UN worried by rise in mass abductions of children
March 25, 2015

(AFP) –  Mass abductions of children by groups like Boko Haram and the Islamic State are on the rise, with the practice now becoming a tactic of war, a UN envoy warned Wednesday. Leila Zerrougui, the special representative for children and conflict, urged the Security Council to punish armed groups who target children with sanctions and strengthen measures to protect children in conflict. “Mass abductions of women and children are becoming a tactic of war used systematically to terrorize, suppress and humiliate entire communities,” Zerrougui told the 15-member council.

 

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Ex-Congo child soldier apologizes at U.N. for 1990s killings
March 25, 2015

(Reuters) – A former child soldier from Democratic Republic of Congo told the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday he was sorry for the harm he caused after he was forcefully recruited from his school by an armed group at age 12. “We killed, we looted,” said Junior Nzita Nsuami, now 30. “We transported cases of ammunition, we walked thousands of kilometers with just one belief – we must fire on everything that moves out of fear that we will be fired upon.” Nsuami, who lives in Kinshasa, told a meeting on children and armed conflict that he had been recruited in eastern Congo by the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (AFDL) and fought with the group for three years in the 1990s.

 

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The Cost of War
March 25, 2015

(Save the Children) – As we approach the fourth anniversary of the war in Syria, almost 3 million Syrian children are out of school, putting them at risk of exploitation and threatening their futures. Unless this situation is urgently addressed, the prospects for eventual peace, stability and economic prosperity in Syria look uncertain. A slow and silent assault on a child is committed each time their right to education is denied. Now new analysis by Save the Children, CfBT Education Trust and the American Institutes for Research also highlights the devastating economic cost that 2.8 million children missing school is likely to have both on Syria’s children and on the future of their country.

 

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Watchlist Press Release: March 2015 Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict
March 24, 2015

(Watchlist Press Release) – Tomorrow, for the first time, the United Nations (UN) Security Council will hold an Open Debate on the topic of armed non-State actors.

 

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Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds in northern Nigeria town: residents
March 24, 2015

(Reuters) – Boko Haram militants have kidnapped more than 400 women and children from the northern Nigerian town of Damasak that was freed this month by troops from Niger and Chad, residents said on Tuesday. There was no immediate official confirmation of the figure, but the Islamist group has previously carried out mass kidnappings. Boko Haram’s abduction last April of nearly 300 schoolgirls in the region stirred international outrage and drew global attention to the group’s six-year insurgency. “They took 506 young women and children (in Damasak). They killed about 50 of them before leaving,” a trader called Souleymane Ali told Reuters in the town. “We don’t know if they killed others after leaving, but they took the rest with them.”

 

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Using Targeted Sanctions To End Violations Against Children in Armed Conflict
March 24, 2015

(Boston University International Law Journal) – In this article, authors David Koller and Miriam Eckenfels-Garcia examine how the United Nations Security Council can more effectively utilize the threat and use of sanctions to contribute to ending grave violations against children in situations of armed conflict. The article reviews the Security Council’s efforts to address such violations and observes that the Council has so far made limited use of the possibility of sanctions. Drawing on lessons learned from the Council’s general practice in applying sanctions, this article considers that sanctions can play an effective role in influencing the behavior of potential and actual perpetrators of grave violations against children, but that a number of difficult political, practical, and legal challenges first need to be overcome. Taking these challenges into account, this article offers concrete recommendations for deploying the threat and use of sanctions to help put an end to grave violations against children in situations of armed conflict.

 

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As Syria Conflict Enters a Fifth Year, What Does it Take to End the Crisis and End the Suffering
March 13, 2015

(OSRSG) – The appalling crisis in Syria is entering a fifth year. A crisis that continues to exact an unconscionable human cost. A crisis that the international community has failed to stop. More than 200,000 people have been killed. Children and young people are subject to and surrounded by violence, despair and deprivation. Women and girls, and men and boys in detention, are at particular risk of sexual violence. More than 12.2 million people in Syria need life-saving aid and 3.9 million refugees have fled across borders seeking safety and security.

 

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14 Million Children Suffering as Result of War in Syria and Iraq, Unicef Says
March 12, 2015

(New York Times) – Around 14 million children are suffering hardship and trauma from the war in Syria and Iraq, the United Nations children’s agency said on Thursday, highlighting the needs of children struggling to cope with severe violence, and the danger to the rest of the world of failing to help a generation preyed on by extremist groups. “Violence and suffering have not only scarred their past, they are shaping their futures,” Anthony Lake, Unicef’s director, said in a statement released on Thursday with a report on the plight of 5.6 million children in Syria and two million more who have fled as refugees. Close to three million children in Iraq and 3.6 million children in neighboring countries bearing the brunt of the influx are affected by the conflict, Unicef estimated.

 

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A Year of Progress for “Children, Not Soldiers”
March 6, 2015

(OSRSG) – A blog post by Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict: “One year ago, representatives of the last eight governments of the world named by the UN Secretary-General for the recruitment and use of children in their security forces gathered at the United Nations in New York to declare they were ready to take the steps necessary to make their security forces child-free.”

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Watchlist Press Release: Colombia: Child soldiers risk being left out of the peace process
February 19, 2015

(Watchlist Press Release) – Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict is concerned that the peace process between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia People’s Army (FARC–EP) in Havana, still falls short of recognizing child soldiers as victims of the conflict. “Despite recent efforts to include the issue of child soldiers in the negotiation, parties to the peace process should not turn a blind eye to the thousands of child soldiers who have yet to be recognized as victims and are entitled to effective remedies for the violation of their rights.” said Gilles-Philippe Pagé, Partnerships Program Officer at Watchlist.

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