Yemen: Children among civilians killed and maimed in cluster bomb ‘minefields’
May 23, 2016

(Amnesty International) – Children and their families returning home in northern Yemen after a year of conflict are at grave risk of serious injury and death from thousands of unexploded cluster bomb submunitions, Amnesty International said, following a 10-day research trip to Sa’da, Hajjah, and Sana’a governorates. International assistance is urgently needed to clear contaminated areas and countries with influence should urge the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces to stop using cluster munitions, which are internationally banned and inherently indiscriminate.

 

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Half of UNRWA Schools Affected by Conflict in the Last Five Years
May 22, 2016

(UNRWA) – Of the many tragedies occurring in the Middle East, the story of embattled schools may be one of the least well known. Front lines shift and run through school grounds, artillery rounds hit installations, incursions by armed forces or groups occur, and access is prevented or rendered impossible for young boys and girls, for whom education is a critical life-line. Nearly half of the 692 schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, across the region have been impacted, attacked or otherwise rendered inoperable by conflict or violence in the last five years, according to a new report unveiled at the World Humanitarian Summit, taking place in Istanbul. “A staggering 302 schools have been directly affected,” said UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl, in an article published this week.

 

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Rights groups call for action at first humanitarian summit
May 20, 2016

(USA Today) – Human rights groups on Friday called for the first ever World Humanitarian Summit to result in meaningful action in tackling crises affecting millions of people around the world. The meeting, convened by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, aims to end conflicts through political leadership, managing refugees, dealing with natural disasters and climate change, empowering women and girls and preventing widespread diseases.

 

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Humanitarian aid is failing millions of girls who are out of school
May 20, 2016

(A World at School) – Girls are more than twice as likely as boys to drop out of school during humanitarian emergencies such as wars and natural disasters. About 39 million girls had their education disrupted by emergencies in 2015 – leaving them vulnerable to exploitation during crises and in danger of having their education ended permanently. A new briefing paper published today by Theirworld – the children’s charity behind A World at School – highlights how girls’ education is disproportionately affected during and after emergency situations.

 

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West Africa: Children, Not Terrorists
May 20, 2016

(Institute for Security Studies) – A recent report by The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on the impact of Boko Haram on children in Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon offers insight into the devastating effects that the group leaves in its wake. The report estimates that 1.3 million children were displaced in 2015, an increase of 60% from the year before. The report also details 44 incidents where children were used in suicide attacks in 2015; a massive increase compared with the four reported in the previous year. These shocking numbers challenge us to question how we are taking care of the most vulnerable members of society; those we continue to term as ‘the future’.

 

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Dispatches: Return of Chibok Schoolgirl Renews Hope
May 19, 2016

(HRW) – After more than two years, Amina Ali, one of the 276 schoolgirls Boko Haram fighters abducted from a Chibok school in a 2014 attack that sparked lasting international outrage, was found this week. She was reportedly identified by a member of a civilian vigilante group assisting Nigerian soldiers in the fight against Boko Haram. Amina’s abduction with 275 other classmates from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state, became the symbol of Boko Haram’s capture of at least 2000 women and children over the course of the seven-year long insurgency in northeast Nigeria sparking international outrage as voiced though the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, started by local activists. Since their abduction on April 14, 2014, only 57 of the girls had managed to escape at various stages of being captured; 219 remained hostages.

 

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Four schools or hospitals in crisis zones attacked or occupied every day – UNICEF
May 19, 2016

(UN News Centre) – An average of four schools or hospitals are attacked or occupied by armed forces and groups every day, according to analysis released today by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit. The findings, drawn from the most recent annual report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, come in the wake of recent attacks on education and health facilities and workers – including the bombing of schools in Yemen, and a strike on a hospital in Aleppo, Syria on 27 April, that killed at least 50 people, including one of the last paediatricians in the area.

 

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Turning children of war into children of peace
May 19, 2016

(Christian Science Monitor) – An estimated 19 million children have been caught up in world conflicts but perhaps the most famous may be Amina Ali Nkeki . She was one of 219 girls abducted by Boko Haram militants in 2014 at the Chibok school in Nigeria, and the only one to be rescued so far. After meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, the 19-year-old was promised assistance in reintegrating back into society. Her rescue and recovery should set an example in helping all the other “war children” who have been either kidnapped, abused, forced to flee, or conscripted to act as soldiers. Focusing on the most vulnerable in a conflict is a way to end a conflict. Combatants in a war often find it difficult to ignore pleas to save the young and innocent.

 

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Second ‘Chibok girl’ rescued, says Nigerian army
May 19, 2016

(Reuters) – A second girl who was among more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in a raid on their school in the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok more than two years ago has been rescued, a spokesman for the Nigerian army said on Thursday. Army spokesman Sani Usman said in an emailed statement that the girl was among 97 women and children held hostage by Boko Haram who were freed on Thursday morning after clashes between soldiers and jihadist militants in northeastern Borno state.

 

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Chibok girls: Amina Ali Nkeki meets President Buhari
May 19, 2016

(BBC News) – Amina Ali Nkeki, 19, was found with a baby by an army-backed vigilante group on Tuesday in the huge Sambisa Forest, close to the border with Cameroon. She was one of 219 pupils missing since being abducted from a secondary school in the town of Chibok in April 2014. Mr Buhari said he was delighted she was back and could resume her education.

 

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