Relevant & Timely News
Apr 12, 2011 at 10:41 am
Boy in Pakistan Tells Police of School for Suicide Bombing, CNN, April 9, 2011. Umar Fidai, a 15-year-old Pakistani boy, was arrested upon suspicion of collaborating in a recent suicide bombing at a Sufi shrine that killed at least 41 people and left more than 100 wounded. Fidai confessed to police that more than 300 of his peers, aged 12 to 17, are being taught to commit suicide bombings at a training camp in North Waziristan's Mir Ali area. During a televised interview, Fidai stated that he received lessons on suicide bombing for six months, and that an Afghan Taliban leader was in charge of the camp. The full article is available here.
Filipino Rebels Agree to Stop Using Child Soldiers, The New York Times, April 8, 2011. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the U.N. Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, said that the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (N.D.F.P.) agreed to cooperate with the U.N. to identify and remove all child combatants from the New People's Army, the Communist movement's armed wing. In August 2009, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (M.I.L.F.), the country's largest Muslim rebel group, signed a similar agreement with the U.N. Thus far, 600 child combatants in the Islamic front have been identified and registered, though the number may exceed 1,000 by the completion of the registration process. The full article is available here.
The Terrorist Campaign to Recruit Juveniles and Attack Children, Big Peace, March 24, 2011. On March 11, a suspected terrorist broke into an Israeli family's home in the West Bank settlement of Itamar and brutally murdered five of the family members, including an infant. Hamas was linked to the attack. A Hamas official initially claimed that "murdering Jewish settlers was permitted by international law," but later stated that "harming children is not part of Hamas's policy." However, documents recently recovered from the Defense Intelligence Agency reveal that brutality against children and efforts to brainwash children are key components of Islamic terrorist groups' strategy to intimidate their opponents. The full article is available here.
Iran 'Using Child Soldiers' to Suppress Tehran Protests, The Observer (U.K.), March 13, 2011. According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, children between ages 14 and 16 are being used by Iran's Islamic regime to suppress anti-government protests, a possible violation of international law forbidding the use of underage combatants. These children are being "recruited into being part of the conflict," armed with batons, clubs, and air guns, and ordered to attack demonstrators, "no different than child soldiers." According to witnesses, children comprise as much as one-third of the total force. The full article is available here.
Britain's Child Soldiers, The Guardian (U.K.), March 11, 2011. Today, Britain is the only European country to recruit children as young as 16 into its regular army, and minor recruits are required to serve two years longer than recruits aged 18 and over. As The Guardian notes, this present situation is "a throwback to the 19th century era of indentured labour," and "only a right of discharge for all those under 18 and a requirement that 18-year-olds make a clear and informed choice, on their 18th birthday, will conform to 21st century standards of human rights." The full article is available here.