News / Africa

UN Reports on Child Rights Violations

FILE - Child soldier, center, known as
FILE - Child soldier, center, known as "Kadogo," meaning "small one" in Swahili, stands at the front line at Kanyabayonga in eastern Congo.
Margaret Besheer

A U.N. report released Tuesday documents cases of children recruited and used as soldiers by eight national armies and 51 armed groups in the past year.

Some of the most serious situations are reported in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and South Sudan.

According to Leila Zerrougui, U.N. envoy on children and armed conflict, grave rights violations of children, including death, maiming, sexual violence and attacks on schools and hospitals, are highlighted.

In Syria, where a civil war is raging into its fourth year, the U.N. estimates more than 10,000 children have been killed.

"The conflict and violence in Syria reached unprecedented levels during 2013 — no sign of improvement since the beginning of the year and no political solution in sight," Zerrougui said.

In her report, Zerrougi says armed groups, including several associated with the opposition Free Syrian Army, as well as Islamist groups ISIL and Jhabat al-Nusra, are recruiting and using children for logistics, handling ammunition, manning checkpoints and as combatants. Armed groups also continue to kill and injure children, rape girls and target schools.

In neighboring Iraq, where ISIL fighters recently have made bold military gains, children are facing extremely violent and dangerous conditions. The report says nearly 8,000 civilians were killed last year, and at least 250 of them were children.

Terror groups in Africa also are responsible for attacks on children. Most notably in Nigeria, where Boko Haram, which has kidnapped scores of school girls in the country's north, has repeatedly targeted schools. According to the U.N. report, the group also has children as young as 12 in its ranks.

In South Sudan, Zerrougi said gains in reintegrating child soldiers back into society have been reversed by the political conflict that erupted in mid-December.

"I saw [for] myself children with guns; with the government, but also with armed groups — with David Yau Yau, with the SSLA and with the opposition under Riek Machar," she said.

On a positive note, Chad, which has previously been named for its use of child soldiers, was de-listed by the U.N. this year. The government signed onto an action plan with the U.N. in 2011 to end the practice. 

Chad is an important troop contributor to U.N. peacekeeping operations, and its record as a recruiter of child soldiers threatened to jeopardize its participation in U.N. missions.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs