Where is Asia on Safe Schools?
May 21, 2015
(HRW) – Next week, Norway will host an international summit focused on guaranteeing safe schools for children who live in countries affected by armed conflict. Participating countries will join a “Safe Schools” declaration making fresh commitments to protect students, teachers, and schools from targeted attacks, and to refrain from using schools for military purposes such as bases, barracks, detention centers, and ammunition and weapons caches. But not all countries in Asia are ready to show up in Oslo.
A parent, a home, a leg — former child soldiers of the LRA tell ‘what I lost’ during years of captivity
May 20, 2015
(Washington Post) – “I was 17 years old when I was abducted. I remember we walked for more than 24 hours to get to Sudan. Shortly after that I was fighting in the front against UPDF soldiers. All I did was to run all over while people died around me.”
Philippines strives to end recruitment of child soldiers
May 20, 2015
(IRIN) – The publicity surrounding an 11-year-old communist rebel reported to have surrendered to the Philippines military this month has served as a harsh reminder of the work still to be done to rid the South East Asian country of the scourge of child soldiers. The boy, referred to in news reports by his nickname Dodong, was recruited aged just six into the New People’s Army (NPA), which has been waging a Maoist insurgency in the southern Philippines for decades. “He personally witnessed and was involved in laying some improvised explosive device along the highways. He figured in at least six gun battles,” said Philippines army spokesman Major Emmanuel Garcia.
South Sudan: UNICEF warns women and children being victimized ‘with frightening regularity’
May 19, 2015
(UN News Centre) – Almost two years since the eruption of the conflict in South Sudan, the situation continues to deteriorate with women and small children making up the majority of most recent casualties, a representative from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the country said today. Speaking by phone from the capital, Juba, UNICEF Representative Jonathan Veitch confirmed to journalists in Geneva that dozens of children have been killed, raped and abducted in the Unity state over the previous two weeks. “The deliberate targeting of children in these attacks is an outrage,” said Mr. Veitch in a press statement issued by UNICEF.
Children bear brunt of Yemen’s war
May 18, 2015
(IRIN) – Aid agencies in Yemen are warning of dire consequences for the country’s children if the conflict there does not stop soon. Not only are children being killed and injured by bomb strikes and gunfire, but malnutrition and diarrhea are on the rise due to limited access to food and clean water and in the south of the country there are reports of an outbreak of Dengue fever. Meanwhile, vaccination rates have plummeted because vaccines have spoiled in the absence of the electricity for their refrigeration and because it has been too dangerous for many families to take their children to clinics.
Suicide bomb attack at Nigerian bus station kills 8
May 16, 2015
(Washington Post) – A teenage suicide bomber blew herself up and killed seven other people Saturday outside a bustling bus station in the northeast Nigerian town of Damaturu. It is thought to be latest in a string of attacks last week by Nigeria’s home-grown Boko Haram extremists. Thirty-three people were seriously injured and are being treated at a hospital, said Garba Musa Fika, the Yobe state’s medical director. Most of the victims are women and children, many of them hawkers who sell smoked fish and packets of water at the exit gate to Damaturu Central Motor Park, he said.
Shelling in eastern Libya kills 8, including 7 children
May 15, 2015
(AP) – Random shelling of residential areas in the restive eastern Libyan city of Benghazi has killed eight people from one family, including seven children, officials said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack late Thursday. It came days after an operative from Libya’s Islamic State affiliate was killed in fighting in this city, where clashes have been raging for nearly a year. Ashraf al-Saiti, a senior medical official at Benghazi’s al-Jala hospital, said the family’s home in al-Salam district came under intense shelling from the nearby al-Sabri neighborhood, a stronghold of Islamic extremists. The children killed were between five and 10 years old, he said.
‘Untold suffering’ of South Sudanese people must end, UN envoy tells Security Council
May 14, 2015
(UN News Centre) – The security situation in South Sudan deteriorated further during late April and early May, the head of the United Nations mission in the country warned today as she briefed the Security Council on the “very worrying” developments that have had a devastating effect on civilians. “The untold suffering of the people of South Sudan must stop,” Ellen Margrethe Løj, head of the UN Mission (UNMISS) declared today, as she presented to the Council the latest report of the Secretary-General.
More than 350 child soldiers released in CAR
May 14, 2015
(Al Jazeera) – Armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) freed more than 350 child soldiers Thursday in the largest such release since the country became engulfed in sectarian violence in late 2013, the United Nations children’s agency said. Three separate ceremonies took place near the town of Bambari, as children left the ranks of both Christian and Muslim rebel groups that once united to briefly rule the country. An estimated 6,000 to 10,000 children are thought to be working as soldiers, sex slaves or hold menial jobs such as cooks and messengers for rival armed groups in the historically unstable former French colony.
Yemen: Houthis Send Children Into Battle
May 12, 2015
(HRW) – The Houthi armed group in Yemen has intensified its recruitment, training, and deployment of children in violation of international law. Since September 2014, when the Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah, took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, they have increasingly used children as scouts, guards, runners, and fighters, with some children being wounded and killed. The Houthis and other armed groups using child soldiers in Yemen should immediately stop recruiting children, including “volunteers,” and release all children in their ranks, Human Rights Watch said.