Matthew Happold
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Child soldiers in international law
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An Optional Protocol has been adopted and most states have renounced the forced recruitment of children. Indeed, the prohibition of the compulsory and forcible recruitment of children may be becoming a rule of customary international law. There is a substantial body of rules governing the recruitment and treatment of child soldiers, and they have been the subject of considerable augementation and development in recent years. Recent years have undoubtedly seen developments in how international law governs the activities of such groups, culminating in the prohibition of all recruitment of children by them set out in the OP. However, the growth in legal regulation has not been accompanied by any increase in compliance. Not only does international law regulate when and under what conditions children can be recruited and used in hostilities, but it has also begun to address the consequences of failures to comply with these rules.

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