Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 07/2008

Child Recruitment in South Asian Conflicts: A comparative Analysis of Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh

Charu Lata Hogg

November 2006

Chatham House


The report is intended to assist in developing a better understanding of the drivers behind the use of children as soldiers in conflicts in South Asia. A more nuanced understanding of the phenomenon will help design advocacy and policy options sensitive not only to the dynamics of conflict but to the root causes of recruitment. The report examines two case studies - Sri Lanka and Nepal. Lessons learnt from these studies will help identify potential vulnerabilities of children in Bangladesh. While Bangladesh does not have a current armed conflict, a culture of political violence, past precedents of the use of children in armed conflict and societal fault lines over the issue of religion and identity indicate that children could be used by armed groups should an outbreak of violence occur. Apart from flagging up key concerns in Bangladesh, the report is intended to contribute to the wider discourse on child protection in situations of armed conflict. It attempts to go beyond existing anecdotal and impressionisic accounts but does not provide a full assessment.