With 15 million children caught up in major conflicts, UNICEF declares 2014 a devastating year for children
December 8, 2014

(UNICEF) - The year 2014 has been one of horror, fear and despair for millions of children, as worsening conflicts across the world saw them exposed to extreme violence and its consequences, forcibly recruited and deliberately targeted by warring groups, UNICEF said today. Yet many crises no longer capture the world’s attention, warned the children’s agency. “This has been a devastating year for millions of children,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “Children have been killed while studying in the classroom and while sleeping in their beds; they have been orphaned, kidnapped, tortured, recruited, raped and even sold as slaves. Never in recent memory have so many children been subjected to such unspeakable brutality.” As many as 15 million children are caught up in violent conflicts in the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, the State of Palestine, Syria and Ukraine – including those internally displaced or living as refugees. Globally, an estimated 230 million children currently live in countries and areas affected by armed conflicts.

 

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European Parliament supports “Children, Not Soldiers” Campaign
December 3, 2014

(OSRSG-CAAC) - The UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and UNICEF welcomed the commitment of the European Parliament to end the recruitment and use of children and protect them from the impact of conflict. “Millions of children are disproportionately affected by current conflicts. Our moral obligation is to make sure that these children, including child soldiers, belong in schools and not on the battlefield or serve armed groups. This is why the European Parliament supports wholeheartedly the “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign, and this is why we will keep pushing for children’s rights to be even higher in the EU foreign policy agenda”, said Elena Valenciano Martinez-Orozco, Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights during a special hearing held jointly with the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the European Parliament today.

 

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Burma’s Soldiers Beware
December 3, 2014

(Wall Street Journal) - It didn’t take long for military attacks to resume in Burma following President Barack Obama ’s visit last month. Less than a week after Air Force One departed, the Burmese army shelled a rebel training camp in Kachin State, killing 23 cadets. Just days later, it bombarded an area near a camp for displaced civilians, prompting rare public protests in Rangoon and a statement of concern from the U.S. Embassy. This is the gritty truth of the “new Myanmar.” The story of successful cease-fire agreements and burgeoning democracy is giving way to disillusionment as the peace process stalls and violence escalates.

 

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Darfur: African Union-UN mission launches campaign against recruitment of child soldiers
December 1, 2014

(UN News Centre) - The United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has launched a campaign throughout the western region of Sudan against the recruitment of children as soldiers with an event that was attended by more than 1,000 people. Held in conjunction with the Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the event saw performances of songs as a show of solidarity with issues related to the protection of children, and clothing was distributed bearing messages promoting peace and protection of children, and against the use of child soldiers.

 

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ICC rejects Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga’s appeal
December 1, 2014

(BBC) - The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has rejected an appeal by the Congolese militia leader, Thomas Lubanga, against his conviction for using child soldiers. Prosecutors said boys as young as 11 had been abducted to fight in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo that started in 1999. Girls were used as sex slaves, the trial heard. In 2012, Lubanga became the first person to be convicted by the ICC.

 

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Children in Islamic State Propaganda Send Powerful Message
November 28, 2014

(VOA) - The so-called Islamic State militants appear to be recruiting and training children in Iraq. It features children in its recent stream of propaganda videos and photos. They are portrayed in a variety of ways. Some children seem to play happily among smiling IS fighters. Other young boys, even babies, don black Islamic State garb as they pose next to automatic weapons and a black flag of jihad. Other videos show toddlers firing automatic weapons they can barely hold. And other children are seen watching beheadings and standing next to crucified corpses.

 

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376 children released from armed forces in Myanmar in 2014
November 26, 2014

(UNICEF) - Wearing traditional Myanmar checkered lungyis and starched white shirts with rounded collars, the young people sit down in rows of chairs and wait for further instruction. Most of them sit quietly but some fidget nervously and shift in their seats, craning their necks forward to see how the ceremony is progressing. They are 80 children and young people, all once recruited and used in the Tatmadaw. It is their final roll call as they prepare to leave the armed forces, discharged on the grounds that they should never have been enlisted in the first place. This is the eighth round of children released since June 2012 when the Government of Myanmar signed an Action Plan with the United Nations to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in the Tatmadaw.

 

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Afghanistan: UN strongly condemns suicide bombing at volleyball match
November 24, 2014

(UN News) - A brutal terrorist attack which killed at least 50 civilians in Afghanistan over the weekend is an “atrocity” and may amount to a war crime, the top United Nations envoy to the country declared today as he condemned the indiscriminate suicide bombing in “the strongest terms.” On 23 November, a suicide attacker detonated an improvised explosive device in a sports field in the Yahyakhail district of Afghanistan’s southeastern province of Paktika. At least 50 civilians who were attending a volleyball match were immediately killed while another 60 were injured. According to reports, many children were among the dead and injured.

 

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DR Congo: UN special envoy condemns ‘trend of massacres’ in eastern province
November 24, 2014

(UN News Centre) - The security situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is “worsening,” a senior United Nations official has warned, citing an escalating trend of massacres in the town of Beni – the site of continuing flare-ups of deadly violence between armed groups, including Ugandan-based rebels operating in the area. The situation in the town has been steadily deteriorating over the past few weeks amid a spate of attacks in which over 100 civilians, mostly women and children, have been killed, according to UN reports.

 

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Many children among Afghan volleyball match bomb victims
November 24, 2014

(BBC) - Many children were among a crowd watching a volleyball match in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday when a suicide bomber struck killing at least 50. One boy told the BBC he saw the bomber arrive on a motorbike. The boy’s right leg was injured in the explosion but he dragged himself away.

 

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