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A Lost Generation: Young People and Conflict in Africa

international fora where peace, security and policy decisions are made. Not only must all post conflict programmes including DDR’s and peace negotiations include the perspectives of youth and children at all stages. Children’s and youth needs, perspectives and concerns must also be included in peace agreements that provide

framework for post conflict reconstruction. participation and representation is absent are

Other mechanisms where youth both transition justice mechanisms

and reparation young people’s

schemes. The African culture and tradition often militate against right to be heard. Actors should therefore employ strategies that

encourage funds and

the elders to value youth and their perspectives. Strategies such youth ministries have been tried in post conflict societies like

as youth Rwanda

(Betty Kaari Murungi, 2007)51

but a lot of attention should be given to include the

concerns and views of children and youth affected by conflicts.

Reparation requires the mobilization of political will

One of the assumptions this research investigated is that there is absence of post-

war initiatives addressing the needs of address the needs of young girls and

young people, child mothers.

and more specifically Experiences of girls

that and

young women experiences of not addressed

of being combatants, sex slaves, abductees, forced labourers, and forced conscription of young boys and girls by armed groups are adequately despite the clear guidelines set out in international

legal

frameworks.

For

example,

reparation

policies

provide

for

repairing

the

harm

or the loss the person

an individual suffered as a result of violations to and and/or the property of the individual. Reparation is

destruction understood

of as

being: (a) psychological – acknowledgement, satisfaction, person wronged; (b) social – rehabilitation, reconciliation,

  • compensation, indemnification; (d) religious or moral –

according dignity to the restitution; (c) economic forgiveness, atonement,

pardon;

(e)

political

  • balance

of

power,

democracy,

freedom;

(f)

legal

  • obligation,

responsibility, rights, services provided by

claims and justice52. These responsibilities are over and non-state actors. They are the primary responsibility

above of the

state, yet especially

the state has failed to provide these young girls who have suffered sexual

services to

the victims of

violence in

times of war.

violence,

There is lack of political will. Unless the relevant decision makers, at the national or international level want something to happen it won’t. Gareth Evans “rightly notes that we can have the concepts right, the analysis right, the resources and capacity available, but still remain totally inert in the face of situations which seem to cry out for an active response” (Gareth Evans, 2007) 53. The failure by governments to implement international instruments by domesticating them into National Laws is indicative of the lack of political will by governments. The impunity that attends sexual violence in countries that are not in classical conflict provides indicators of the seriousness with which our governments treat cases of sexual violence. There is

Redress’s publication on Torture Survivor’s Perspectives on Reparation (TSPR) (www.redress.org) , quoted in a draft workshop paper titled “Women’s Rights to Reparation”, by Rights and Democracy, March 200, Nairobi, Kenya. 2

Closing Keynote Address by Gareth Evans, President of the nternational Crisis Group, to the University of Toronto Peace and Conflict Society Conference before the Crisis Breaks: Conflict Prevention, Crisis Management and Preventive Diplomacy in the 2st Century, Toronto,  February 200 3

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