U.S. conviction of Somali sex trafficking; more than 120 schoolgirls poisoned in Afghanistan
May 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm
3 Convicted in Somali Sex Trafficking Case in US, Jakarta Globe, May 5, 2012
A jury in Nashville, Tennessee convicted three members of a Somali refugee gang of crimes relating to child sex trafficking. Six others were acquitted in a case involving 30 defendants that spread over Minnesota, Ohio, and Tennessee. The youngest witness, who was 12-years-old when the gang first started using her for prostitution, testified that she was driven between apartments in Minneapolis to have sex with Somali men in exchange for money. The remaining defendants may be tried separately on one or more of the charges at a later date.
Al-Shabaab's Child Soldiers, Somalia Report, May 7, 2012
Since 2007, the Somalia-based cell of al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab, has been recruiting child soldiers through brainwashing, bribery, and kidnapping. The insurgent group uses both violent and non-violent coercive tactics, often arriving in towns with promises to improve social services and offer better schooling so as to attract children to its ranks. These youth are then enrolled in paramilitary training courses on al-Shabaab bases or indoctrinated in schools, madrassas, and mosques taught by members of the militia. Girls as young as 15 have been taken in forced marriages, and children of both sexes are taught skills like knife-fighting and bomb-making.
Charles Taylor sentenced to 50 years for war crimes, CNN, May 30, 2012
Today, former Liberian president Charles Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison by an international court in The Hague, Netherlands. Taylor was convicted last month by the Special Court for Sierra Leone of "supplying and encouraging rebels" in a "campaign of terror," including rape, sexual slavery, murder, and the recruitment of children younger than 15 to be used in armed conflict. Presiding Judge Richard Lussick's sentencing statement recounted gruesome atrocities committed by rebels from the the Taylor-supported Revolutionary United Front (RUF), including forcing children to carry out amputations with machetes, carving the letters "RUF" into the chest of a 12-year-old boy, and punishing the same boy for his refusal to rape an old woman during a "food-finding mission."
Afghan School Attack: Students, Teachers Poisoned in Takhar Province, Huffington Post, May 23, 2012
Over 120 female students and three teachers were sickened in the second incident of an Afghan school poisoning in two months. Police have blamed the attack on extremists that object to the education of women and girls. Until the Taliban were overthrown by U.S.-supported Afghan forces in 2001, females were prohibited from holding jobs or attending school. In April, a similar event sickened 150 young girls.
20 children reportedly slain in recent eastern Congo violence, Los Angeles Times, May 22, 2012
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported that twenty children have been killed by guerilla rebels in civilian attacks along the eastern section of Congo. Conflict between the military and rebels has also driven tens of thousands of people out of their homes and resulted in the injuries and deaths of UN peacekeepers.
Bosco Ntaganda, Congo Renegade General, Recruiting Child Soldiers Again, Human Rights Watch Says, Huffington Post, May 16, 2012
Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, a rogue army general in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has forcibly coerced at least 149 boys and teenagers into joining his forces over the past month. An international arrest warrant was previously issued for Ntaganda's alleged use of child soldiers during an earlier conflict, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted Ntaganda for war crimes allegedly committed by troops under his command, including the use of child soldiers in active combat in 2002 and 2003. ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is seeking an expanded indictment, including additional charges for "murder, persecution based on ethnic grounds, rape, sexual slavery, and pillaging" in connection with Ntaganda's 2002 and 2003 activities.
Children in Mali suffering from triple disaster, warns UNICEF, UN News Centre, May 9, 2012
Children in Mali are currently facing a combined threat of a food crisis in the Sahel, displacement due to conflict between government forces and Tuareg rebels, and human rights violations in the form of child soldier recruitment and kidnapping. A prolonged drought has caused a food and nutrition crisis and has been exacerbated by the armed conflict. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 300,000 people in Northern Mali (half of which are children) have been displaced.