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Demobilizing the minors: Examining compliance with international child soldiering laws.

Davis, Jennifer Ann
June 4, 2015

Source: (2011) Dissertation. Doctor of Philosophy. The George Washington university.

Why do some states follow international laws prohibiting the use of child soldiers,
while others do not? While child soldiering is something that most states have avoided
throughout history, recent trends indicate this is changing; in 2005, more than 40 percent of
all armed organizations around the world employed children under 18 as soldiers. In light
of this increase in use of children as soldiers, international law has codified a series of
prohibitions and conventions against the use of child soldiers. In some cases, these laws
have had considerable impact; some of the governments who used child soldiers have
ceased, and returned to using only adults. Others claim to have stopped using child
soldiers, but found ways to co-opt rebel groups who continue using children to fight their
wars. Yet other groups or states have continued using child soldiers in spite of the dictates
of international law. This creates an intriguing puzzle for social scientists; why do some
states change practices to conform to international laws against child soldiering, while
others ignore these laws and continue recruiting children? This dissertation examined
compliance patterns in Burma, Senegal, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Colombia, and Rwanda to
provide insights on the reasons why states choose to comply with or disregard international
child soldiering laws.(author’s abstract)


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