Exploiting Minors in Armed Conflict: Too Young to Die

The use of children in war zones is a global problem of the post-Cold War world. It is fast becoming the norm, despite conventions on children’s rights. But shocking new images have jolted campaigners into reviewing what should be done.

The World Today
4 minute READ

Mary-jane Fox

Research Associate, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University

Two recent incidents revealed young Palestinian boys attempting to carry explosives through a checkpoint into Israel. One of these, only eleven years old, was paid to carry a bomb past security checks. Within days the other boy, aged fourteen, was pictured actually wearing a special vest packed with explosives.

Much was made of this by the Israeli government, though to many this development was hardly a surprise. After all, the exploitation of minors as participants in violent conflict is a contemporary global problem which has already received much attention. Often sensationalised in media coverage, it is a particularly complex problem, and much of what we are exposed to leaves us with only a patchwork understanding of a long and disturbing story.

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