Child marriages in Yemen, Somalia's commitment to ending recruitment of child soldiers, and more...
Dec 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm
Rights group urges Yemen to ban child marriage, The Kansas City Star, December 8, 2011
Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for Yemeni authorities to take legal steps to set the minimum age for marriage at 18, an effort to "improve girls' opportunities for education and protect their human rights." According to HRW's report, approximately 52 percent of girls in Yemen are married before age 18, 14 percent before age 15, and, in rural areas, girls were married as young as age 8. Some reported that they were victims of marital rape and domestic abuse. Although a February 2009 law set the minimum age for marriage at 17, lawmakers argued that enforcement of such an age requirement was contrary to Islamic law and the legislation was repealed. Read more.
Evidence of child labor in Mali gold mines, Associated Press, December 6, 2011
An estimated 20,000 to 40,000 children work in artisanal gold mines in Mali, some believed to be as young as 6. Exposure to toxic mercury is common, and children interviewed complained of recurring head and back pain, respiratory problems, and other ailments. Some have suffered long-term spinal injuries. Accidents in unstable pits and physical and sexual abuse were also reported. Investigations by the Associated Press and Human Rights Watch into the supply chain revealed that companies in the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland, including the Geneva-based importer Decafin SA, have purchased the majority of the gold. An individual from Decafin tersely denied that the company had purchased from mines that use child labor, while a lawyer from Decafin stated that the company lacks the means to investigate the problem and has not been in direct contact with the government of Mali or the gold producers. Read more.
Wiener Library relocates Nazi archive to new premises, BBC News, November 30, 2011
Among the objects housed in the Wiener Library, the world's oldest Holocaust archive, are children's books and games "intended to imbue hatred and fear of Jews." These toys portray Jews as grotesque-looking figures exploiting "heroic-looking" Germans for financial gain. According to library director Ben Barkow, the "sheer quantity of [anti-Semitic material], the sheer inescapability, certainly meant it had an effect" on the nation's society. Read more.
The similarities between the Nazi-era methods of targeting children with youth-oriented hate propaganda and the tactics of al Qaeda and other present-day radical groups are striking. For instance, CRI reported on an effort by al Qaeda to produce a children's cartoon aimed at encouraging viewers to join in armed conflict against the West. Depictions in children's television shows from Hamas include a would-be Mickey Mouse killed by "terrorist" Jews and a Jew-eating rabbit. The propaganda itself has been modernized, but its harmful impact on children has not likely weakened and the goal of instilling hatred remains just as insidious as it was during the Holocaust.
Somalia's leaders commit to UN process to end recruitment of child soldiers, UN News Centre, November 23, 2011
During a meeting with UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy, the President, Prime Minister, and Defence Minister of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) "recommitted the TFG to the signing and implementation of a Security Council-mandated plan" to stop the recruitment and use of children in the country's armed forces. To this end, the three Somali officials also agreed to immediately "nominate military and civilian focal points" within the TFG to work with the UN. Coomaraswamy stated that, upon completion of the plan, no children would occupy the ranks of the TFG and the UN would be able to remove the TFG from the Secretary-General's "list of shame." Read more.
Colombian ad campaign aimed at FARC child soldiers, Miami Herald, November 17, 2011
The government of Colombia commenced an ad campaign aimed at reducing the number of children who become soldiers with guerilla groups and criminal organizations. Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón stated that 13% of the 24,000 individuals who defected from the ranks of the FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia) guerillas were recruited as minors. The campaign is targeted at parents and conveys the message that abuse and neglect makes children easily susceptible to recruitment efforts. Pinzón added that the average age at which children are recruited by the FARC is 12 and, in a press conference, stated that "the majority of girls who are recruited by illegal armed groups (the FARC) are forced to become sexual slaves." Read more.