Perceptions and experiences of children associated with armed groups in northeast Nigeria

Perceptions and experiences of children associated with armed groups in northeast Nigeria

The recruitment and use of children by armed forces or armed groups is prohibited by international and regional legal instruments, to which Nigeria is a party. Recruitment and use of children in conflict is considered to be one of the six grave violations of children's rights under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1612 (2005). Where there is evidence of parties to a conflict committing violations, they will be 'listed' in the annual report of the Secretary General to the Security Council. This listing triggers a monitoring and reporting mechanism, administered by the United Nations in a country, which submits quarterly and annual reports documenting violations and the steps taken to prevent and respond to the violations.

Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad (JAS), more commonly known as Boko Haram was listed for recruitment and use of children in June 2015² and for abduction of children (one of the other six grave violations) in April 2016, having been first listed in 2014 for killing and maiming of children and attacks on schools and hospitals. The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) was listed for recruitment and use in April 2016.

The study examines the pathways and drivers for recruitment of children into these groups, the pathways for exiting the armed groups, and the challenges and opportunities for reintegration including the role of family and community perception and potential for stigmatisation.

The findings of the study will inform the development of policies, strategies and programmes that can effectively support the reintegration of children who have been associated with armed groups.