The Treatment of Children During Conflict
Armed conflicts in recent decades have been more deadly for civilians in general and children in particular than in many earlier wars. The impact of conflict on children eludes simple explanation, for it is neither uniform nor arbitrary, but differs in both manner and degree due to age, gender, region, class, and the attributes of individual children. In Rwanda, mass and public rape was employed as an instrument of terror. When social networks are disrupted, and ways of life altered or shattered, informal and subsistence economic activities increase. In addition, during wartime children are often required to assume greater responsibility, taking on the roles of adults who have been killed, are fighting, or are otherwise absent. Changes in the demographic structure of households can also lead to the collapse of informal mechanisms for shared childcare, deterioration in intra-familial relations, and changes in the age thresholds for marriage, childbearing, work, and decision making.
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