On the 27th of January the Activities Committee of the JASON Institute organized a webinar on the issue of child soldiers. Many children around the world have faced a terrible fate; being abducted and forced to fight as child soldiers. This has sparked an interesting debate, should these children be considered as victims or as perpetrators? Our online panel discussion focused on this exact question.
We were delighted to welcome two experts in the field to share their views and knowledge with us. Our first panelist was Marianne Moor, program manager of the Africa team at Pax for Peace, who could give us interesting insights based on field work. Our second panelist was Roos van der Haer, who is an assistant professor of International Relations at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University with research focused on the causes and consequences of child soldiering. She also worked on a Save the Children publication about child soldiers.
Marianne Moor started off with a short presentation on the child soldier dilemma and her personal experiences working in Colombia and Congo. Hereafter, under the guidance of moderators Bérénice Cabane and Myrthe Mullié, the debate focused on several aspects of the child soldier debate, such as questions regarding recruitment strategies, responsibilities of the international community, legal frameworks and the possibility of rehabilitation. Among other things, they were able to tell us that most often children under 18 are considered victims. However, between the ages of 15 and 18 they are sometimes prosecuted under criminal law, but these prosecution systems differ per country, if they are even there at all. Following the panel debate there was room for questions from the audience.
We would like to thank Ms. Moor and Ms. van der Haer for taking the time and sharing their expertise on the matter. Lastly, we want to thank our audience for participating in this event.