Two thirds of unimmunized children live in conflict-affected countries – UNICEF
April 22, 2016

(UN News Centre) – Almost two thirds of children who have not been immunized with basic vaccines live in countries that are either partially or entirely affected by conflict, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today, ahead of World Immunization Week. Of countries in conflict, South Sudan has the highest percentage of unimmunized children, with 61 per cent not receiving the most basic childhood vaccines, followed by Somalia (58 per cent) and Syria (57 per cent), UNICEF said in a press release. “Conflict creates an ideal environment for disease outbreaks,” said UNICEF Chief of Immunization Robin Nandy. “Children miss out on basic immunizations because of the breakdown – and sometimes deliberate destruction – of vital health services. Even when medical services are available, insecurity in the area often prevents them from reaching children.”

 

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Disqualified Maoist combatants turn to TRC for justice
April 22, 2016

(Republica) – The Discharged People’s Liberation Army Struggle Committee, the association of Maoist combatants who were termed ‘disqualified’ during the peace process, has filed a complaint at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) demanding action against the then leadership of the CPN (Maoist) [present day UCPN (Maoist)] for exploiting them as child soldiers. On behalf of the 4,009 discharged combatants, the committee on Tuesday lodged the complaint demanding action against the Maoist leadership for using them in the insurgency although the leadership was aware that they were minors. The complaint was registered at the TRC office in Kathmandu and the registration number of the complaint is 49.

 

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The world is failing to protect its children
April 22, 2016

(The Globe and Mail) – In our fight against Boko Haram, protecting children must be a priority security concern. Last week, the international community recognized the two-year mark of the abduction of the more than 200 Chibok girls into the ranks of Boko Haram. Between the renewed calls for justice and the continuing protection of children in Nigeria, a nagging question continued to be ignored. What drives Boko Haram to continue to capture and use children?

 

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A Libyan City Commits to Protect Children from Armed Conflict
April 20, 2016

(OSRSG-CAAC) – Municipal leaders in Libya are taking action to better protect children from the impact of armed conflict. In February, the Municipal Council of Al Zintan, a city located about 130 km southwest of Tripoli, and one of the largest in the region, agreed to work with UNICEF to facilitate the release of children under 18 involved in the armed conflict and to establish a reintegration centre. The centre will provide services to children and also to adults who were involved in the conflict when they were still children.

 

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Death toll rises after Taliban attack in Kabul
April 20, 2016

(CNN) – The death toll from an explosion in the Afghan capital rose to 64 people Wednesday, authorities said, a day after militants targeted civilians in Kabul. The blast rocked Kabul on Tuesday morning — the apparent work of Taliban militants targeting a security team that protects government VIPs, a police official said. In addition to the deaths, more than 300 people were wounded, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi said. Despite the target, most of the victims were civilians — including women and children, according to Sediqi.

 

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Tribal rituals help rehabilitate Colombia child soldiers
April 19, 2016

(AFP) – Alejandro was just 15 when he left home to join Colombia’s leftist FARC rebels — one of thousands of children recruited to fight the government during the deadly decades-long conflict. Three years on, he is back home, in school and readjusting to normal life thanks in part to a program based on the unique world vision of his Nasa Indian tribe, who live in the country’s southwestern Cauca department. “I joined the guerrillas because I was sick of being at home,” Alejandro, whose name has been changed for his own safety, told AFP.

 

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Children of Syria By the Numbers
April 19, 2016

(Frontline) – In more than five years of war, the fighting in Syria has left an estimated 470,000 dead, more than 1 million injured, and driven 11.3 million from their homes. For the millions of children caught in the middle, the war has taken an especially painful toll. According to UNICEF, 8.4 million children – more than 80 percent of Syria’s child population – have been affected by the conflict, either in Syria or as refugees in neighboring countries. In 2015 alone, the agency documented nearly 1,500 “grave violations” against children. The majority of these violations were cases of killing or maiming from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, the agency said.

 

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Afghan schools, hospitals under threat, U.N. says in grim report
April 18, 2016

(Reuters) – Schools and health facilities have come under increasing threat as violence spreads in Afghanistan, making it harder for children especially to get access to education and medical care, the United Nations reported on Monday. Western-backed Afghan government forces are locked in a protracted battle with Taliban insurgents who are at their strongest since they were ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001.

 

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UK firm ’employed former child soldiers’ as mercenaries in Iraq
April 17, 2016

(The Guardian) – A former senior director at a British firm says that it employed mercenaries from Sierra Leone to work in Iraq because they were cheaper than Europeans and did not check if they were former child soldiers.  James Ellery, who was a director of Aegis Defence Services between 2005 and 2015, said that contractors had a “duty” to recruit from countries such as Sierra Leone, “where there’s high unemployment and a decent workforce”, in order to reduce costs for the US presence in Iraq.

 

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Afghan army moves into Helmand schools rebuilt with UK aid
April 16, 2016

(The Guardian) – Two schools in Helmand that were refurbished using British aid money are now being used as bases for the Afghan army, the Guardian has learned. In another sign that intensified fighting between the resurgent Taliban and government forces threatens to reverse some of the most significant gains of the past 15 years, the Helmand schools are now occupied by Afghan national army soldiers. Pupils still attend one of the schools, in Sayedabad, Nad Ali district, which received about £100,000 from the British Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). Soldiers have built a rudimentary watchtower on the roof and walk heavily armed through the schoolyard.

 

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