Watchlist Press Release: September 2014 Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict
September 8, 2014

(Watchlist Press Release) – Today, the UN Security Council is discussing the 13th Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict in the open debate hosted by the United States.

South Sudan: Child Soldiers Thrust into Battle
August 20, 2014

(Human Rights Watch) -  South Sudan’s army has used child soldiers during recent fighting against opposition forces in violation of international law, Human Rights Watch said today. South Sudan’s former rebel forces, now the national army, had made tangible progress in ending its longtime practice of using child soldiers. But since the current armed conflict began in December 2013, both the government and opposition have recruited and deployed children in their forces. The government used child soldiers in renewed fighting in mid-August 2014 in Bentiu, the capital of Unity State, and in the neighboring town of Rubkona, Human Rights Watch found. Ten people who fled the fighting told Human Rights Watch in Bentiu that they saw dozens of children in military uniform, armed with assault rifles, deployed with government soldiers and firing on opposition positions. On August 12, Human Rights Watch saw 15 soldiers who appeared to be children around the government’s Rubkona military base and airstrip.

 

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More than 100 children released from armed groups in Central African Republic over past week
August 19, 2014

(UNICEF) - One hundred and three children age 8 to 17 were released over the past week from armed groups in Bangui following negotiations with armed group leaders. The 103 children, 13 of whom are girls, were associated with the anti-Balaka armed groups operating mainly in Bangui and in the western part of CAR, who took up arms in retaliation for attacks from ex-Seleka forces in the last year and a half of violence. “As the conflict continues, the number of children being used in armed groups has increased dramatically,” said Souleymane Diabaté, UNICEF Representative in Central African Republic. “Recruitment of children into conflict is a grave violation of child rights, and these children have witnessed a level of violence that no child should ever have to experience.”

 

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ISIS child recruitment push hints at long-term ambitions
August 15, 2014

(CBC) - The voice pledging jihad in the video is brash, prideful and chillingly juvenile. “We promise you car bombs and explosives,” the boy shouts, his small arms and hands gesturing wildly for emphasis. “We’ll destroy the enemies of the religions, all of them — all who fought the Islamic State,” he continues. “And the Caliphate?” prompts an adult male voice, coaching the youth off-camera. “And the Caliphate. The Caliphate will remain until the end of the world,” the child answers, reiterating his support for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The boy, who appears to be not much older than 12 in the Vice News documentary, embodies what human-rights and counter-terrorism researchers describe as a sophisticated and dangerous new phase for the Sunni extremists — the cultivation of child jihadis as part of a long-term strategy to building a caliphate, or Islamic state, in Iraq and Syria

 

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How to reintegrate Colombia’s child soldiers into society
August 14, 2014

(Miami Herald) - Child soldiers are the most helpless and most voiceless of the vast victim pool created by five decades of war in Colombia. On Saturday in Havana, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ administration will reconvene with the leadership of Colombia’s largest insurgency, known by the acronym FARC. And, for the first time in two years of peace talks, the warring sides will turn the stage over to the conflict’s victims. When these victims take the microphone to air their grievances, they will denounce displacement, maiming by land mines, kidnappings, rapes, and massacres — laying blame to the patchwork of the country’s armed actors. But one of these armed groups straddles the line between victim and victimizer and will not be invited on stage: Colombia’s estimated 7,000 child soldiers.

 

Time to investigate abuses in Nigeria
August 6, 2014

(IRIN) - Rights groups in Nigeria are calling for an independent investigation into evidence of abuses as video footage obtained by human rights group Amnesty International appears to show members of the Nigerian military brutally beating and murdering suspected militants in the country’s north. Northern Nigerians are being squeezed on all sides: under attack by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has killed thousands of civilians and displaced 250,000, abducted children, and burnt down hundreds of villages, among other abuses; and also targeted by the soldiers ostensibly sent to protect them. 

 

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Free Syrian Army Commits to Work with the United Nations to End and Prevent Recruitment and Use of Children
August 5, 2014

(OSRSG-CAAC) - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict welcomes the commitment by the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces and the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to end and prevent the recruitment of children under 18. In a communiqué annexed to a letter sent to the UN Security Council and made public yesterday, the Coalition and the Supreme Military Council pledged to issue command orders to FSA units banning the recruitment and use of children and to enforce disciplinary measures against child recruiters.

 

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Statement on child deaths in Iraq; attributable to Marzio Babille, UNICEF Representative
August 5, 2014

(UNICEF) - The reported deaths of 40 children from minority groups who were displaced from Sinjar city and district by armed violence are of extreme concern. According to official reports received by UNICEF, these children from the Yazidi minority died as a direct consequence of violence, displacement and dehydration over the past two days. Families who fled the area are in immediate need of urgent assistance, including up to 25,000 children who are now stranded in mountains surrounding Sinjar and are in dire need of humanitarian aid including drinking water and sanitation services.  

 

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UN Welcomes Afghan Government’s Endorsement of Road Map to End Recruitment and Use of Children in National Security Forces
August 1, 2014

(OSRSG-CAAC) - The United Nations today welcomed the Government of Afghanistan’s commitment to end and prevent the recruitment of children in the Afghan national security forces. The Afghan Government recently reconfirmed its commitment with the endorsement of a ‘Road Map Towards Compliance,’ which details 15 measures to fully implement an Action Plan signed with the United Nations in 2011. The road map was supported by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in their roles as co-chairs of the UN-led Country Task Force on Children and Armed Conflict.

 

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Myanmar Armed Forces Release 91 Children and Commit to Get Them Back to School
August 1, 2014

(OSRSG-CAAC) - Today, 91 children and young people* were released from the armed forces, to rejoin their families, friends and communities, demonstrating the commitment of the Myanmar Government and the Myanmar Armed Forces (known as the Tatmadaw) to end the recruitment and use of children. Their release results from strong collaboration and the joint efforts of the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar Government and the UN Country Task force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) on grave violations against children. The 91 children and young people arrived in Yangon earlier this week where, for many of them, they met their families for the first time after several years of separation.

 

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