Child slaves in Haiti, UN says child soldiers should not be treated as perpetrators, and more…
Nov 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm
The UN: Accessory to Slavery and Other Crimes Against Humanity, Mideast Outpost, October 26, 2011
Simon Deng, a citizen of South Sudan and former child slave, delivered a speech at The Perils of Global Intolerance conference protesting the third Durban conference and, more broadly, the UN's anti-Israel campaign. Deng said that the UN's preoccupation with blaming Israel for exaggerated Palestinian suffering diverts much-needed time and resources from and overlooks "those who suffer on a far larger scale." The black indigenous population of the Sudan, for example, has been subjected to "oppression, brutalization, Islamization, Arabization, and enslavement" by the Arab regime in Khartoum but has received relatively little aid in comparison to what the UN has provided Palestinians (e.g., UNRWA). Deng noted that approximately four million innocent men, women, and children were slaughtered in South Sudan between 1955 and 2005, that children were abducted and forcibly converted to Islam in the 1990s, and that the regime in Khartoum sent militias to abduct children as slaves. The full article is available here.
New CRI Blog Post: Child Soldiers: Lost Youth
CRI contributor Marie Owens's blog post on child soldiers discusses key factors that make children susceptible to recruitment, the psychological damage that results from indoctrination and involvement in armed conflict, and the issue of culpability of armed child combatants. The post is available here.
Child Slaves – Slavery: A 21st Century Evil, Al Jazeera, November 1, 2011
At least 8.4 million children are enslaved around the world today, held as forced labor, prostitutes, and child soldiers. In Haiti, poor families are selling their children into slavery to be domestic help for wealthy families. These child slaves are known as "restaveks," from the French words "rester avec" (to stay with), and are also sold and trafficked to the United States. This article and broadcast discuss the "restavek" system and interview children who have been subject to the life of a slave.
Suicide bomber recruitment, a meal a day will keep the terrorists away, The Express Tribune, November 2, 2011
At the 15th National Health Sciences Research Symposium at Aga Khan University, Dr. Feriha Peracha, a psychologist and director of Sabaoon Project, presented her research on the topic of terrorism, demographics, and psychosocial variables in adolescents. Peracha interviewed 162 children, ranging from 12 to 18 years old, who were captured by the Pakistan Army, some in the process of carrying out suicide bombings for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. She concluded that "the underlying motivation to join the militants was 'poverty and lack of opportunities.'" As such, a continuous program of discussions and the opportunity to pursue a better education was found to be helpful in reintegrating the former child soldiers into Pakistani society. The full article is available here.
Teen suicide bombers often have roots in poverty, Central Asia Online, October 14, 2011
The investigation wing of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police found that, more often than not, parents and other family members of child suicide bombers and would-be bombers had no connection with the recruiting militants and were unaware of their children's activities. Poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment were common factors in children becoming suicide bombers. Additionally, police found that fewer urban children became bombers because "socio-economic advantages make it harder for militant recruiters to find desperate, receptive children." The full article is available here.
Children Should Be Treated Primarily, Not As Perpetrators – SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict Stressed at the Human Rights Council, UN Press Release, September 12, 2011
In her presentation to the Human Rights Council, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy said that states are increasingly detaining, arresting, and prosecuting child soldiers who lack legal representation. She emphasized her position that these children should be treated as victims rather than as perpetrators, in light of their age and that they are forced into armed conflict and then abused, exploited, and beaten into submission by their commanders. Coomaraswamy further advocated that the "world should unite" to combat the use of children as suicide bombers, "one of the most perverse developments in modern warfare." The full press release is available here here.
Is the tide turning against the killing of 'cursed' infants in Ethiopia?, CNN, November 5, 2011
Despite an alleged intensifying government crackdown on the practice, ritualistic infanticide in Southern parts of Ethiopia, particularly along the Omo River Valley basin, is still rife amongst the local tribes: the Kara, Banna, and Hamar. The ritual is reserved for children deemed cursed—or "mingi"—by virtue of the fact that a child's top teeth have emerged before his bottom teeth. Such a growth pattern, they fear, signifies a bad omen for the village. The killing is seen as a purge; a resort to ward off curses. The infanticide "process" consists of plunging the helpless child into the nearby crocodile-infested river. Protection for these children is inversely commensurable to the pervasive nature of the superstition; the more entrenched the fear, the less likely someone will object. It has been left to the local Christian missionaries to offer safety and shelter from such abuses. The full article is availablehere.