5th Report on Children and Armed Conflict in the DR Congo Highlights Progress and Concerns for the Protection of Children
July 21, 2014

(OSRSG-CAAC) - The recruitment and use of children by armed groups remained endemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 2010 and 2013. Children were severely affected by several waves of conflict, especially in the country’s eastern provinces. They were killed, maimed, victims of sexual violence and abducted by all parties involved in the conflict. Hundreds of schools and hospitals were attacked or used for military purposes. These are the main conclusions of the 5th report of the Secretary-General on the situation of children affected by armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo presented today by the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict to the Security Council Working Group on children and armed conflict.

 

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The child soldiers of South Sudan
July 19, 2014

(Al Jazeera) - These days, soldiers are the only people loitering around the market in this once-bustling oil town. They loaf about in plastic chairs, wander bored or drunk and lean against the skeletons of abandoned beds and buildings. Others ply the goods that now absent shopkeepers used to trade, although these wares are looted from former residents. Machine-gun-mounted pick-up trucks pull up and spit out more soldiers. The Rubkona market near Bentiu, capital of South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity State, is not just a place for grown men. Children wear the uniforms of the national army, the SPLA – and it isn’t just dress-up.

 

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Protect Teachers from Wartime Attacks: New Report Shows Educators Are Targeted in Armed Conflict
July 14, 2014

(GCPEA) - Attacks on teachers and other educators are a disturbingly common tactic of war and a serious threat to education, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) said in a new study released today, Protecting Education Personnel from Targeted Attack in Conflict-Affected Countries. The report describes how teachers have been targeted around the world and documents various ways communities have tried to keep them safe. 

 

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Humanitarian Implementation Plan (HIP) EU Children of Peace
July 8, 2014

(ReliefWeb) – The European Union’s Humanitarian Implementation Plan (HIP) provides further support to the Commission’s Children of Peace initiative, which assists children affected by conflict and crisis situations. The present HIP is in accordance with the Commission Communication “A Special Place for Children in EU External Action” (2008) and its accompanying Staff Working Document on Children in Emergency and Crisis Situations in which education in emergencies and child soldiers are among the three focal issues, alongside emphasis on separated and unaccompanied children and children associated with armed forces or armed groups. It will also help the Commission to contribute to the implementation of the EU Guidelines on Children and Armed Conflict (adopted in 2003 and revised in 2008).

 

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Somalia: AMISON, Somalia Army Using Child Soldiers
July 7, 2014

(allAfrica) - The African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) and the country’s army are in the spotlight for using child soldiers. According to a new United Nations report, Amisom, the Somali National Army and militias allied with it had a combined total of 223 children in their ranks as at the end of 2013, while the Al Shabaab insurgency included 908 children as members. The findings are a huge embarrassment to the UN, whose Security Council authorises Amisom’s operations. Both the US and the European Union, which roundly condemn military roles for boys and girls, contribute substantial funding for Amisom and Somalia’s army.

 

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63 abducted women, girls escape from Boko Haram
July 7, 2014

(CNN) - Sixty-three women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram last month in Nigeria escaped from their captors and have returned to their burnt village, a security source and a local vigilante fighting the militant group said. The hostages were seized from the Kummabza village in northern Borno state on June 18 after a four-day invasion of the village by Boko Haram insurgents. The militants killed 30 men and burned the entire village. Their escape is good news, but the Islamist terrorist group is still believed to be holding about 200 schoolgirls abducted April 14 from their hostels in the town of Chibok – a case that drew international outrage and prompted a global campaign for their release.

 

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Syria: Kurdish armed forces demobilize 149 child soldiers
July 7, 2014

(Geneva Call) - On 5 July, after several months of negotiations with Geneva Call, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), and the « Democratic Self-Administration in Rojava » demobilized 149 children from their ranks and signed Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment protecting children in armed conflict during an official ceremony in Ramalan, in the Kurdish region of Syria. Their signature publically formalized their policy to prevent children under 18 from taking part in hostilities and to protect them from the effects of the conflict. YPG-YPJ and the “Democratic Self-Administration in Rojava” have identified underage members and have started to demobilize them. The 149 children who have already been decommissioned from the YPG-YPJ no longer bear firearms and they have been separated from the military bases as well as being offered educational classes.

 

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Urgent need to improve the situation of children in Myanmar’s Rakhine State
July 4, 2014

(UNICEF) - More than 105,000 children in Myanmar’s Rakhine State have been affected by inter-communal violence, including 78,000 displaced children living in rural camps in appalling conditions. They, and other vulnerable children, cannot wait. Their needs demand an urgent response. Rakhine State is one of the poorest areas in Myanmar, with some of the lowest social and development indicators in the world. Half of all children under five in Rakhine State suffer from stunting; nearly 90 per cent are born outside of a health facility; and one in three children is not attending primary school.

 

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THE NEW WAY OF WAR: KILLING THE KIDS
July 4, 2014

(The New Yorker) - In 1994, on the eve of Rwanda’s genocide, Radio Mille Collines, in Kigali, incited listeners with a venomous message: “To kill the big rats, you have to kill the little rats.” It was a veiled command to murder the youngest generation of Tutsis, the country’s minority tribe. In less than four months, an estimated three hundred thousand children were slashed, hacked, gunned, or burned to death, according to the United Nations. Among the dead were newborns. The Rwandan slaughter was not unique. The specific targeting of children is one of the grimmest new developments in the way conflicts have been waged over the past fifty years. In the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries, roughly half of all deaths in conflict zones were civilian, according to the U.N. During the Second World War, civilians accounted for two-thirds of the fatalities. By the twentieth century’s end, almost ninety per cent were civilian.

 

 

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Attacks on Schools Commonplace in Conflicts Around the World: UNSG Report
July 4, 2014

(GCPEA) - The UN Secretary-General’s report released this week confirms findings that attacks on education are a deliberate tactic in most armed conflicts worldwide, said the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). The annual report of the Secretary-General to the UN Security Council on children and armed conflict provides an overview of six ‘grave violations’ committed against children, the measures taken to protect them, and recommendations for further action. According to the Secretary-General, attacks on schools are a common feature in the majority of the situations documented in the report: 17 of the 23 conflicts profiled include targeted attacks on schools, students, and/or teachers. 

 

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