Even during armed conflict and other situations of violence, all children are entitled to their rights and protections as children without distinction based on their age, gender, religion, or whether they are associated with an armed group. Despite this, millions of children in conflict zones face discrimination, ostracization and stigmatization. This is particularly true for children affiliated with groups designated as “terrorist”, who face a range of challenges in reintegrating into society.
Civil society can play an important role at the international, regional and domestic levels in helping children formerly associated with armed groups, or otherwise affected by armed conflict, to rejoin communities. Mira Kusumarini is a professional in the peace and security field in Indonesia who works to address the problems of women and children who have been associated with armed groups, and to help them reintegrate them into society. She is the Executive Director of the Coalition of Civil Society Against Violent Extremism (C-SAVE), a collaborative network of civil society organizations.
In this interview, she discusses the challenges involved in the reintegration of children who have been associated with extremist groups in Indonesia and the stigma they face, as well as the importance of empathy in helping communities to heal.