Child soldiers are often shunned when they return from war. This is no way to treat ‘survivors’
What happens to child soldiers once the fighting is over? How do they re-integrate into society, and who supports them to find a new place in civilian life? These questions are not as easy to answer as one might think. In post-conflict settings in Africa, former child soldiers return traumatised. Warring parties have used them not only as fighters, but also in many other jobs. Some, especially girls, have also been subjected to gender-based violence.
Yet, for the most part, they are not greeted warmly by those back home. International organisations do not trip over themselves to provide them with services. They are instead met, for the most part, with suspicion. And because they are not seen as ‘survivors’, there are few places they can turn to for help. Continue reading