CHILDREN'S RIGHTS IN POST-CONFLICT RECONSTRUCTION
Of the many faces of war that shape public political discourse, the face of the child is perhaps the most pervasive. Disconcertingly, it is also the least understood. Conflict-affected children make for powerful imagery – often featured in news headlines – and provide arguably the best case against war and conflict. Unfortunately, even though great strides have been made in children’s rights protection in international law, violations of these rights in real-world conflicts have been on the rise. Even more alarming is what comes after – whole generations lost as the processes of post-conflict rebuilding fail to ensure the rehabilitation of children, with dire consequences for both the individual and the society as a whole.
Children represent both the greatest challenge and the best opportunity for successful post-conflict reconstruction. Their lives, once tarnished by conflict, can be considered a bedrock of war-torn societies’ gradual recovery. Overcoming discordant patterns created by individual and collective trauma requires a great amount of effort on all sides, and to effectively aid this process the international human rights regime needs to develop appropriately. Affording children a larger role in all stages of post-conflict reconstruction thus represents the next logical step in the protection of children’s rights and the advancement of the international human rights regime.
United States of America