Human Rights – Book Review

Analytical Book Review
This book review is about – Children and Global Conflict by Kim Huynh, Bina D’Costa and Katrina Lee-Koo – Upon reading the book – Compose an analytical book review. The analytical book review requires:

1). Composing a review that starts with an introduction providing a short summary of the book,
2). Two body sections (a strengths body section and weaknesses body section) that analyzes the themes and ideas within the book, and

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3). A concluding section that provides a recommendation for the book identifying who should read it and why they should do so.

This assignment will be 6 pages in length. It will be written in Times New Roman size 12 font and double spaced. It will be referenced using the APA citation guide.

Analytical Book Review Exemplar
Below is simply a starting point for each of the required sections. The actual length of each section written by students will include more arguments, evidence and analysis.

Introduction – Children and Global Conflict by Kim Huynh, Bina D’Costa and Katrina Lee-Koo offers readers a comprehensive accounting for the experiences of children in the lead-up to, during and in the aftermath of conflict. Incorporating both theories of children’s agency and theories of international relations, the authors provide various analytical frameworks through which to account for how children navigate their relationships with (inter)national and local actors, institutions and events related to war.

Strength – A strikingly evident strength of the book is the ability to offer a critical response to the predominant global voice concerning children in conflict. For instance, the authors identify the United Nation’s definition on peacebuilding as “a range of measures targeted to reduce the risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict by strengthening national capacities at all levels for conflict management, and to build the foundations for sustainable peace and development” (Lee-Koo, 2015, p. 91-92). The uncritical eye may accept this definition as they definitive approach to peacebuilding. But instead, the authors demonstrate that such an approach is conditioned by the Liberal peace project that requires significant challenge on account of it’s potentially “formulaic, top-down, and ethnocentric” nature (Newman in Lee-Koo, 2015, 193). Therefore, an alternative view of peacebuilding is offered through a theoretical critique capable of broadening understanding of the concept and potentially incorporating diverse perspectives, improved agency and bottom-up responses.

Weakness – While the book offers an important critical response to the pervasive liberal humanitarian lens that dominates children and global conflict, more attention could be placed on ensuring both a gender and critical economic lens. For instance, the book generates discussion specific to girls in conflict zones (D’Costa, 2015, 232 – 234) or gender-based violence (Lee-Koo, 2015, 168), but it only seems to transpire intermittently and for short periods of time. Could the book benefit from mainstreaming gender throughout or incorporating a full chapter specific to the girl child in global conflict? Moreover, many of the problems posed by war are economic at heart. While the book is effective in demonstrating the hypocrisy of liberal internationalism being promoted by Global North countries abroad yet they fail to uphold such values in their own context, as is demonstrated in the case of Operation Sovereign Borders in Australia (Huynh, 2015, p. 172-178), a global political economy approach that incorporates the roles of Liberal economic institutions including the World Trade Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund could solidify the underlying causes and challenging circumstances that children and their families face in global conflict.

Conclusion – Children and Global Conflict by Kim Huynh, Bina D’Costa and Katrina Lee-Koo is a book that many people should consider reading. While the book strives to offer a comprehensive accounting for how various worldviews conceptualize global politics and children’s role within it, there is a noticeable conviction that individuals holding both realist and liberalist views of the world and their subsequent caretaking convictions should be questioning their conception of children’s agency. To name but one of many people who would benefit from this book are realist academics who subscribe to the Youth Bulge Thesis. This thesis argues that “there is a predetermined causal link between the large number of young men in a post-conflict society and the likelihood that peace will break down” (Lee-Koo, 2015, p. 199). If realist engaged critical theorists they would benefit from rethinking the determinism they invoke on children and youth so as to be made aware that children and youth agency is dynamic and thus they have an equal capacity to practice peace.

