Breaking the Risk of Conflict Trap: Way forward for Limiting Child Soldiers’ Phenomenon

  •  Siwnan Rasakandan    
  •  Haezreena Begum    


The recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts or child soldier phenomenon has inflicted much pain and suffering to thousands of children in many countries during recent decades. This article examines the pathway to protect children from predatory recruitment as well as the prevention of those who are already recruited from becoming trapped into further violence, generically termed as ‘conflict trap.” In pursuance, the current law shall be applied as an instrument of social engineering to bring about the desired change towards the protection of child soldiers alongside the use of art and science of persuasion in promoting the ideas. Therefore, to accomplish the above desired social change, this article proposes three objectives: firstly, to explain the law in plain terms and present it as a valuable instrument designed to protect children in armed conflict situations; secondly, to enumerate the serious psycho-social impact to the mental health of the child, and the ensuing disruption of the cognitive and affective development of the child, that are often irreversible; thirdly, to present reintegration program that has transformed former child soldiers into international figures like Ishmael Beah. It is premised that these three objectives, if implemented in society, would be successful strategies in imputing the desired social change, which is to rally support for the elimination of child soldiering, thus diminishing some incentives for conflict perpetuation. Therefore, these strategies would help to prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts and in the long term will aid in the breaking away from conflict trap. As child soldiers in previous conflicts will be ready to resume fighting, limiting the impact of conflict traps becomes imperative to preserve a conflict free society.

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