Direct Causes

          Direct causes were identified to be armed conflict, failure to secure children rights,  absence of international and domestic penalties,and the technological development of weapons. 

1. Armed Conflict  

       Conflict is a “natural” environment to nourish and possibly encourage the recruitment of child soldiers. Yet, not every conflict  involves child soldiers. According to Tynes1 the “weak states”/developing countries are more vulnerable in the face of child recruitment. Tynes states that “When a weak state is pulled into armed conflict, multiple variables increase the likelihood that youths will volunteer, or will be forcefully recruited to fight”1

2. Failure to Secure Children’s Rights

       The existence of child soldiers indicates the greatest failure of the states to protect and secure children rights, allowing recruitment to take place. Indeed, children are widely recognized as holders of rights. There are number of international policies that are aimed to protect children from violence, abuse, recruitment, and harmful labor. The main document regarding children’s rights is  the “Convention for the Rights of the Child2” which is the most widely ratified document in the world. 

3. Absence of Penalties

Most countries that recruit children fail to prosecute and punish the recruiters. Even though, there are two internationally known cases against  Thomas Lubanga and Liberian ex-President Charles Taylor, the practice of prosecution is relatively rare. Especially,  considering the wide range of armed conflicts, and the high number of child soldiers worldwide. Thus, the absence of punishment is commonly considered by scholars as one of the main reason for the rebellion leaders to recruit children. 

4.Technological Developments of Weapons

Current technological development of weapons is found to be one of the underlying causes that literally make child soldiering possible. With the advances of technology, guns became lighter in a way that even children are able to carry and operate them.

SEE ALSO:  Indirect Causes


1 Tynes, R. M. (2011). Child soldiers, armed conflicts, and tactical innovations. State University of New York at Albany). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 344

2 “International Convention for the Rights of the Child”.


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