My Rough Draft:
Children and Global Conflict presents theories, reasons, solutions, and deep discussions about the impact of wars on children. The authors beginning the discussions by taking an opposing stance on armed conflict, and the international response. The introduction illustrates the core argument of the book as the fact that “children are customarily viewed by international actors as victims whose lives have been shattered by war” (Huynh, D’Costa, Lee-Koo, 2).
In chapter one, the authors contend on three major issues including “children, armed conflict, and the responses of international actor (Lee-Koo, 2). Moreover, argue that the “six grave violations” which are recognized by the UN do not cover all dangers faced by children in dispute areas. In this chapter, the authors investigate the various definitions of a child. However, convinced that while there many perspectives including Western view, and non-Western view, a broad legal definition is inevitable. Thus, the authors chose the UN’s legal proclamation that any human below the age of eighteen is a child. Chapter two contends theories such as ‘caretaker, free-ranger, and everyday lives approaches’ to provide various observations to childhood. Huynh claims the caretaker approach believes that children “are vulnerable …. and irrational” (Huynh, 36). Therefore, children must be protected from all harms. Further, Huynh asserts that the free-ranger approach differs “across time and spaces”, therefore, advocates children’s independence, because of their resilience. Moreover, the everyday lives approach according to Huynh provides a balance approach which argues that while children lack some rational, they should still retain some autonomy. The author settles this chapter by recognizing that these approaches do not offer answers to child conflicts, however, contends further investigation to bring durable solutions. The author is convinced that the caretaker and free-ranger stances are better approaches but should be applied carefully, while the PEL approach can help further mediate the conversations because of its strategic approach (Huynh, 64). Chapter three discusses the relationship between children and conflicts and the theories applied by academics. Theories utilized in this chapter include realists, liberal and critical approaches, while Lee-Koo argues that the theory of International relations have failed children by not being forthcoming. Furthermore, Lee-Koo claims that realists’ approach to global affairs seeks its own interests, while its approach to children and conflict is to enable states to protect its own children through adhering its democratic values. Whereas liberal approaches have a co-operation views children conflicts and international relations as a collective global issue. Additionally, Lee-Koo continues to say that critical IR approaches have yet to offer clear stance on children and conflicts. Nonetheless, claims that “Critical approaches reveal children’s capacities to understand their own oppression” (86).
Chapter four discusses the rights of Children, political history, the principles of the UNCRC on children rights. The chapter contends that cultural norms have extensive influence on what shapes children rights such as politics and perceived values. D’Costa, examines the view of cultural norms on children rights and he enlightens the reader how “children endure, despite deeply divisive social… orders” (D’Costa, 90). Following this discussion, the author provides detailed examination of the UNCRC practices. According to D’Costa the UNCRC’s framework harvests four principles which are survival and development, non-discrimination, participation, and the best interest of the child. The right to survival is focused on the children’s economic and social justices of children. The other three principles are vital for the survival of children. Lastly, this chapter considers the specific provisions for these principles in armed conflict context. Chapter five examines the causes and the solutions of Child soldiers. It explains caretaker and free-ranger views on child solders through the lenses of cultural customs. Furthermore, Huynh examines factors that motivate children to engage in conflicts, including poverty, social objectives, and patriotism toward their livelihoods. The author argues that caretakers claim that children’s “involvement in conflict is fundamentally immoral… regardless of the numbers involved, the cultural context or individual choice (Huynh, 126). Whereas Free-rangers contend that caretaker “insistence… [on] children’s participation in armed conflict is intrinsically wrong” (Huynh,132). Moreover, the stories provided on the Vietnam war, draws a narration that when children are exposed to an environment that promotes violence, they are more likely to engage in wars. Huynh concludes the chapter by recognize the lack of evidence in the academia to suggest child soldering is rising, however, acknowledges social-economics discrepancies, and colonialism behavior hugely encourages children to participate in conflicts (Huynh,157). Furthermore, the author closes his arguments that understanding cultural customs plays a vital role in solving child soldering.
Chapter six demonstrates issues that force children to migrate. It further examines politics and the impression child migration brings in societies where children migrate, specifically Australia. The authors argue that issues such as poverty, “new wars” and an perceptions of the Global North influences child migration, since, in the global south, its simply not possible for children to have access to necessities such as enough food, shelter and educations (authors, 183). Further, the chapter showed that forced migrants is a hot topic in the global North politics. Fassin argues that “humanitarian sentiments … elicit a fantasy of a global moral community” (Fassin, 167). Fassin continues to suggest that been at the center of political struggle is not to say that children are active participants who exercise their agency freely. (authors,183). Additionally, the authors explained that liberal democracies fail children migrants when they strive to treat them in such inhuman. The authors settle the chapter demonstrating that liberal democracies or the gobble North should stop using child migration as sympathy, and furthering their strategic goals, but harness it and commit durable solutions. Chapter seven examines peacebuilding processes and how children play integral part in the process. Katrina Lee-koo begins the chapter by illustrating why children are important actors in peacebuilding efforts, while also acknowledging that children can be a hinder to such efforts. The author stated that “Children … are basic ingredients for the full realization of children’s rights …because children are such a large proportion of the world’s people”. (lee-Koo, 185). To further illustrate his arguments Lee-koo conveys Malala’s accomplishment as a child, however, admitted that not all children are given such opportunities to illustrate what they are capable, and as such to universalise Malala’s story, would be a barrier to the others. Moreover, Huntington argues that youth bulge sentiments may be a barrier to children and youth because societies, see specific aged people as a threat to the rest of the people. Huntington argues that societies become war prone when the number of young people aged between fifteen and twenty-four reaches a critical level of 20 per cent of the entire population of a country” (Huntington ,196). Furthermore, Richmond disagrees such claims and contended it lacks evidence, while arguing such age group are everyday peacebuilders. Richmond illustrates that peacebuilding requires inclusive approach in which all members of society participate. As he puts it, “this project not only sees a role for locally inspired peace projects, but also an inclusive role for all members of society” (Richmond, 201). Lee-Koo closes the chapter that while children are capable of enduring peacebuilding, they are yet the bottom line to reach a sustainable post-conflict solution. The author stated that “As custodians of the future, as significant proportions of the current population, and as individuals capable of exerting political agency, children are central to sustainable peace” (Lee-Koo, 209)

Works Cited
Huyn, K., D’Costa, B., and Lee-Koo, K. (Eds.). (2015). Children and Global Conflict. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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