Sudan: Police Beat, Arrest Female Students
October 15, 2014

(Human Rights Watch) -  Sudanese authorities should investigate reported abuses, including sexual abuse, of female Darfuri students during a government raid on an all-female dormitory. The authorities should release or charge all those remaining in detention. On October 5 and 6, 2014, government security forces forcibly evicted about 70 female students from the Zahra dormitory complex in Khartoum, beating and arresting many students. The police verbally and physically abused students, those who have been released told Human Rights Watch. Students who were arrested on both days were taken to the National Security and Intelligence Service (NISS) offices, where officers beat and interrogated them about their political affiliations before transferring them to the Omdurman prison for women. 

 

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Increased Levels of Violence Disproportionately Affect Children
October 15, 2014

(OSRSG-CAAC) - Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, alerted the General Assembly that in the past few months, the intensity of fighting has reached unprecedented levels in many conflicts. “Children are the primary victims,” the Special Representative said during the presentation of her annual report. “They have been killed, maimed, used and recruited, targeted and brutalized by armed forces and groups.” She urged the international community to come together to protect children in the face of new waves of extremism sweeping across Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and northern Mali. In addition, protracted conflicts in Afghanistan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as large scale emergencies in Syria, Iraq, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Gaza continue to take a dramatic toll on children.

 

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International court tries to avert disasters, establish norms
October 14, 2014

(Cornell Chronicle) - Judge Sang-Hyun Song, president of the International Criminal Court (ICC), focused on the court’s preventive potential to make genocide, use of child soldiers and human rights violations unacceptable in an Oct. 9 campus talk.When Song was nine years old, armed conflict broke out in his home country of Korea and his family hid for three months during the Battle of Seoul. Song said he was “old enough to realize the horrors of war,” and his childhood experiences inspired him to devote his life to the “search for justice and improvement of society through the rule of law.” Joining the ICC in 2003, Song was again confronted with war atrocities, such as genocide and the use of child soldiers. He said the ICC is instrumental in preventing and deterring these crimes, but that’s a small task: “Changing the world for the better is really hard work.”

 

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Minister deplores ‘human scandal’ of child soldiers
October 14, 2014

(SWI) - Switzerland should play a more active role in the protection of children who are victims and perpetrators in armed conflicts, said Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, citing the country’s commitment to peace, democracy and human rights. About 250,000 children under 18 are currently estimated to be serving in armed groups, 40% of them girls, Burkhalter said at the annual conference of the foreign ministry’s Human Security Division on Tuesday. Thousands of children worldwide are forced to join the army, to kill or maim; often their victims are other children. Thousands of girls are enslaved and raped during conflicts.

 

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Nigeria’s Chibok School Girl Kidnapping Six Months Later
October 14, 2014

(Council on Foreign Relations) - On the night of April 14-15, 2014 up to three hundred girls from different schools in northeastern Nigeria gathered for their final examinations in the town of Chibok. Instead of taking their tests,they were kidnapped. Three weeks later, on May 5, Boko Haram’s Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Some victims managed to escape, and the numbers still held in captivity are soft. The figure most often cited by the media is 276. Especially in the aftermath of Shekau’s video, with threats to sell the girls into slavery, there was international outrage. Even First Lady Michelle Obama publicly rallied around the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, and other countries all offered assistance. There was widespread criticism of the lethargy of the Jonathan administration in taking concrete action.

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Dispatches: Does UN know who torches Thailand schools?
October 14, 2014

(Human Rights Watch) - First doused with gasoline, then set alight, six schools were engulfed in flames in Thailand’s southern province of Pattani on Sunday. Flames consumed textbooks, furniture, classrooms, and dreams. It’s highly unlikely these schools will be repaired in time for the new school term in early November. Attacks on schools and teachers have become a regular part of the separatist insurgency in Thailand’s predominantly ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces. More than 300 government schools have been attacked in the past decade, and at least 175 teachers, predominately but not exclusively ethnic Thais, have been shot in their classrooms, in their lodgings, or on their way to or from school.

 

 

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Nobel Peace Prize Win for Malala Is a Message to All Students Living in Conflict – Yes You Can
October 14, 2014

(GCPEA) - The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) congratulates Pakistani education activist, Malala Yousafzai, and Indian child rights activist, Kailash Satyarthi, for winning the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Yousafzai—the schoolgirl shot by the Pakistani Taliban in October 2012 for defending girls’ right to education—has since become one of the world’s most vocal and passionate champions for education and young women’s empowerment. The Nobel announcement comes two years after the shooting, which failed to silence the teenager and instead amplified her message globally. “Around the world, girls and boys growing up in conflict face similar threats as Malala Yousafzai braved in Pakistan—her courage gives hope to all students fighting for their right to education,” said GCPEA Director Diya Nijhowne. “The selection of Malala for the Nobel award sends the message to young people everywhere that the fight is one they can win.”

 

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Reflections on child rights in Sri Lanka, during the past 25 years
October 12, 2014

(The Sunday Times) - The origin of rights based services for Sri Lankan children began soon after independence…Although Sri Lanka observed the optional protocol to the CRC on children affected by the armed conflict, and did not recruit any person under the age of 18 years to their security forces, non-state parties did recruit child soldiers, both boys and girls, between the ages of 10 and 18 years. On their insistence, it was excluded as an agenda item in peace negotiations and peace accords, including the last one brokered by Norway. But one of the most significant characteristics of Sri Lanka’s conflict was the use of child soldiers by non-state parties for combat and other military duties. This occurred with impunity during 26 years of the conflict. Efforts by several UN Special Rapporteurs and humanitarian agencies including UNICEF, were unable to influence a change. The forcible recruitment of children as combatants occurred through kidnapping, coercion of families, indoctrination in schools and abductions. Many of these children lost their lives, their childhood and their families. They became disabled and were traumatized. It was estimated that more than 60 per cent of the fighting cadres of all non-state parties to the conflict, were children under 18. Some children who did manage to escape to the government side were afforded rehabilitation and reintegration services, and were reunited with their families. The Office of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation was established in 2006 through a special gazette issued by the President’s Office specifically for such children. It functioned under the Secretary, Ministry of Justice, and was supported by UNICEF and other humanitarian agencies. The heinous crime of child recruitment only ceased when the conflict ended in May 2009. No child soldier was indicted for any crimes they committed.

 

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Iraq: Forced Marriage, Conversion for Yezidis
October 12, 2014

(Human Rights Watch) - The armed group Islamic State is holding hundreds of Yezidi men, women, and children from Iraq captive in formal and makeshift detention facilities in Iraq and SyriaThe group has systematically separated young women and teenage girls from their families and has forced some of them to marry its fighters, according to dozens of relatives of the detainees, 16 Yezidis who escaped Islamic State detention, and two detained women interviewed by phone. They said the group has also taken away boys and forced captives to convert to Islam. “The Islamic State’s litany of horrific crimes against the Yezidis in Iraq only keeps growing,” said Fred Abrahams, special adviser at Human Rights Watch. “We heard shocking stories of forced religious conversions, forced marriage, and even sexual assault and slavery – and some of the victims were children.”

 

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Nine killed in suspected Ugandan rebel attack in DR Congo: UN
October 10, 2014

(Agence France-Presse) - Nine civilians were killed when suspected members of a notorious Ugandan Islamist group stormed a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo this week, UN peacekeepers said on Friday. “The attack took place during the night of the 8th to 9th October when the rebels invaded the town of Oicha and killed nine people belonging to two families, including the children,” the United Nations’ Monusco peacekeeping mission said in a statement.

 

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