Engagement of Youth Formerly Associated with Armed Groups and Armed Groups and Youth Participation in Peacebuilding Processes: A call to action for Burkina Faso

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Save the Children International

Burkina Faso is one of the least developed countries in West Africa. Its political history has been very turbulent with records of mutinies and coups d’état. Since 2016, the country has become unstable and exposed to threats and attacks of violent armed groups, especially in northern and eastern parts of Burkina Faso. These attacks have in turn sparked conflicts with local self defence groups and militia. There are reports that children are increasingly being used by armed groups in the country. Many boys, and also girls, who are associated with the combatants are also subjected to gender-based violence. The increasing insecurity, including the recruitment of children, attacks on schools and children, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, has adverse effects on children. In 2020, Burkina Faso was added for the first time to the UN annual report on Children and Armed Conflict. There is the need for actions to stem the tide and prevent the country from being listed. Barriers that inhibit youth participation in peacebuilding processes are identified as political affiliation, ethnicity, governance deficits, socio-cultural norms and beliefs, and lack of interest. It is therefore very critical for policy makers to develop policies and strategies to promote youth participation in all peacebuilding interventions to ensure inclusivity and sustainable peace and security in Burkina Faso.

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