Archives for posts with tag: ChildSoldiers

Diplomat Artist Buzz – International Day Demands Ending Child Soldiers

Children as the most vulnerable members of society are no strangers to recruitment as child soldiers in world conflicts spanning wide geographic swaths from Afghanistan to the DRC to South Sudan.

Central African Republic: Over 6,000 Child Soldiers May Be Involved in Fighting

According to UNICEF, recruitment is happening on all sides, with reasons including poverty, despair, desire for revenge, & general lack of options for children, & there have been many reports of girls being used as sex slaves.

UN Agencies Alarmed as Humanitarian Situation in Central African Republic Deteriorates

A friend from social media pointed to irony that as we honor life of Nelson Mandela & commemorate Human Rights Day, there is lacking TV coverage for CAR, which is experiencing a humanitarian situation where 1/2 of population needs immediate assistance.

Congolese Rebel Group Says It Is Laying Down Arms

“International pressure on Rwanda seems to have made a difference,” said Ida Sawyer, senior researcher with Human Rights Watch. “They will hopefully think twice before backing yet another abusive rebellion.”

Children suffer most in conflict situations around the world. Lack of adequate food, medicine, shelter, and deprived education bear their toll. But nothing is more damaging psychologically, socially, and developmentally than their use as instruments of war and child soldiers.

To summarize our report two weeks ago, “Will Moro-Philippine Peace Prevail?”  we described a conflict that has dominated the islands from Spanish colonial times, to the US who followed, and finally the Philippines Government. The Moro are ethnically, culturally, linguistically and by religion distinct from the rest of the Philippines. News that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front might have reached peace and a degree of autonomy sought in Mindanao and the adjoining islands in the southern chain, and with President Benigno Aquino III making resolution of the conflict his administration’s priority, was greeted favorably albeit cautiously by the world at large. We posed the question: “Would peace hold?”  

Yesterday, 24 October, the United Nations Representative for Children and Armed Conflict provided encouraging news of progress for the Philippine Government and the rebel peace accord and its children.

UN News Centre Source

A senior United Nations official has welcomed the recent peace agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), establishing a framework for settling the decade-long conflict on the southern island of Mindanao.

“This is a major step not only to bring peace and reconciliation to the region, but also to alleviate the plight of children affected by the conflict,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, said in a news release issued on Tuesday evening.

Earlier this month, the Philippines’ President Benigno Aquino announced that his Government had reached a preliminary agreement of autonomy with the MILF, which has been fighting for decades for an independent Islamic state on Mindanao. The new autonomous region will be named Bangsamoro.

In August 2009, the MILF and the United Nations signed an action plan to halt and prevent the recruitment and use of children in the armed conflict on Mindanao. The MILF, with the world body’s support, has taken action to build awareness of its international obligations within their ranks and communities, as well as to provide alternatives to children to prevent their association with the armed group, according to Ms. Zerrougui’s office. In Mindanao, children associated with the MILF often perform tasks in support of combatants which expose them to clear risk.

“The MILF and the United Nations, with the much needed support of the international community, must seize the opportunity of this peace dialogue to fully implement the action plan to ensure that children have no role in armed groups,” Ms. Zerrougui added.

Ms. Zerrougui also expressed concern over reports of recruitment and use of children by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters – a break-away faction of the MILF – and called for the release of children from their ranks as an immediate priority.

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The International Criminal Court has fulfilled part of the original mandate envisioned under the Rome Statute & delivered precedent of reparations for victims, in this case, child soldiers. The ICC on announced former child soldiers who suffered at  hands of convicted Congolese war criminal Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, may receive reparations from Court’s donor-financed Trust Fund for Victims. –WATCH–

After around 4 months of fighting in the most recent cycle in the DRC presumably ignited by a military rebellion (M23) but also suspected of involving outside forces/neighboring countries, almost half a million persons have been displaced & both a human rights & humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding, with minimal political response. –MORE–