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child labour essay

child labour essayChild labour essay -It has also been argued that the strict division between childhood and adulthood at the age of 18 is a relatively modern, western phenomenon. The phenomenon has also received attention through former child soldiers who have written books about their own experiences, such as Ishmael Beah (2007) who fought as a child in Sierra Leone, and Emmanuel Jal (2010) from Sudan, who also shares his story through hip-hop music.While the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and many developed countries strictly draw the line between childhood and adulthood at 18 years, this is not the case in many of these predominantly rural societies where child soldiers are used: once a person is doing adult work or has completed cultural rituals that lead to manhood or womanhood, he or she is regarded as an adult.This is based in a belief that “old” or traditional wars were self-limiting and rule-bound in several ways: having clear political goals, being limited in time and geographical space, in addition to being “humane” in the sense that these wars were fought in accordance with rules accepted by all, for example by making a clear distinction between civilians and soldiers.Lightweight automatic weapons are simple to operate, often easily accessible, and can be used by children as easily as adults.” The proliferation of light and powerful firearms is what we can call an enabler and an important structural factor for the use of child soldiers.In the rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Northern Uganda, children under the age of 18 constitute a high proportion of the soldiers (Vermeij 2009).He was sentenced to eight years in prison (CSUCS 2011b; SCSL 2011a).States where children are used as soldiers are associated with high child labour rates. Open&DS=S/RES/1882 (2009)&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC (accessed: ). Singer, for example, says that ”children never where an integral, essential part of military forces through history” and that children in war was a “rarity” until recently (Singer 2010, 93).In present conflicts, it is likely that groups that are dependent on child soldiers will not abolish the practice if that involves the risk of defeat.Rosen, on the other hand, criticizes how “new” wars are presented as being conducted by pure criminals without any political goals, and that these wars are portrayed as a “way of life” without any other purpose than upholding the wars themselves.These characteristics appear in several studies of child soldiers.Since the 1970s a number of international legal standards to protect children from recruitment and use as soldiers have emerged (Anwo et al. Here we can also see an inconsistency in the definition of a child, as discussed in the first section, Conceptions of childhood: Although many states have ratified one or more of the above-mentioned international legal instruments – as many as 120 states have ratified The Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict – the big challenge is to make sure that ”they are used to maximum effect” (CSUCS 2008, 9).The “naming and shaming” strategy has failed in respect to non-state groups, which are highly dependent on child soldiers, such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda.George Orwell makes an account of child soldiers as young as eleven or twelve years old in his book about the Spanish Civil War, “Homage to Catalonia” (Orwell 1986, 25).An assumption that is used when explaining the child soldier crisis is that contemporary, “new” wars are significantly different from traditional or “old” wars.Anwo (2009, 1) characterizes the child soldier issue in Africa “historically unprecedented”.One of the first scholars to claim that childhood is a modern invention was Philippe Ariès (1996).Children’s role in war through history is recognized by Andvig and Gates (Ibid.), but they point out that while historically child soldiers were complementary to adults and therefore proportionally fewer, in several contemporary armed conflicts children seem to be substitutes for adult soldiers as they represent a high proportion of the total number of combatants.Prior to this, the most common form of education was apprenticeship, thus introducing children early to adult life.child labour essayThe largest number of child fighters is used on the African continent, but during recent years many have also been used in countries like Colombia, Sri Lanka and Nepal (Cataldi & Briggs 2007; Singer 2010) The images of child soldiers appear more often and have become increasingly normal to see during the last two decades of globalization, media revolution and the explosive emergence of NGOs and their armies of PR officials whose job is to feed the mainstream media, suffering under constant cost-reduction policies, with information subsidies.Consequently, cultural phenomena, traditions and social roles in developing countries is leading to the perception that a person becomes an adult when he or she is in the early teens.Also, a growing group of scholars have shown an interest, resulting in an increasing amount of books and articles on the subject.In the humanitarian discourse, contemporary wars are in possession of few, if any, of these features (Rosen 2005, 10-11).Both Vermeij (2009), Sanin (2010), Wessels (2010) and Singer (2010) show how armed groups recruit and socialize children into the groups to make them stay.However, NGOs repeatedly present the child soldier phenomenon as a new feature of war, and both the media and several scholars seem to have