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This book is a product of a research project called ‘voices of youth’ carried out - page 105 / 125





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A Lost Generation: Young People and Conflict in Africa

violence in times of conflict. What makes certain groups of men perform atrocities such as sexual crimes? Peterson (2001)44, a journalist who covered the conflicts in Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda relates an eyewitness account of young militia men tearing up and eating a live chicken to hype themselves up for attacking villages in Sudan.

To erase wars and armed conflicts these questions have to be considered in order to realise that gender does not mean women’s issues and that gender is central in conflicts and thus it is imperative to interrogate and understand the gendered identities or the parties involved. By beginning to challenge and probe these masculinities we may unlock key answers needed to build on efforts to stop conflicts, sexual and gender based violence or at least successfully build sustainable peace post conflict.

While shame, stigma and fear of rejection have forced many girls and women to keep silent on their experiences of rape perpetrated by the armed groups, their silence is contributing to systemic violation of their rights. The following chapter elaborates the types of crimes committed against young people in situations of conflict, especially crimes against young girls and women. These crimes are best understood from the framework of human rights and international humanitarian laws which govern the protection of civilian persons in situations of war.

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    Peterson, S. (200) ‘Me Against My Brother: at War in Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda’

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