constitutes a ‘child soldier’ has evolved and shifted over the decades. This chapter examines and considers the experiences of children who were born – and in some cases raised – within the context of an armed group. Drawing upon the direct voices of children born in Lord’s Resistance Army captivity in northern Uganda, the chapter explores children’s perspectives on home, family, identity, belonging and post-war reintegration. The chapter concludes with a discussion of programmatic recommendations, as suggested by the children themselves, as well as the implications of this study’s findings for policy with regard to children born of war and our understanding of child soldier reintegration more generally.

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