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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Rights, Root Causes and Recruitment: The Youth Factor in Africa's Armed Conflicts
Author:MacIntyre, Angela
Periodical:African Security Review
Geographic term:Africa
military recruitment
Politics and Government
Military, Defense and Arms
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10246029.2003.9627224
Abstract:Children are defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child as people under the age of 18. Youth, although commonly used to describe the age group between 15-25, is not a term recognized in legislation designed to protect children. It has, however, become a concept employed by regimes and rebels alike to mobilize Africa's young population for political and military ends. African youth are caught in the chasm between childhood and the unattainable social, political and economic status that would define them as adults. Deprived of educational opportunities and livelihoods, youth are actively mobilized by politicians and armed groups alike, who recognize that their alliance is valuable and their enmity dangerous. The militarization of disaffected young people, of which the problem of child soldiers is only a small part, originates with the idea that youth constitute 'potential': a commodity that can and has been plundered alongside natural resources and public funds to serve the agendas of warfare. This article explores the ways in which African youth are mobilized to support political and military agendas. It suggests that a clearer understanding of these dynamics is necessary if peacebuilding interventions and postconflict recovery efforts are to be sustainable. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]