CRI Update: Attacks in Pakistan, Hamas Summer Camps, Abuse in Indian Children's Homes, and more...
Jul 23, 2012 at 11:02 am
Pakistan is reportedly prepared to ratify the United Nations Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, having already ratified the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990. The protocol requires that "all feasible measures" be taken to ensure that minor members (under age 18) of armed forces "do not take a direct part in hostilities" and prohibits the compulsory recruitment of individuals under the age of 18.
At least nine people, including four children, were killed in a suicide attack this past Saturday in Peshawar, Pakistan. The bomber reportedly exploded his vehicle as "part of a rivalry between militant groups." Another attack between two tribes in Shikarpur town resulted in five fatalities including a child, who was killed when the tribes opened fire at each other. Another shooting on Friday claimed the life of a WHO polio eradication worker, who "helped to plan and implement vaccination campaigns to protect local children against the disease." This is allegedly the second shooting within the week that targeted WHO workers. The shooter was not identified but, as CRI reported, the Taliban previously promised to prevent the vaccination of Pakistani children from polio by UNICEF until the United States ceases drone assaults in North Waziristan.
This video exposes the "PLO boy scouts" in Beirut, in which young children are taught that violence and martyrdom (specifically, killing oneself in a suicide attack) are components of patriotism.
Due to insufficient funding, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has cancelled its Gaza Summer Games, a chain of summer camps that had been operating since 2007. Now, only Hamas-run summer camps remain in the region, and camper activities reportedly include "reliving the experience of prisoners in a mock Israeli jail" to "reenact the daily suffering of Palestinian prisoners." Moreover, photos have surfaced displaying children walking on nails and knife blades.
Due to a lack of public oversight, many orphanages and children's homes in India are under investigation for mismanagement and abuse, and criminal charges have been brought against staff. In many cases, in addition to physical and psychological abuse, young girls undergo sexual abuse by the homes' wardens. Institutional changes must be made to combat such violations of children's rights.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague has sentenced Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga to 14 years in prison for using children under the age of 15 as soldiers in his rebel army in 2002 and 2003. However, the six years he has already served awaiting trial will be counted as part of the 14-year sentence, meaning he will only have 8 more years in incarceration. His jail time could be reduced even further, as it is common for prisoners to be released after two-thirds of their sentences for good behavior. Despite the possibility of a shortened sentence, the conviction is a victory, "confirm[ing] that using children in war is a grave international crime."
Somalia's Transitional Federal Government signed an action plan to end recruitment and use of children in Somalia's national army. The use of children in the national army is now criminalized in Somalia and the plan requires a reintegration program for children used in conflict. There is also an initiative to prevent children from being injured, maimed, or killed in conflict.