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Response to issue of child soldiers (1 Viewer)


New Member
Nov 6, 2014
:smile: Hello! If anyone would like to mark this response I would be very grateful. It was written in about an hour. Originally I wrote this in answer to another question before I realised I had answered it wrong so this question was chosen from online to fit what I wrote. Don't hold back the criticism please!

Evaluate the effectiveness of Australian and global responses to dealing with the contemporary issue of child soldiers. (9 Marks)
Australian and global responses to the issue of child soldiers have been ineffective in upholding children’s rights established by the UN convention on the rights of the child in 1989. This is as there are still over 300 000 child soldiers currently in the world- 120 000 of which are located in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The nature of international law limits the United Nations ability to enforce laws and relies on individual countries to ratify laws themselves. This is ineffective as due to issues of state sovereignty it cannot be ensured that they will be enforced within each nation.
Australian commonwealth law and criminal code make it illegal to make use of, conscript or enlist child soldiers under the age of 18. For compulsory conscription the minimum age is 18 and for voluntary it is 17. In 2007 there were approximately 500 under 18’s serving in the Australian Defence Force. This is not in accordance with the optional protocol on the rights of the child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (2002) which was designed to strengthen the CRoC. Due to not adhering to this protocol Australia has come under criticism by the international community. The Australian defence Forces’ recommendations for a review regarding this issue has been rejected by the Defence Department. This makes Australia’s legal response to the issue of child soldiers ineffective in protecting the rights of the child as it does not comply with international standards.
Global responses have also been ineffective- this is mainly due to the nature of international law and the lack of recognition the issue initially received. In 1977 the issue was first recognised in the Geneva Convention which set a minimum age for recruitment or use in armed conflict at 15. Today this is considered international law. This issue was again recognised in the United Nations convention on the rights of the child in 1989 which reiterated 15 as the minimum age of recruitment, discouraged recruitment of under 18’s and required there be minimization of harm to children during armed conflict. Though this international response was effective in supplying the global community with some framework it lacked enforceability and was not comprehensive enough. This was partially reformed in 2002 in the optional protocol on the rights of the child on the involvement of children in armed conflict which has three key aspects. Article one, two and three outline countries should take steps to prevent active participation of under 18’s, not conscript those people and ensure the recruitment is voluntary and that they are aware of their duties. This provided more specific laws but again was ineffective in covering all aspects of this issue as it did not consider the coercion of minors which might go unnoticed due to article three.
The global response of the Rome Statute was highly effective in reforming some issues of enforceability and accountability surrounding the issue of child soldiers. This is an international agreement that created the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002 and gave it power to prosecute individuals who breach crimes against humanity. The case of prosecutor v Thomas Lubanga Dylio (2012) was the first criminal to be convicted in the ICC. Lubanga was a Congolese war lord who conscripted children as young as 11 to take part in brutal ethnic fighting in 2002-03. Geraldine Mattioli- Zeltner, the international justice advocacy director at human rights watch said “the sentence against Lubanga should be fair and reflect the gravity of the crimes for which he was convicted…” This was not achieved as the prosecutions original call for a “severe sentence” of 30 years was reduced to 14 as Lubanga provided a genuine apology. The mitigating factors allowed for an insufficient punishment and therefore did not provide justice to the victims of the crime and did not uphold the concept of justice.
These features of Australian and global responses to the issues of child soldiers are ineffective is protecting the rights of the child and dealing with this issue.

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