Relevant & Timely News
Feb 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm
Taliban Suicide Bomber Dressed as Schoolboy Kills 31 Army Cadets, The Independent, February 11, 2011. At least thirty-one Pakistani soldiers and cadets were killed when a teenage suicide bomber, dressed in school uniform, blew himself up at a military recruitment camp in Mardan, Pakistan. More than forty others were injured. This was the deadliest attack in Pakistan since December 25, 2010. Although the government issued a statement saying the bomber was 19 or 20 years old, army officials and intelligence sources reported that he was a young teenager, possibly as young as 12. Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan said the bomber was a soldier who told the Taliban that "he wanted to sacrifice his life for Islam," and "[the Taliban] accepted his offer and told him to target his fellow soldiers in Mardan." The full article is available here.
Germany Urges More Effort Around Child Soldiers, Deutsche Welle, February 12, 2011. In July 2010, Germany began its 6-month chairmanship of the UN Security Council and as such can select the areas on which the council focuses. According to Germany's Ambassador to the UN, Peter Wittig, Germany will use its two-year seat on the council to combat the use of child soldiers in "a much more active way." Witting stated that "[t]he perpetrators will have to feel the consequences, if necessary, with sanctions," and stressed the necessity of first identifying the nations where recruitment of children occurs. Though he acknowledged the significance of the February 2002 UN-sponsored international accord on child soldiers, Wittig quickly added that many more accords must follow to bring about any effective change. The full article is available here.
UNICEF Helps Reintegrate Former Child Soldiers into Local Communities in DR Congo, UNICEF, February 11, 2011. From 2008 to 2010, UNICEF and its NGO partner COOPI assisted 1,570 children formerly involved with armed forces, the majority of whom were associated with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Thirty-three non-Congolese children were returned to their home countries, and UNICEF provided medical and psycho-social care to help the repatriated children recover from the traumatic experiences. The children are hosted in UNICEF-assisted families, and provided with "demobilization kits" including shoes, hygiene products, and civilian clothes. The full article is available here.
Afghanistan Moves to Curb Use of Underage Soldiers, Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2011. Afghanistan signed an agreement with the United Nations aimed at ending the recruitment of children to become soldiers and police. The plan is also intended to end a tradition known as bacha bazi ("boy play"), where young boys recruited by the police are "dressed as young girls, made to dance and then prostituted to the highest bidder in the crowd." According to the U.N., the plan strengthens laws prohibiting sex with minors, calls for improving Afghanistan's birth registration system, and criminalizes the falsification of ages on national identity documents. The Taliban, which recruits children as suicide-homicide bombers and as child soldiers, was not a party to the agreement. The full article is available here.
How Pakistan's Largest Religious Minority Has Come Under Siege, Time, January 28, 2011. On January 25th in Lahore, Pakistan, a teenage suicide bomber blew himself up near a police checkpoint. Thirteen people were killed and many others were wounded. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, an Emmy-winning filmmaker who has studied the recruitment of children as suicide bombers, described the recruitment process as beginning with the isolation of the targeted children, including prohibiting them from communicating with their families, watching television, or reading . Next, older boys speak to the children about the virtues of jihad and, finally, the children are subjected to "hours of propaganda videos, alleging atrocities against Muslims at the hands of the Pakistan and U.S. armies." The full article is available here.
Continuing a Vile Tradition, Strategy Page, January 27, 2011. Unable to recruit enough adults, the Somali Islamic terror group al-Shabaab is recruiting children who are "large enough to handle an AK-47" to join its ranks. Strategy Page stated that "[c]hild soldiers changed everything, because warlords could just kidnap or entice kids and quickly brainwash them," and that armies of child killers "made insurrection and anarchy more common." Unlike older weapons, an AK-47 is light, enabling children as young as 10-14 years old to operate the deadly weapons. The full article is available here.
Casablanca Call - Appeal for Human Rights and Democracy in the Arab World, The American Muslim, January 26, 2011. On January 27th, more than 2,200 Arab scholars, politicians, and activists from over twenty Arab countries issued an "URGENT APPEAL" for the "defense and consolidation of human rights and democracy in the Arab World." The appeal calls for an "immediate undertaking of profound and effective political reforms that respect the rule of law," "protection of an independent judiciary," the "immediate release of all political prisoners," a "guarantee of freedom of express," and other steps toward reform. The full article is available here.
While we support the signatories' goals, we are displeased that this seemingly comprehensive appeal fails to acknowledge the state-sponsored recruitment and incitement of children to become suicide bombers and human shields. How can the Arab world possibly achieve "real and effective reforms" when its future generation is being taught to hate, brainwashed to believe that martyrdom is the ultimate goal, and violently killed in suicide attacks?
Explosion at Hizbullah Weapons Storage Facility in Southern Lebanon, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, September 5, 2010. On September 3, 2010, an explosion occurred at a known Hizbullah weapons storage facility located in a luxurious villa in southern Lebanon. The villa is owned by a Hizbullah terrorist. Other similar explosions have occurred in southern Lebanon during the past year, potentially due to the "low maintenance level of the weaponry in private homes." The IDF has reported that airborne images reveal many ammunition storage units located in civilian homes and near schools, and other facilities have been located near hospitals, mosques, and other private areas. This demonstrates Hizbullah's pattern of using civilians to hide its activities and weapons, in contradiction to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701. The full article is available here.