Weekly Update from the Children's Rights Institute (CRI)
Nov 9, 2010 at 2:44 pm
We blog to update you on recent issues concerning children's human rights, as well as our activities.
1. CRI-Cosponsors the Other Israel Film Festival – CRI Director Brooke Goldstein to Moderate Q&A with the Producer of "World Class Kids" Nov 15 @7pm (Cinema Village)
Founded in 2007, The Other Israel Film Festival uses film to foster social awareness and cultural understanding. The Festival presents dramatic and documentary films, as well as engaging panels about history, culture, and identity on the topic of minority populations in Israel with a focus on Arab citizens of Israel/Palestinian Citizen's of Israel, who make up twenty percent of Israel's population. The festival's goal is to promote awareness and appreciation of the diversity of the state of Israel, provide a dynamic and inclusive forum for exploration of, and dialog about populations in margins of Israeli society, and encourage cinematic expression and creativity dealing with these themes. Programming is guided by the festival's mission to showcase quality cinema that brings to the big screen the human stories and daily lives of Arab Citizens and other minorities groups in Israel, often overlooked by mainstream Israeli society and culture.
CRI founder and Director, Brooke Goldstein, will be moderating a panel discussion with the producer of the film "World Class Kids" taking place Monday Nov 15th at 7pm. You can purchase tickets to the screening and the discussion afterwards by clicking here.
To view a list of the films being screened and/or buy tickets for other films, please click here.
2. Relevant & Timely News
Human Rights Groups Press Obama on Child Soldiers Decision, Foreign Policy—The Cable, Nov. 5, 2010. In response to the Obama administration's waiver of penalties for the use of child soldiers in violation of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (see following post), twenty-nine leading human rights organizations wrote to President Obama expressing their unhappiness with the decision. The human rights and child advocacy community was not consulted before the waiver was announced, and the groups communicated their belief that the "waiver undermines the intent of the law and sends an unfortunate message that the administration is not seriously committed to ending the use of child soldiers." Additionally, they wrote that the administration, by giving a blanket waiver, has "given up the significant leverage that the [Act] provides to influence the child recruitment practices of its military allies." The Children's Rights Institute is glad to see that human rights groups are voicing such concerns and giving the phenomenon of child soldiers the attention it deserves and requires. The full article is available here.
U.S. Waiving Penalties for Use of Child Soldiers, Fox News, Oct. 29, 2010. The Obama administration has decided to waive application of the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act to Yemen, Sudan, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all of which use child soldiers. The Act, signed by President George W. Bush in 2008, prohibits U.S. military education and training, foreign military financing, and other defense-related assistance to countries that actively recruit troops under the age of 18. The White House provided no justification in its memo, other than that President Obama determined the waiver to be in our "national interest." State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley reportedly said that the countries receiving the waiver deserve more time to correct their practices. According to The Cable, Crowley explained that the United States is working with the governments and militaries of these four nations to "help them meet international norms," though it is unclear how (and if) the administration plans to protect child soldiers. The full article is available here.
Somali Militants Execute 2 Girls; Town Horrified, Arab Times, Nov. 3, 2010. Two young girls, aged 15 and 18, were executed by a firing squad after Sheik Mohamad Ibrahim sentenced the girls to death for spying for government soldiers fighting al-Shabab. Al-Shabab has vowed allegiance and is linked to al-Qaeda. A local elder called the girls' so-called trial a "sham," stating that "[n]o evidence was presented" and there was "[n]o independent investigation." In his opinion, "the execution was only meant to show the cruelty of al-Shabab militants so the residents in the region are terrified." The full article is available here.
Taliban Set Up Training 'Schools' On Karachi Outskirts; Teen Says Taliban Trainer Convinced Him That 'Each And Every Organ Of Mine Will Be Offered in the Way Of God's Will – And As Soon As I Blow Myself Up, I Will Be in Heaven', MEMRI, Oct. 27, 2010. MEMRI has reported that the Taliban have set up "terror training schools," where Taliban members deliver lectures as part of their efforts to recruit Pakistani teenagers. The existence of the "schools" was confirmed by Mohammad Salaam, a 16-year-old would-be child suicide bomber. Salaam was quoted as saying that Zahir Shah, a Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) leader, "said that becoming a suicide bomber was [Salaam's] ticket to heaven, and that on the Day of Judgment [Salaam] would have nothing to worry about." The Wall Street Journal has reported that Salaam was only 14 years old. The full MEMRI article is available here.
Carol J. Williams, Former Child Soldier Convicted of Murder in U.S. Soldier's Death, L.A. Times, Oct. 26, 2010. Omar Khadr, a former child soldier from Canada, was convicted of war crimes after pleading guilty to five charges, including the murder of U.S. special forces soldier Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer while fighting with al-Qaeda militants in Afghanistan. Khadr was only 15 years old at the time of the murder. Khadr will likely serve little time under the plea deal and will probably return to Canada in a year, and human rights lawyers have expressed concern that this will do little to "improve the tarnished image of the Guantanamo Bay war crimes tribunal." The full article is available here.
If you would like to alert us to a children's rights-related article or for general matters, please contact CRI Research Associate Benjamin Ryberg at email@example.com
We are now accepting interns for our internship program. School credit is available. For more information or to apply, please email your resume to Benjamin Ryberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Josh Rogin, Why is Obama Easing Restrictions on Child Soldiers?, Foreign Policy—The Cable, Oct. 26, 2010, http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/10/26/why_is_obama_easing_restrictions_on_child_soldiers.