NOT WELCOME: The social rejection of former girl soldiers
September 19, 2016

(Child Soldiers International)  – A third of child soldiers are estimated to be girls in DR Congo – some as young as four years old. Many are forced to fight and are sexually abused. And when they come home they’re often outcast. We interviewed them to find out why and what can be done. Two thirds of the girls we met had been abducted by an armed group, before being forced to fight. One girl who was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army told us: “I was given a uniform. They taught me how to use the weapons. I fought in several battles, attacking villages and abducting children. They explained exactly how to kill using a stick – where to hit on the neck.”

 

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EASO publishes a Country of Origin Information (COI) report on recruitment by armed groups in Afghanistan
September 19, 2016

(EASO) – Today, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report entitled ‘Afghanistan – Recruitment by armed groups’. The report is an update of a previous report published in 2012 and provides an overview of recruitment practices of armed groups in Afghanistan, providing information relevant for protection status determination of Afghan asylum applicants. In the first seven months of 2016, Afghanistan ranked 2nd in the top countries of origin in EU+ countries[1], with a total of almost 110 239 applicants.

 

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Syria war: Aleppo’s children and families suffer conflict’s horror
September 16, 2016

(BBC) – Two children this week made me think very hard about the waste and horror of this war in Syria, of every war. The first was a boy of eight called Hani Jadid. He was lying on a trolley outside Aleppo university hospital. The day was hot and all he was dressed in was a disposable nappy. A tube came out of it leading to a plastic bag to collect his urine. His right arm was gone, amputated above the elbow. The stump had been heavily wrapped in new, cream-coloured bandages, like both his legs. Hani was being sent home to start his new life. He will have to live it without four cousins, who were killed by the shell that maimed him.

 

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The number of South Sudanese refugees reaches 1 million mark
September 16, 2016

(UNHCR) – The number of South Sudanese refugees sheltering in neighbouring countries has this week passed the 1 million mark, including more than 185,000 people who have fled since fresh violence erupted in the country in Juba on July 8. With this milestone, South Sudan joins Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia as countries which have produced more than a million refugees. Most of the recent arrivals have crossed into Uganda (143,164), but a surge of people have entered western Ethiopia’s Gambella region in the past week and others have been heading to Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic. These countries have commendably kept their doors open to the new arrivals.

 

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One in three Saudi air raids on Yemen hit civilian sites, data shows
September 16, 2016

(The Guardian) – More than one-third of all Saudi-led air raids on Yemen have hit civilian sites, such as school buildings, hospitals, markets, mosques and economic infrastructure, according to the most comprehensive survey of the conflict. The findings, revealed by the Guardian on Friday, contrast with claims by the Saudi government, backed by its US and British allies, that Riyadh is seeking to minimise civilian casualties.

 

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Syria: UN says aid convoys unable to reach besieged areas despite US-Russia deal on ceasefire
September 15, 2016

(UN News Centre) – The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria today said the ceasefire following last Friday’s Russia-United States agreement is largely holding but that desperately-awaited humanitarian convoys are unable to move due to a delay in getting permits from the Syrian Government. “It is particularly regrettable because […] we are losing time,” Staffan de Mistura told a press briefing in Geneva. “These are days which we should have used for convoys to move with the permit to go because there is no fighting,” he stressed.

 

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UNHCR reports crisis in refugee education
September 15, 2016

(UNHCR) – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, released a report today showing that more than half – 3.7 million – of the 6 million school-age children under its mandate have no school to go to. Some 1.75 million refugee children are not in primary school and 1.95 million refugee adolescents are not in secondary school, the report found. Refugees are five times more likely to be out of school than the global average. “This represents a crisis for millions of refugee children,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “Refugee education is sorely neglected, when it is one of the few opportunities we have to transform and build the next generation so they can change the fortunes of the tens of millions of forcibly displaced people globally.”

 

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Syria: Turkish Strikes on SDF Fighters Kill 24 Civilians
September 15, 2016

(Human Rights Watch) – A Turkish attack on US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters in northern Syria on August 28, 2016, killed 24 civilians, including 6 children. Between 10 and 15 fighters deployed among the civilians were also killed. Available information suggests that both sides could have done more to minimize civilian loss of life, as required by the laws of war. Two local residents told Human Rights Watch that before sunrise on August 28, Turkish aircraft struck SDF forces who had just disembarked from military vehicles among residential buildings in which about four dozen civilians had sought shelter from nearby fighting. Artillery shelling soon after resulted in additional casualties.

 

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Civilian casualties up 66 per cent in eastern Ukraine during summer – UN report
September 15, 2016

(UN News Centre) – A new United Nations report released today shows a 66 per cent increase in the number of conflict-related civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine and describes the deterioration of the human rights situation there, as a result of escalating hostilities between the Government and non-Government forces from June to August. “The escalation of hostilities along the contact line over the summer was a sharp reminder that the situation in eastern Ukraine deserves much more attention,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in a news release issued by his Office (OHCHR).

 

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Letter to President Obama regarding the Child Soldiers Prevention Act
September 14, 2016

(Human Rights Watch) – Dear President Obama, As organizations that have long worked to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers around the world, we are writing regarding the determinations you will make in the coming weeks on whether or not to issue waivers under the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) for governments implicated in the use of child soldiers. In this last year of your administration, we urge you to use this law to its full potential by rejecting the use of full waivers. By doing so, you will make clear that the United States does not tolerate the use of children as soldiers.

 

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