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 14: Minors and miners: accountability beyond child soldiering in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Sharanjeet Parmar and Yann Lebrat


This chapter argues that efforts to prevent serious violations against children in armed conflict must directly target economic crimes, a key underlying driver of armed conflict. Through a case study of the use of child labour in gold mining in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the chapter reveals the active involvement of the Congolese army in economic crimes that contribute to the commission of such violations. This chapter juxtaposes this finding with recent action by the UN rewarding the DRC government for having lowered rates of child recruitment by the Congolese army. In conclusion, the chapter finds that the UN-led children and armed conflict agenda remains funnelled through a child soldier lens that must be expanded to include broader violations such as child labour in conflict-affected mining areas. The chapter concludes with policy recommendations to improve the coordination of reform efforts and anti-impunity initiatives at the national, regional and international level to effectively prevent violations that affect children in armed conflict.

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