Africa is at the epicentre of the child soldier phenomenon. Armed groups and forces using children cover the continent. In fact, children have been drawn into (whether through forced measures or ‘voluntarily’) nearly every one of its myriad wars. However, whilst the endemic link between children (and boys in particular) and armed conflict in Africa is generally becoming increasingly well documented, the specific correlation between girls and warfare in Africa remains under-researched and less well documented. Consequently this chapter focuses on “girl soldiers” and armed conflict in Africa. It is contended that girls, in their status firstly as females, and secondly as children, are markedly disadvantaged and discriminated against from a social and cultural point of view even in peacetime. Consequently, they are in an even more vulnerable and susceptible position during conflict. In this chapter, the relevant international law (human rights law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law in particular) pertaining to the issues is also considered.
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