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Author: Sabine Lee

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.

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Children born of war: lessons learnt?
Sabine Lee

Babylift, as well as their resettlement following the American Homecoming Act. These acts remain the exception, and in both cases one has to ask about the motivation of such policies. Was the impetus for these policies what has become known in international humanitarian law as the principle of the ‘best interest of the child’? This has to be doubted. In the French case, little or no consideration for the welfare of the children is in evidence in the aftermath of either the Second World War or the Indochina Wars. The overriding consideration was one of concern for the

in Children born of war in the twentieth century
An introduction
Sabine Lee

its soldiers. In two waves, the Babylift of 1975 and the American Homecoming Act of 1986/87, the United States made a specific effort in ‘bringing home’ its soldiers’ children of the Vietnam War. While some nations, most notably France (both during and after the Second World War41 and during and after the first Indochina War42) had claimed children fathered by its soldiers on foreign soil for the French nation, this was done with significantly less fanfare. The Vietnam War, in comparative analysis with the French actions regarding its soldiers’ offspring, will

in Children born of war in the twentieth century
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The children of the Vietnam War
Sabine Lee

. It was initially the initiative on the part of a journalist and the activism of a group of high school students who were touched by the fate of an individual Bui Doi which triggered a remarkable process that eventually led to the passing of the American Homecoming Act. The story is well known and well rehearsed. In October 1985, Newsday photographer Audrey Tiernan, on assignment in Vietnam, on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, took a photo of Minh, a young Amerasian who, with long lashes, hazel eyes, a few freckles and a handsome Caucasian face was visibly out of

in Children born of war in the twentieth century
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A new dimension of genocidal rape and its children
Sabine Lee

support in identifying their fathers and making contact with them. An interesting case is that of children fathered by American GIs throughout the twentieth century. At first sight, both Operation Babylift of 1975 and the American Homecoming Act of 1986/87, which allowed the immigration of Vietnamese-American GI children conceived during the Vietnam War to the United States from 1987, appear to have been motivated primarily by humanitarian considerations for the welfare of the children. It is tempting to read a genuine concern for the rights and needs of the children

in Children born of war in the twentieth century