Protecting Education in Conflict Zones
December 1, 2016

(Project Syndicate) – In conflict zones, it is children who often bear the brunt of the violence. Last month, repeated air strikes on a school compound in Idlib, Syria, killed at least 22 children; and children in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo have, for months, had no way to escape near-constant bombardments. As the New York Times reported in September, “They cannot play, sleep or attend school. Increasingly, they cannot eat.” Just a few weeks before that report, a bomb was detonated outside a school in Southern Thailand, just as parents were dropping off their children. The blast instantly killed a father and his four-year-old daughter, and injured ten others.

 

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Targeting schools in Syria amounts to war crimes
December 1, 2016

(Gulf News) – Evidence is mounting of a war crime allegedly perpetrated by joint Russian-Syrian military forces when a school in the rebel-held village of Idlib province was bombed on October 26, leaving dozens of pupils and teachers dead. The bombing may be the deadliest school bombing since the start of Syria’s civil war in 2011. Last month, a Human Rights Watch report, based on interviews and photographs, placed Russian and Syrian bombers above the site in the village of Haas that day. Now, new satellite imagery provides additional verification that they were behind the bloodshed.

 

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Russia/Syria: War Crimes in Month of Bombing Aleppo
December 1, 2016

(Human Rights Watch) – The Russian-Syrian coalition committed war crimes during a month-long aerial bombing campaign of opposition-controlled territory in Aleppo in September and October 2016. The Violations Documentation Center, a Syrian civil monitoring organization, documented that the bombing campaign killed more than 440 civilians, including more than 90 children. Airstrikes often appeared to be recklessly indiscriminate, deliberately targeted at least one medical facility, and included the use of indiscriminate weapons such as cluster munitions and incendiary weapons.

 

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Geneva Call gathers 21 armed movements in Geneva to discuss how to better protect children and education in armed conflict
December 1, 2016

(Geneva Call) – From 22 to 24 November 2016, 31 leaders, commanders and advisers of 21 armed movements from 11 countries, including Syria, Iraq, Colombia, Yemen, and Burma/Myanmar, participated in workshops and discussions around the issue of child protection in armed conflict. « We thank Geneva Call for this meeting on international norms to protect children, and for recognizing our role to promote human values in armed conflict, and this even though we are considered outlawed in our country » said a representative of an armed movement.

 

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Colombia: Peace agreement must open the door to justice
December 1, 2016

(Amnesty International) – The ratification of the peace agreement marks the beginning of a new and hopeful chapter in Colombia’s history, but the real hard work starts now, Amnesty International said today. Last night, Congress ratified a revised version of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) after the original deal was rejected by a referendum on 2 October. The ratification paves the way for the FARC to begin to demobilize and disarm in a process to be implemented over six months.

 

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Almost half of Mosul’s children cut off from clean water as fighting intensifies
November 30, 2016

(UNICEF) – Almost half of all the children in Mosul and their families have reportedly been cut off from access to clean water after a major water pipeline was destroyed amid the ongoing conflict. The break in the pipeline — one of three major water conduits serving civilians in eastern Mosul — is located in parts of the city still held by the so-called Islamic State (ISIL), making it impossible to repair quickly. “Children and their families in Mosul are facing a horrific situation. Not only are they in danger of getting killed or injured in the cross fire, now potentially more than half a million people do not have safe water to drink,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq.

 

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South Sudan: Bureaucratic obstacles hindering relief work must stop, says senior UN official
November 30, 2016

(UN News Centre) – Expressing deep concern over the impact of a series of bureaucratic impediments and access constraints on relief operations, a senior United Nations humanitarian official in South Sudan has called on all parties to allow free, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to the people in need. “Humanitarian organizations in South Sudan are striving every day to save lives and alleviate suffering across this country,” said Eugene Owusu, Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan in a news release issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

 

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Worsening security forces more Afghan schools to shut
November 30, 2016

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Afghanistan’s worsening security has forced about 1,000 schools to close this year, more than double last year’s total, adding to problems that children face in getting an education, officials said. Education officials fear next year could be even worse if Taliban insurgents seize more territory. “Our students are the first victims of the war,” said Mujib Mehrdad, education ministry spokesman. “If the Taliban continue to gain strength, gains we have made could easily disappear,” he said, adding that 24 of the 34 provinces had been forced to shut some schools due to insecurity. Afghanistan’s education system has made significant gains since the Taliban were ousted by U.S.-led forces in 2001. Before then, girls were excluded from formal education altogether and fewer than 1 million boys went to school.

 

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Statement by UNICEF Regional Director Geert Cappelaere to the Security Council on the Situation of Children in Syria
November 30, 2016

(UNICEF) – “Thank you, Mr. President, distinguished members, ladies and Gentlemen. I am grateful for the opportunity to address the Security Council today on the plight of children in Syria. To say that the situation is tragic, Mr. President, would be an understatement. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine what words could still adequately convey the unspeakable horrors endured by Syria’s children every day. Tens of thousands of children have already been killed. Millions have been uprooted, some more than once. Too many have been deprived of basic medical care and safe drinking water. Too many have witnessed the death of their loved ones and the destruction of the places they once thought are safe: their homes, their schools, their playgrounds. Simply put, Syria’s children are trapped in a living nightmare.”

 

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Without urgent steps to end violence, Aleppo may become ‘giant graveyard,’ Security Council told
November 30, 2016

(UN News Centre) – With thousands of civilians fleeing neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo, senior United Nations officials today appealed to the Security Council and the wider international community to come together and “do everything in their power to protect civilians and enable aid access to the besieged parts of the [war-battered city] before it becomes one giant graveyard.”

 

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