Does international law protect children against recruitment into armed forces? : the case of Africa.
The involvement of children in conflict is not a recent phenomenon. The military use of children dates back to ancient times. The change of warfare and the advocating of the protection of children's rights within the global discourse context have taken the discourse on child and youth involvement in conflict out of the political and military context and placed it into one circumscribed by legal and moral concern. Since the late 1970s, a number of international instruments have been promulgated to limit the recruitment of child soldiers, but even though the numbers of children being recruited into armed forces have decreased, children continue to be deployed into armed forces, particularly in Africa. 'Loopholes', vagueness and inconsistencies in the treaties and the strengths and weaknesses of the enforcement and monitoring mechanisms have created legal uncertainty which have ultimately resulted in further injustice for the child. However, legal uncertainty is not per se the cause of recruitment continuing; the cause being more complex. Researches and treaties have failed to address the obstacles to the implementation of the relevant international law. The issue(s) of culture and child crossborder recruitment have served as obstacles to an effective protection of children against recruitment by international law.