child soldiers

Mon
29
Feb
2016
New translation available
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ElPais.com.co

On Wednesday the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas...

Thu
21
Apr

Sierra Leone 'Helped Deploy Ex-Child Soldiers to Iraq', Academic Says

London — Sierra Leone's government helped British private security service firms recruit former child soldiers to work as guards in Iraq from 2009, said a Danish academic who has spent years investigating the issue.

Thousands of children were forced to fight in Sierra Leone's 11-year civil war, which ended in 2002. More than 50,000 people were killed in the fighting and many tens of thousands more mutilated or raped by rebels.

By 2009, with Iraq in chaos, impoverished Sierra Leone was looking for a way to engage its workforce, said Maya Mynster Christensen, a researcher at the Danish Institute Against Torture who made repeated trips to the West African country.

Tue
19
Apr

UK firm 'employed former child soldiers' as mercenaries in Iraq

By Alice Ross, The Guardian

A former senior director at a British firm says that it employed mercenaries from Sierra Leone to work in Iraq because they were cheaper than Europeans and did not check if they were former child soldiers.

Sun
17
Apr

UK firm 'employed former child soldiers' as mercenaries in Iraq

 A 2000 image of a 14-year-old soldier in Sierra Leone Photograph: Adam Butler/AP

Alice Ross -

Former director acknowledges Aegis Defence Services may have recruited former child fighters in Sierra Leone

A former senior director at a British firm says that it employed mercenaries from Sierra Leone to work in Iraq because they were cheaper than Europeans and did not check if they were former child soldiers.

James Ellery, who was a director of Aegis Defence Services between 2005 and 2015, said that contractors had a “duty” to recruit from countries such as Sierra Leone, “where there’s high unemployment and a decent workforce”, in order to reduce costs for the US presence in Iraq.

Mon
21
Dec

Uganda: Visiting the rehabilitation centre using art as therapy for children freed from a brutal militia

By Jacqui Thornton, The Independent 

The pictures are drawn in a childish hand, but they are visions that no child should have to witness: militia shooting captives tied to trees; army helicopters above firing on their enemy; the central African bush in flames.

These are all artworks produced by children held in captivity after they, or their parents, were abducted by the feared Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda. Many of those taken spent years in the bush, constantly on the move to evade capture, walking barefoot carrying heavy loads for the commanders and even fighting for the militia.

Fri
18
Dec

British Army urged to stop using armed teenagers to guard barracks

By Shiv Malik, The Guardian

ForcesWatch report calls on UK military to stop recruiting minors altogether, as armed forces bill due for third reading

Britain’s military should stop using armed under-18s to guard soldiers’ barracks, a report into Ministry of Defence recruitment practices is set to say.

Tue
15
Dec

As Civil War Rages in South Sudan, Kids Struggle to Hold On to Their Youth

Nonviolent Peaceforce staff members gather with a group of children in Ulang.  (Photo: Fellipe Abreu)

By Fellipe Abreu, TakePart

At least 16,000 children have been recruited into the military since the conflict began in 2013.

As herds of cattle come and go on a narrow trail across a row of huts made from straw, mud, and wood, they pass a boy of about 15 sleeping in a chair near the main entrance. He is wearing black pants, rubber sandals, and an Ethiopian soccer team shirt. In his lap: an AK-47 rifle folding stock.

Fri
04
Dec

Myanmar army releases 53 more child soldiers: UN

By Joshua Carroll, Anadolu Agency

(YANGON) Myanmar released another 53 child soldiers from its notorious armed forces Monday, according to the United Nations' children's agency.

The 53 are the latest to be discharged under a deal signed in 2012 between the former pariah state and the UN to end the recruitment and use of children by the military.

Renata Lok-Dessallien, UN resident coordinator, said in a statement that Monday's release "is the result of continued efforts of the Government of Myanmar and the Tatmadaw [army] to put an end to the harmful practice of recruiting and using children."

Lok-Dessallien, who also serves as co-chair of the UN task force for monitoring and reporting violations against children, said she was "delighted to see these children and young people returning to their homes and families," The Irrawaddy news service reported.

Fri
06
Nov

How many child soldiers are there in Africa?

By Shirley de Villiers

The year 2014 was a “devastating” one for children in armed conflicts, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

Worldwide, 230 million children lived in countries affected by armed conflicts; 15 million were caught up in violent conflicts in countries such as the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan; hundreds were kidnapped; and tens of thousands were recruited or used by government forces and armed groups.

The recruitment and use of children by armed groups is one of “six grave violations” against children identified by the United Nations Security Council. Yet the practice is pervasive, despite various legal instruments that aim to protect the rights of children in conflict.

Fri
06
Nov

Kurdish YPG militia recruiting child soldiers in Syria: HRW

A Kurdish youth holds a picture of a YPG (People's Protection Units) fighter killed in Kobane during a celebration in Diyarbakir on 26 January 2015 (AFP)

A Syrian Kurdish militia is using child soldiers despite international law prohibiting its practice, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

The New York-based body said it documented at least 59 children under 18 recruited by the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia and the YPJ, its female branch.

Some of the children died in combat in June, it said.

“The YPG promised to stop sending children to war and it should carry out its promise," said Fred Abrahams, a special adviser at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

“Of course the Kurdish forces are fighting groups like ISIS that flout the laws of war, but that’s no excuse to tolerate abuses by its own forces," he added.

As the armed branch of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the YPG has a sizable presence in Syria's north and has been backed by US airstrikes in a conflict that has killed more than 230,000 people and forced almost four million to flee the country.

Thu
05
Nov

Talent show shines light on child soldiers

By Jessica Peters, Chilliwack Progress

Kids aren't ready to be soldiers.

They're ready to jump and play, to kick a ball with friends, to dance, to sing, and to learn.

But there are as many as 300,000 children used in conflicts around the world, a common practice in countries embroiled in conflict, including Sierra Leone.

Now that the African country is rebuilding itself, a new organization with Chilliwack roots is eager to help repair some of the damage done to the children there.

The Innocence Lost Foundation was founded by Fazineh Keita and Ava Vanderstarren, who met while studying at Vancouver Film School. Keita was used as a child soldier in the Sierra Leone civil war, and now is a political activist working to bring democratic change with his music.

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