This articles presents the current universalism vs cultural relativism debate of children’s rights applied to the issue of child soldiers’ disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs. Following a brief description of both perspectives and of the most common DDR programs, we present what each perspective identifies in the literature as being the main problems and best practices of DDR programs and how these widely differing problems and best practices reflect the current impasse of the larger philosophical debate. In an effort to move away from this impasse in a pragmatic manner, we recommend the development of programming by a multidisciplinary team of experts who can come to paint a multifaceted and grounded understanding of the conflict and the environment into which the child soldier must reintegrate, thereby creating programming that is both respectful of fundamental human rights and adaptable to the complex reality of each individual child soldier.
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