adopted this view.In February 2009, Issa Hassan Sesay, Morris Kallon and Augustine Gbao, senior leaders of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity – thereunder recruitment of child soldiers – that took place during the civil war between 19.The perception of childhood, maturity and the ethics connected with these concepts are therefore important factors at play when children are recruited into armed groups. Throughout history and in different cultures, the concept of childhood has not been defined and experienced in the same manner.Several scholars argue that it is easier for children to join war, and that they can substitute adult combatants, because of the availability of cheap, powerful, yet lightweight and easy-to-carry weapons such as the AK-47 assault rifle (Singer 2010, 99-102; Vermeij 2009, 28).The last few years there have been developments towards holding child recruiters accountable for their actions.A way several scholars have tried to explain the use of child soldiers, is to draw a line between “old” and “new” wars, trying to make the brutality of contemporary insurgencies a factor in itself. The Enablers of War: Causal Factors behind the Child Soldiers Phenomenon. But why are children more favourable recruits than adults for certain military groups?A couple of months later, in August 2007, a former leader of the Sierra Leone’s Civil Defence Forces Militia, Allieu Kondewa, was found guilty on several counts, among others the recruitment of child soldiers.An interview in the newspaper Verdens Gang (Grønning 2008) with the former Norwegian mercenary Espen Lie attracted a lot of attention, as he admitted to having shot at children during a mission in Sierra Leone: “When you shoot, it is often on a distance of 100 or 200 meters.In June 2007, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) found the three accused, Alex Tamba Brima, Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu, guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other violations of international humanitarian law, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers.It is well documented that children join armed groups and armies by free will, of a variety of reasons, as well as by forced abduction (Honwana 2006, 49-74; Vermeij 2009).It is not easy to say whether they are 12, 14 or 16 or older”.To what extent leaders of states, militias and rebel groups in the future will let the risk of prosecution be a factor to be taken into account when considering to use children as combatants, remains to be discovered.There is also a danger that criminalization could be an obstacle to negotiating peace agreements: If the utilizers of child soldiers fear post-war prosecution, there is a risk that they will not lay down their weapons (Gates & Reich 2010, 5). child labour essay Little evidence actually exists that these measures have been effective.Today we can see that the states, in which armed groups have recruited children under the age of 18 into their ranks during the last decade, are also associated with widespread use of child labour (see table 1).There has never been better international legal standards for the protection of the rights of children, but the existence of laws that prohibit the use of children under the age of 18 is in itself not enough to ensure that the use of children in armed conflict is not actually taking place.Rosen (2005, 7) argues that the idea of children as “innocent” and “weak” emerged with the introduction of formal, institutionalized education – a development that accompanied the industrial revolution in the Western world, and started the segregation of the stricter categories of childhood and adulthood.Additionally, the founder of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), Thomas Lubanga, was found guilty of recruiting boys and girls under 15 years of age to fight with his militia in 20 by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the 14 March 2012 (BBC 2012; CSUCS 2011b; ICC 2011; SCSL 2011d).Nevertheless, demand is determining how many children are actually ordered to kill (Andvig & Gates 2010, 78-79).The conception of childhood varies in different cultures and sub-cultures, and is often linked together with labour: When a person is able to work, the person is adult. Oslo: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. Insurgents do not care about neither blacklisting from NGOs, the media and the UN, nor international legal standards – at least as long as the impunity that has been the general rule so far is maintained.We can see the historical linkages between these two factors and the use of child soldiers.Former Liberian president Charles Taylor currently stands trial at The Special Court for Sierra Leone, charged with using child soldiers.During medieval times, he argues, children were regarded as mini-adults who did not have any different needs than adults, and that they were not protected against any of the aspects of adult life, such as for example, labour, sex and violence.Children have been present as soldiers in war throughout history and in different cultures. The same argumentation has been used both by UNICEF (1996) and Human Rights Watch (2008), the latter stating that: “Technological advances in weaponry and the proliferation of small arms have contributed to the increased use of child soldiers.The concerned states’ (in)ability and willingness to apply and bring the international conventions they have signed into force remains a problem.It is not only popular media that has engaged with the topic.This essay questions the eagerness of presenting child-soldiering as a new phenomenon, as it