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This book is a product of a research project called ‘voices of youth’ carried out - page 112 / 125





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A Lost Generation: Young People and Conflict in Africa

members of society. Absent measures of this nature, it is difficult to see how this category of persons can feel welcomed into society. This may in turn significantly affect the healing process, and their reintegration into society.

Further, an African adage recommends: If you want to climb a tree, start at the bottom. Applying this advice to any conflict situation would mean that more emphasis needs to be paid to addressing the root causes of civil war and strife. Few would deny that this is the most durable solution. This research has identified the inadequacies in the law. Trying to find out why people go to war is close to treating the disease, rather than the symptoms. Approaches of this nature are also likely to promote the right to peace that article 23 of the Banjul Charter47 recognizes. If successful, peace building measures are likely to check on possible outbreaks of conflict.

Lastly, there is need to invest in further research. Granted, it is difficult for any research to be all encompassing. In many instances, studies will have limitations. But we also need to examine the experiences of young boys in times of war. It would be interesting to compare and contrast these experiences with those of young girls in conflict zones. There is also a need to educate the young boys and the perpetrators so that they also share the responsibility and become part of the solution.

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    The Banjul Charter was adopted by African States in 98. t came into operation in 98. The treaty was passed because Africans wanted to ‘eradicate

all forms of colonialism’ (see preamble). Notably, however, it reiterates most of the well-known international human rights and duties. The Banjul Charter establishes a Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to promote and ensure that everyone on the African continent enjoys these entitlements. Even so, as this chapter demonstrates, there is still a long way to go for the promises contained in this treaty to be turned into real rights.

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