Year of conflict in South Sudan has stolen future of a generation of children – UNICEF
December 12, 2014

(UN News Centre) - The scale of the crisis facing children in South Sudan is “staggering” according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which warned today that the future of an entire generation of the country’s children was being “stolen” by the year-long conflict. Since violence erupted in December 2013, almost 750,000 children have been internally displaced, with 320,000 more living as refugees. UNICEF says that approximately 400,000 children were missing school, 12,000 reported as being used by armed forces and groups, and children were subject to violence, malnutrition and disease.

 

Link

Kabul suicide bomber attacks French school during show
December 11, 2014

(BBC) - A suicide bomber has attacked a French-run school in the Afghan capital Kabul, killing several people during a show, French officials say. At least 15 people were injured in the attack at the Istiqlal school, home to the French Cultural Centre. Video footage showed chaos inside the packed auditorium after the explosion. Earlier, at least six Afghan soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber on the outskirts of Kabul – part of a string of attacks by the Taliban. The militants also said they were behind the attack on the school, describing the performance as an insult to Islamic values.

 

Link

UN Security Council Working Group meets with children formerly associated with armed forces or groups in Goma
December 9, 2014

(OSRSG-CAAC) – On the third day of their DRC trip, the UN Security Council Working Group on children and armed forces headed by H.E Ms Sylvie Lucas from Luxemburg visited UNICEF partner CAJED transit centre which provides support to children formerly associated with armed forces and armed groups in Goma, in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In CAJED, the working group met with children to better understand their experience and the trauma they had gone through prior to their arrival in the CAJED centre.

 

Link

One year on: Children hardest hit by violence in Central African Republic
December 8, 2014

(IFRC) - Upon their arrival at an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Bangui, Central African Republic, several children run toward the Red Cross team, clapping their hands and cheering, a sign of appreciation for the team’s arrival with humanitarian aid, to keep them going, at least for the time being. These children, victims of a war that is not theirs, bear the trauma of family disintegration, dropping out of school, abuse, movement restriction, insecurity and the inability to be who they are – children! Among them is Benicia Anjikapou, 9, who lived with her parents and four siblings in the neighborhood of Combatant before violence erupted. She was a class two pupil at a nearby primary school, living the normal life of a child. When armed clashes broke out in Bangui, her world was turned upside down. The worst happened. Her father, who worked in the capital, did not return home – he had been killed.

 

Link 

France Can Convert Bunkers Back to Math Classes
December 8, 2014

(HRW) - “This is the math class, and now this is not a class, this is a bunker of the army,” exclaims a young South Asian girl surveying a school classroom. In her voice is a touch of despair, tinged with a dose of disgust. Her tone turns to disappointment: “I was very proud of my army, that the army protects us, but when I see my school in this way, so I am very shameful of my army.” Later this week, this girl will travel to Oslo and collect her Nobel Peace Prize.

 

Link

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.

 

Link

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.

 

Link

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.

 

Link

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.

 

Link

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.

 

Link