CRI Update: Myanmar agrees to demobilize child soldiers & ban recruitment, Taliban threatens to prevent polio vaccination of Pakistani children, and more...
Jun 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm
Myanmar Signs Agreement With UN to Demobilize Child Soldiers, Ban Their Recruitment, The Washington Post, June 28, 2012
Myanmar bowed to pressure from the United Nations after years of negotiation and agreed to stop recruiting child soldiers in addition to demobilizing those already employed. Treaties like the Convention on the Rights of the Child establish minimum ages at which children may be inducted into the military. According to the UN, roughly 24 countries across the globe act in contradiction of international law governing children in armed conflict.
Taliban Consign Children to Polio Risk, Commentary, June 18, 2012
The Taliban has said that they will prevent UNICEF from vaccinating Pakistani children for polio in North Waziristan until the United States ends its drone assaults on militants there. The action is supposedly in response to American recruitment of a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, in the effort to discover the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. Pakistan has the highest rate of polio in the world, and UNICEF was about to begin an operation to vaccinate over 160,000 children under the age of 5 before it was obstructed.
War Crimes Prosecutor: 30 Years for Congo Warlord, Salon, June 13, 2012
International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo requested a 30-year sentence be handed down to Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga, who was recently convicted of recruiting child soldiers. According to Moreno-Ocampo, Lubanga "knew he was breaking the basic rules that the world has established to protect children." The prosecutor continued that Lubanga "trained [the children] by terror . . . to kill and to rape," sending children into the midst of armed conflict with instructions to "kill everyone, regardless of whether they were men, women, or children."
North Korea: Economic System Built on Forced Labor, Human Rights Watch, June 13, 2012
The North Korean government has been requiring schoolchildren as young as eight and nine to perform forced physical labor on government projects. Defectors describe children being gathered by teachers for unpaid work after morning classes, including farm labor, construction, and gathering raw materials. Even though the constitution of North Korea bans child labor, the provision is regularly ignored. North Korea is one of a small number of countries that have not signed onto the International Labor Organization (ILO) and it does not recognize the group's standards for workers' rights.
Syria Among 52 Perpetrators of Grave Violations Against Children – UN Report, UN News Centre, June 12, 2012
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's annual report to the United Nations Security Council, entitled "Children and armed conflict," detailed a host of children's rights violations ranging from the recruitment of child soldiers to sexual abuse. The report identified an alarmingly high rate of incidents in which children were used as suicide bombers, pointing out that 22 children in Afghanistan and Pakistan were victims of such practices in 2011. The number of countries that have remained on the list for a minimum of five years doubled to 32 in the latest edition of the report, prompting calls for harsher sanctions upon those violators.
Gaza Kindergartners Want to 'Blow Up Zionists', Ynetnews, June 12, 2012
At an Islamic Jihad-run school in Gaza, children celebrating their graduation from kindergarten donned army attire, brandished toy guns, and "demonstrated" supposed torture of Palestinian prisoners by Israelis. According to faculty members, it is their responsibility to teach the children to "love the resistance" and to identify Israel as their enemy.
Where Arranged Marriages Are Customary, Suicides Are Common, New York Times, June 6, 2012
Iraqi officials say that suicides are becoming more common in situations where girls are forced into arranged marriages, perhaps due to the increasing availability of Western media espousing greater independence and rights for women. In Sinjar, Iraq, a city with a population of 350,000 people, there have already been 50 suicides in 2012, double the rate of suicide in the United States.