MSF-Supported Hospital Hit by Airstrikes in Southern Syria
February 9, 2016
(Médecins Sans Frontières) – Airstrikes hit a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)-supported hospital in Dara’a Governorate in southern Syria, killing three people and wounding at least six, including a nurse, says MSF. The strike on Tafas field hospital, some 12 kilometers [7.5 miles] from the Jordanian border, took place on the night of February 5, 2016. It damaged part of the hospital building itself and incapacitated its heavily used ambulance service. In fear for their lives, more than 20,000 people from the town of Tafas fled to the surrounding countryside.
Schools that should keep children safe are under attack
February 8, 2016
(The Independent) – In conflicts raging across the world, the extremity of violence against children has increased. Every day, innocent lives are lost and many more altered irrevocably, with children often the direct targets of attacks intended to cause maximum civilian casualties, terrorise communities and provoke outrage worldwide. In the midst of such shocking violence, children are in desperate need of protection, and interventions to keep them safe must be prioritised. Education offers a vital source of safety and hope for children, allowing them to learn, play and escape the horrors of war. During my time as Special Representative and on trips to gather evidence on children in armed conflict, I have seen children taking extraordinary steps to continue their schooling – travelling many hours across conflict lines, braving snipers and soldiers, abductions and arrests. I have also seen entire families leaving everything behind because their children no longer had a safe school to go to.
Child Soldiers Briefing
February 8, 2016
(UNICEF) – Tens of thousands of children are estimated to be recruited and used in conflicts worldwide. As many as 16,000 children in South Sudan alone have been recruited and used by armed forces and groups since the start of the conflict in December 2013, and all parties to the current conflict on the ground in Yemen have engaged in widespread recruitment of children. Children are used for various functions by armed forces and groups, including fighters, cooks, porters, messengers and spies, or they are subjected to sexual exploitation. As long as these grave violations continue, the international community has not honoured its promise to end, once and for all, the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict.
Central African Republic: Rape by Peacekeepers
February 4, 2016
(HRW) – United Nations peacekeepers in the Central African Republic raped or sexually exploited at least eight women and girls between October and December 2015. Among the survivors are a 14-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman who said peacekeepers gang-raped them near Bambari airport in the center of the country. “In a country where armed groups routinely prey on civilians, peacekeepers should be protectors, not predators,” said Hillary Margolis, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Sending peacekeepers back home is not enough. The UN needs to insist that troops’ home countries bring rapist and other abusers to justice, and that survivors get the support they need.”
US military attacked for complicity in Afghan child soldiers after boy’s murder
February 4, 2016
(The Guardian) – The Taliban’s murder of a 10-year old Afghan boy this week has cast a spotlight on the practice by US allies of turning children into fighters in the war-torn country. Afghans have hailed the heroism of Wasil Ahmad, whom the Taliban killed in Uruzgan province on Monday for fighting alongside his uncle with a US-backed government militia called the Afghan Local Police. Wasil had won acclaim for helping ALP forces break an insurgent siege after his uncle, the unit’s commander, was wounded. He was declare a national hero by the Afghan government, and paraded, wearing an oversized uniform and wielding an AK-47. Overshadowed in the outpouring of grief is the grim practice of allowing children to take up arms, particularly alongside a quasi-official force created by the US military.
‘Protect the children’
February 3, 2016
(Manila Bulletin) – Should conflict make a return to Mindanao in the wake of the failed passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the government should take the necessary measures to keep children, regardless of their religion, safe. This was maintained by the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) which said that children will be “most vulnerable in situations of armed conflict” now that the BBL has been declared dead in Congress. During the Pandesal Forum at the Kamuning Bakeshop Cafe in Quezon City Tuesday, Romeo C. Dongeto, PLCPD executive director, expressed concern about the possibility that Muslim radicalism could be on the rise anew and children could be the first defenseless victims of any resurgence of violence in Mindanao.
With 4 million Syrian children out of school, $1.4 billion sought by UN to save ‘lost generation’
February 2, 2016
(UN News Centre) – With four million Syrian and host community children in need of education and no let-up in sight in the fighting tearing the country apart, the United Nations and its partners are seeking $1.4 billion at a major conference in London on Thursday to save the current youth generation. “The scale of the crisis for children is growing all the time, which is why there are now such fears that Syria is losing a whole generation of its youth,” said UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Peter Salama, whose agency is coordinating the ‘No Lost Generation Initiative’.
Taliban Gun Down 10-Year-Old Militia Hero in Afghanistan
February 2, 2016
(New York Times) – The Afghan government declared Wasil Ahmad a hero for leading a militia’s defense against a Taliban siege last year, parading him in front of cameras in a borrowed police uniform too big for him. On Monday, the Taliban triumphantly announced that they had assassinated him with two bullets to the head. Wasil Ahmad was 10 years old.
InterAction Stresses Need To Restore Respect For Civilians In Armed Conflict
February 1, 2016
(InterAction) – The scale and severity of human suffering in current armed conflicts represent a distressing race to the bottom in disregard for the basic rules regulating armed conflict. Parties to conflict all too frequently use indiscriminate force in populated areas; deliberately target civilians as well as their homes, hospitals, schools, and other infrastructure; and fail to take precautions in the conduct of military operations. Much of this loss of life and human suffering is avoidable. This is precisely what international humanitarian law, also known as the law of armed conflict, is for – to limit the effects of armed conflict.
Boko Haram in Nigeria kills at least 86, burns children
January 31, 2016
(Al Jazeera) – A survivor hidden in a tree says he watched Boko Haram fighters firebomb huts and heard the screams of children burning to death, among 86 people officials say died in the latest attack by Nigeria’s homegrown armed group. Scores of charred corpses and bodies with bullet wounds littered the streets from Saturday night’s attack on Dalori village and two nearby camps housing 25,000 refugees, according to survivors and soldiers at the scene just 3 miles from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram and the biggest city in Nigeria’s northeast.