Reconceptualizing Child Soldiering
SÉMINAIRE DES DOCTORANTS EN DROIT
Peripheries of Law Seminar Series
Karl Hanson is Professor in Public Law and Deputy Director of the Centre for Children’s Rights Studies at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. His research and publications include theorizations on interdisciplinary children’s rights and childhood studies, international norms and policies on working children and child labour, children’s rights advocacy and juvenile justice. He teaches in the Master interdisciplinaire en droits de l’enfant (MIDE) and the Master of Advanced Studies in Children’s Rights at the University of Geneva. He is an editor of the journal Childhood and chair of the Children’s Rights European Academic Network (CREAN).
International law and policies regarding children and armed conflict have largely been informed by humanitarian perspectives that are built on the presumption of children’s victimhood and their incapacity to voluntarily taking part in military life or violent political struggles. Such a protectionist view forecloses that at times of social, economic and political instability children and young people do make well-informed and conscious decisions that might include actively engaging in armed conflict. In this presentation, we take children and young peoples’ perspectives as a starting point to explore how international law and policy could be more sensitive and responsive to young people’s active agency throughout the peace–war–recovery continuum, without abandoning children’s right to protection.