In the early twenty-first century, children fathered by foreign soldiers during and after conflicts are often associated directly with gender-based violence. This book investigates the situations of children born of war (CBOW) since the Second World War, provides a historical synthesis that moves beyond individual case studies, and explores circumstances across time and geopolitical location. The currently used definitions and categorisations of CBOW are presented together with an overview of some key groups of CBOW. Specific conflict areas are chosen as key case studies on the basis of which several core themes are explored. These conflicts include the Second World War (1939-1945) with the subsequent post-war occupations of Germany and Austria (1945-1955). The Vietnam War (1955-1975), the Bosnian War (1992-1995), some African Conflicts of the 1990s and early 2000s, in particular in Rwanda (1994) and Uganda (1988-2006), are also examined. In the case studies, the experiences of the children are explored against the background of the circumstances of their conception. For example, the situation of the so-called Bui Doi, children of American soldiers and Vietnamese mothers is examined. The experiences of Amerasian CBOW who were adopted into the United States as infants following the Operation Babylift and those who moved as young adults following the American Homecoming Act are juxtaposed. The book also looks into the phenomenon of children fathered by UN peacekeeping personnel as a starting point for a discussion of current developments of the international discourse on CBOW.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores the state of research on children born of war (CBOW) taking into account, among others, work of historians, social scientists, psychiatrists, lawyers and ethicists. It examines the situation of the so-called Bui Doi, children of American soldiers and Vietnamese mothers conceived during the Vietnam War. The book investigates the experiences of CBOW in the former Yugoslavia. It considers the relatively recent phenomenon of children fathered by United Nation (UN) peacekeeping personnel as a starting point for a discussion of current developments of the international discourse on CBOW. The book describes the specific nature of the civil war, with its ethnic dimension and the widespread use of gender-based violence (GBV) during the war in Bosnia.
Who are they? Experiences of children, mothers, families and post-conflict communities
Various studies of warfare, women's roles within the armies and soldiers' wives and companions give some indication that the relations between foreign soldiers and local women could be nuanced. Loving and caring relationships and successful marriages between soldiers and local women are more likely to remain hidden or unnoticed, whereas conflict related sexual violence (CRSV) will be more likely to be reported. The expression 'children born of war' (CBOW) will be used for the analysis of post-conflict scenarios. CRSV is also linked to the similarly racially motivated policy of forcing women to abort the children conceived through rape, as for instance during the Rwandan genocide. Gender-based violence (GBV) had long been judged an inevitable consequence or by-product of wars, civil wars and other types of armed conflict. United Nation (UN) declares the Rights of the Child for the protection and safeguard of the child rights.
This chapter explores the relations between soldiers and local women throughout the Second World War across different, mainly European, theatres of war, the distinct policies of military and political decision makers in attempting to regulate such relations. It investigates the policies vis-a-vis Children Born of War (CBOW) and their life courses and experiences in response to both the circumstances of their conception and the geopolitical situation of their post-conflict receptor communities. The chapter addresses the Allied post-war occupations of Germany and Austria and the experiences of children fathered by Allied soldiers. It also explores the assessment of CBOW themselves on the basis of recent scholarship, autobiographical accounts and quantitative and qualitative surveys. Drawing on their own voices, their subjective experiences will complement other data of less personal character and will throw a different light on the post-conflict experiences as children of the enemy or at least as children of foreigners.
Many of the emotional challenges facing children born of the Second World War were a result of them being part of a hidden population, but the situation was often the exact opposite for children born of later conflicts. This chapter provides the war context and the particular geopolitical circumstances of American engagement in South East Asia. It explores the US military policies with regard to military-civilian relations in the context of deployment in Indochina and its effect on attitudes towards GI children. The chapter analyses of two distinct phases of US intervention on behalf of those children: the evacuation of babies and young children in Operation Babylift, and the Amerasian Homecoming Act. It investigates the experiences of different groups of Vietnamericans, who were 'brought home' at different stages of their lives, as part of these distinct US immigration policies.
A new dimension of genocidal rape and its children
This chapter discusses some of the key facts around gender-based violence (GBV) in the Yugoslav wars. The Bosnian conflict was the first conflict with widespread use of GBV and forced impregnation alerting the world to rape as a weapon of war. The chapter explores a specific aspect of the child born of war (CBOW) discourse, namely that of children's rights within the context of the wider human rights issues affecting the children's immediate environment. The Balkan Wars were the first conflict that took place after the signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). All principles of the CRC can come into conflict with the local and regional cultural practices, and some such practices 'command even more legitimacy than the universal standards for the protection of children'.
This chapter focuses on two conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa: the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) conflict in Northern Uganda between 1987 and 2006. It investigates the challenges faced by African societies during and after conflicts and in particular the difficulties experienced by children born of war (CBOW) in the processes of post-conflict reconstruction. The chapter explains the sexual violence, which formed a critical part of the Rwandan genocide, as well as the ferocious brutalities, which were directed at the women. In order to understand the significance of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) for the returnees in the reintegration process, it is important to consider the basis of pre-colonial and post-colonial social organisation in many African countries. Post-conflict reintegration and related gender issues examined the roles of females within the LRA on the basis of surveys, which threw light on the abduction experiences of the women.
The United Nations as an organisation is tasked with the maintenance of peace and security, a tenet that should underscore the entirety of its operations. UN includes peacekeeping missions, and should guide all its personnel, including all its soldiers, at all levels. Sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) among peacekeepers have been widely reported and studies both within and beyond the UN have recognised this issue as a serious and wide-spread problem. Sexual relations between peacekeepers and local populations are either sexual exploitation or sexual abuse. The zero-tolerance policy of the UN to some critics is 'overinclusive' in its prohibition of sexual relations and thereby deprives women who are engaged in survival sex economies of their livelihoods. However, the situation of peace babies may be more diverse, complex and even contradictory than that of the children of genocidal rape.
This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book discusses the issues of children born of war (CBOW) during the Second World War and its post-war occupations. It focuses on post-conflict scenarios in the Vietnam War, the Bosnian Wars and sub-Saharan African conflicts. In all the conflict and post-conflict scenarios, relationships between foreign soldiers and local women developed, often in very large numbers and frequently in spite of efforts by military leadership to prevent such relations. Evidence unequivocally demonstrates that in all those scenarios children were born as a result of such relations. The book describes the life courses of CBOW and their distinct experiences. It explores the long-term impact of gender based violence (GBV) has been a significant aspect contributing to the challenges faced by those CBOW whose mothers had been victims of sexual abuse.