Girls as child soldiers
What an underreported topic this is. IRIN has a great report on it, pointing out that when girls are kidnapped by rebels and military groups, they often are described only as sex slaves. And no one ever talks about their participation in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs. I know I am partly guilty of this. When I was writing on the civil war in northern Uganda between President Yoweri Museveni’s government and Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, I once in a while - a long while - mentioned that girls served as soldiers. But mainly, I used only that “sex slave” moniker. Here are the first couple of paragraphs. But read the full report, which actually is pretty brief.
JOHANNESBURG, 12 February 2013 (IRIN) - Girl child soldiers are often thought of only as “sex slaves,” a term that glosses over the complex roles many play within armed groups and in some national armies. This thinking contributes to their subsequent invisibility in the demobilization processes - in fact, girls are frequently the most challenging child soldiers to rehabilitate.
The broad categorization of girl soldiers as victims of sexual abuse obscures the fact that they are often highly valued militarily. While sexual abuse is believed to be widespread, girls’ vulnerability may vary, as attitudes toward women differ extensively across militias … About 40 percent of the hundreds of thousands of child soldiers scattered across the world’s conflicts today are thought to be girls, but the numbers of girls enrolling in child soldier DDR programmes dwindles to five percent or less.
Posted: February 12th, 2013 under Africa, Americas, Asia, Women's rights, civil wars, human rights, humanitarian, international children's issues, slavery.
Tags: child soldiers, DDR programs, Joseph Kony, Lord's Resistance Army, rights of girls, Uganda, Yoweri Museveni