"The purpose of this paper is to begin exploring the complex relationships between arms proliferation, youth and security in the African context. While all three elements in the relationship stand alone as research, policy and advocacy issues, all can benefit from cross cutting analysis. The aim here is not to attempt to establish ‘youth and small arms’ as yet another niche. It is to lend a youth-centred perspective to small arms demand, taking into account enabling social, economic and political factors in arms proliferation, specifically on the demand side. There is a profound need for youth and child centred perspectives on human security issues if the term “human security” is to have any real meaning. The state of child and youth rights must be treated as more than just an indicator of government performance in traditional sectors such as health,education and social services. This paper will attempt to demonstrate the relationships between child an youth participation in armed violence, the failure to protect of children’s and youth’s rights and the demand for small arms."