An article published yesterday on allAfrica.com emphasizes the importance of reintegrating former child soldiers back into society. According to author and former child soldier Ismael Beal and psychologist Michael Wessells, a professor at Columbia University and author of the book Child Soldiers: From Violence to Protection:
Stigmatization is a persistent problem faced by former child soldiers when attempting to reintegrate into society. This is especially true for girls, who, in addition to fulfilling domestic roles in armies, might take on combat responsibilities as well.
And on the importance of targeted reintegration programs or DDR, for child soldiers to include separate programs for boy child soldiers and girl child soldiers:
Wessells suggested the different problems girls face warrant different reintegration programs that specifically address their issues.
They also address the importance of holding people who recruit, train, use child soldiers responsible, using internationally recognized systems such as the ICC:
Making the International Criminal Court more accountable for prosecuting recruiters, Wessells said, would be a significant preventive measure against child soldiering. Targeting the source of conflicts that draw children into military roles is also important, he said.