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NCJ Number: 205600 Find in a Library
Title: The Child That Bombs Built
Journal: Studies in Conflict & Terrorism  Volume:27  Issue:3  Dated:May-June 2004  Pages:159-168
Author(s): Alison M. S. Watson
Date Published: May 2004
Page Count: 10
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the impact that terrorism and political violence in general has on children; it then outlines the relevance of the existing international legal/human rights framework regarding this issue.
Abstract: The most obvious impact of terrorism on children is physical harm that brings injury or death. In addition to direct physical injury, the long-term physical impact on children of living in an area that is subjected to a prolonged terrorist campaign can be significant. The effects can include lack of adequate health care and the undermining of opportunities for education and social and economic benefits. In addition to direct physical consequences for children, children may experience the psychological impact of losing family members or friends. In an area where terrorists operate, children are often influenced to engage in violent acts and may even be used as shields. Children have even been recruited to become suicide bombers because of their ability to gain access to certain areas due to their young age. Given the physical, psychological, and behavioral consequences of terrorism for children impacted by it, this article argues that for a variety of reasons the international legal/human rights perspective remains too adult-centered in its focus. Such a focus has direct policy consequences in terms of postconflict reconciliation. This article outlines such policy consequences by analyzing specific attempts at reconciliation and whether children are addressed as part of the conflict-resolution process. Although politicians and negotiators involved in conflict resolution often mention children as the focus of their concerns in speaking to the press, this concern is often missing at the conference table. This article examines why children are not more central in the design of postconflict reconciliation; and it argues that existing international law is inadequate in providing guidance on how children's needs should be met in long-term solutions to protracted terrorist campaigns. Instead of becoming the focus of care and concern in postconflict reconciliation and rebuilding, children often become laborers, combatants, refugees, and even prisoners. Under such circumstances, children are viewed as powerless pawns to be shaped and controlled in ways that will not threaten the existing societal order. 41 notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Child abuse as delinquency factor; Child abuse causes; Human rights; Human rights violations; International agreements; International dispute settlement; Long term health effects of child abuse; Psychological victimization effects; Socioeconomic impact of terrorism; Victims of terrorism
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