draws attention away from an important way of building an understanding of it, and will draw comparisons between contemporary and earlier societies.Singer (2010, 103) makes the claim that while the military operations of the Western powers have developed to be more technological, the warfare in developing countries “has become messier and criminalized”.For example, the international delegitimizing of state-authorized non-state violence began already in 1856 with the Treaty of Paris and the attached Declaration of Paris, which declared, “privateering is, and remains abolished” (Thomson 1994, 70-71).The wars of the 1700s and 1800s, often used as examples of wars that was fought ”by the rules”, at best constitute exceptions in the history of warfare (Rosen 2005, 11).World Bank expert, Paul Collier (2003) is one of the scholars claiming that the “new” or postmodern wars are first and foremost fought for economic gains, not ideals, referring to that key characteristics of a country with a high risk of internal armed conflict is economic. child labour essay Some years later, Russian, German and Jewish children were participating in the fighting in World War II (Rosen 2005).E-IR publishes student essays & dissertations to allow our readers to broaden their understanding of what is possible when answering similar questions in their own studies.Each of the three former rebels of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) received sentences of more than 45 years in prison, and the judgement represents the first case were someone is found guilty of recruiting and using children in an armed conflict (CSUCS 2011b; SCSL 2011c).So-called “naming and shaming” of states using child soldiers could be argued to have had some positive effect on the situation in Colombia and the UK, although regimes such as Burma continues to recruit children into its armed forces (Gates & Reich 2010, 4).As NGOs, media and even scholars tend to present child-soldiering as a new feature of war, David Rosen makes an important point by underlining that we should not mythologize the past and make the thousands of children who fought in wars invisible (Rosen 2005, 14).Not surprisingly, children adapt more easily into personalized management, which still is very common in the poor countries where child-soldiering is taking place.What is important to note, with this in mind, is that the conception of childhood is different in many of the developing countries where children are used as soldiers today, for instance in societies of Sub-Saharan Africa, especially in rural areas.States have been very eager to secure their own interests, rather the interests of underage individuals participating in hostilities.They presume children, whether orphans or not, are less likely to be recruited if the camps are well protected.Despite this, even western powers have used, and still use, persons under the age of 18 in their militaries. Children of Rebellion: Socialization of Child Soldiers within the Lord’s Resistance Army. Claiming that the actors in the armed conflicts of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Rwanda and Congo-Kinshasa, all examples of conflicts were children were present as soldiers, did not have clear political goals, do not serve any other meaning than to reduce them to “apolitical criminals and child abusers” (Ibid., 14) It can be shown that certain aspects of warfare, for example technology, has developed through history, but according to Rosen there is no empirical justification for making a distinct division between “old” and “new” wars at the end of colonialism.Taking a closer look at for example the Thirty Years’ War, the Napoleonic Wars or the American Civil War provides us with clear evidence that “old wars” neither were self-limiting nor rule-bound.The key demand factor is, however, whether there are armed groups that find children useful and want to recruit them.This content was written by a student and assessed as part of a university degree.A Congolese rebel leader interviewed in an article in The Economist (Children under Arms 1999) summarizes the three main reasons why children are good soldiers: “they obey orders; they are not concerned of getting with getting back to their wife and family; and they don’t know fear” (cited in Andvig & Gates 2010, 79).This is a vaguely documented claim, though: since Biblical time and in various cultures, children have been recruited into militaries and gone to war as servants, drummers, scouts and spies – but also as fighters.This essay has argued that the use of children by armed groups is nothing new. According to Rosen (2005), it seems to be a notion amongst a lot of organizations, media and scholars (for example Collier, 2003; Singer, 2010) that there are sharp qualitative distinctions between how war was fought before and now in the 21 Century.Nevertheless, the conception of childhood is one of the factors that are the basis for whether children are used as soldiers.With this in mind, this essay will try to identify and discuss the most important factors that are at play when children are recruited into armed groups and used in armed conflicts. child labour essay While the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and many developed countries strictly draw the line between childhood and adulthood at 18 years, this is not the case in many of these predominantly rural societies where child soldiers are used: once a person is doing adult work or has completed cultural rituals that lead to manhood or womanhood, he or she is regarded as an adult. child labour essay




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