Category Archives: Children

JPIC Statement in response to the shooting in Parkland, Florida

In response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the US grieve for those who lost their lives in this tragedy and stand with the surviving students and people from all corners of the United States who are demanding legislative action on gun control.

Doing nothing is not an option. We need our legislators to come together and engage in a process that results in passing and implementing laws that will address safety in our schools, workplaces and public spaces.

As educators of students from preschool through university and adult education in the United States we support the people of Parkland, Florida. We also empathize with students, parents, and administrators all across this country who on a daily basis face the potential for gun violence in their schools.

We agree with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, when in support of a ban on assault weapons they said. “We must respond. Violence in our schools, and streets, our nation and the world – is destroying the lives, dignity and hopes of millions of our sisters and brothers.”

As Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, we strive to be people of justice and peace in a world that is too often violent. We invite others to join us on this journey towards peace. Let us stand together to keep all who are suffering from the violence in Parkland in our hearts and prayer and let us take action now.

Please contact your legislators right now. Respectfully let them know that you expect them to immediately work with their colleagues to pass a bill that will address violence associated with guns in this country.

 

 

 

U.S. Placed Immigrant Children With Traffickers, Report Says

New York Times

EMMARIE HUETTEMANJAN

children
A child from Honduras watched a movie at a United States Border Patrol detention center in McAllen, Tex., in 2014. Credit John Moore/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services placed more than a dozen immigrant children in the custody of human traffickers after it failed to conduct background checks of caregivers, according to a Senate report released on Thursday.

Examining how the federal agency processes minors who arrive at the border without a guardian, lawmakers said they found that it had not followed basic practices of child welfare agencies, like making home visits. Continue reading U.S. Placed Immigrant Children With Traffickers, Report Says

Children Increasingly Becoming the Spoils of War

InterPress Service
By Beatriz Ciordia

Former child soldiers enlisted by Al Shabaab are handed over to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) after their capture by forces of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Credit: UN Photo/Tobin Jones
Former child soldiers enlisted by Al Shabaab are handed over to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) after their capture by forces of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Credit: UN Photo/Tobin Jones

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 14 2015 (IPS) – Whether in Palestine, Ukraine or Somalia, wars result in millions of children threatened by the brutality of armed conflict.

The numbers speak for themselves: more than 300,000 child soldiers are currently exploited in situations of armed conflict and six million children have been severely injured or permanently disabled, according to UNICEF.

The past year was one of the worst ever for children affected by armed conflict due the alarming rise in abductions, especially mass abductions, of children and adults in Nigeria, Iraq, Syria and South Sudan.

Likewise, an estimated 20 million children are living as refugees in neighbouring countries or are internally displaced within their own national borders as a result of conflict and human rights violations.

And the U.N. Secretary General’s most recent report, published on June 5, shows that in too many countries, the situation for children is getting worse, not better.

“There is still room at the individual agency level to strengthen safeguards towards prevention of child rights violations,” Dragica Mikavica, advocacy officer of Watchlist, a network of international non-governmental organisations, told IPS.

“For instance, more recently, Watchlist has been lobbying for the U.N.’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to develop a policy that would ban states placed on the Secretary-General’s ‘list of shame’ from contributing troops to peacekeeping forces in other countries,” she added.

Jo Becker, Children’s Rights Advocacy Director of Human Rights Watch, agrees that the U.N. could better protect children from armed conflict in several ways.

“When governments or armed groups refuse to agree to such steps and continue abuses, the Security Council could be much more aggressive in imposing targeted sanctions, such as arms embargoes, or travel bans and asset freezes on the leaders of such groups,” she told IPS.

“The SC should also refer such cases to the International Criminal Court for investigation and possible prosecution,” she added.

The past year was one of the worst ever for children affected by armed conflict due the alarming rise in abductions, especially mass abductions, of children and adults in Nigeria, Iraq, Syria and South Sudan.

In addition to kidnappings, thousands of children were killed last year in different parts of the world.

In Iraq, for example, 2014 was the deadliest year for children since the U.N. first started systematically documenting violations against children in 2008, with nearly 700 children killed and almost 1,300 abducted – and these are only the recorded cases.

Likewise, in Palestine, the number of children killed by Israeli forces jumped to 557, more than the number killed in the last two military operations there combined.

In order to step up the fight against this violence, the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted on June 18 Resolution 2225, which strengthens the international community’s mobilisation in support of children in armed conflict and condemns their abduction.

The resolution, tabled by Malaysia and sponsored by 56 member states, added abductions as the fifth violation that can trigger a listing of a party to the conflict to the Secretary-General’s “list of shame.”

This list facilitates greater monitoring of abductions and ensures that parties which engage in this particular crime are included on it. Once listed, the U.N. is able to engage the listed parties in negotiating action plans to stop this and other violations from occurring.

The vast majority of these abductions are carried out by non-state groups, including terrorist organisations such as Boko Haram and ISIS, which see mass kidnapping as a shining symbol of success.

Raising the profile of the abduction of children at the highest level – such as in form of a Security Council resolution – also endows child protection actors with greater capacity to advocate for response surrounding this egregious violation.

However, as UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Yoka Brandt argues, abduction is often only the first in a series of grave violations, followed by sexual assault and rape, indoctrination, recruitment as child soldiers and murder.

“Each offence blights that child. It robs her of her childhood and threatens her ability to live a full and productive life,” she said in an open debate on Children and Armed Conflict at the Security Council on June 18.

Brandt also stressed the importance of providing critical support to children after their release so they can resume “normal life.”

“These children are victims and must be treated as such. They’re inevitably burdened by physical wounds and psychological scars,” she said.

Raising awareness remains a critical point in the battle against the brutality suffered by children in situations of armed conflict.

Social media has proven a valuable tool for raising the public profile of the atrocities committed against children, especially mass abductions in contexts like Nigeria, Syria and Iraq.

“Social media contributed to internal U.N. debates around abductions of children, as the world could not turn a blind eye on what was happening to children last year,” Mikavica told IPS.

“All of this resulted in concrete actions by the Council at the last Open Debate as seen through trigger expansion,” she added.

However, as Becker told IPS, it’s important to keep in mind that although social media has been exceptionally effective in raising awareness of mass abductions of children by Boko Haram and other armed groups, it’s just a tool, not a substitute for action, which remains the real challenge for the U.N. and other international organisations.

Edited by Kitty Stapp

The Kids Are Alright As Washington Judge Delivers Youth Climate Win

Common Dreams
by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

“‘We may have won a battle, but we’re still fighting a bigger war,’ says 14-year-old petitioner.”

Citing what she called the “historical lack of political will to respond adequately to the urgent and dire acceleration of global warming,” a judge in Washington state handed a group of eight young petitioners a landmark win this week, ordering the Department of Ecology (ECY) to consider statewide reductions in carbon dioxide emissions based on best available science.

The youngest of the climate petitioners, some of whom are pictured here with attorney Andrea Rodgers, is nine years old. (Photo: Our Children's Trust/Facebook)
The youngest of the climate petitioners, some of whom are pictured here with attorney Andrea Rodgers, is nine years old. (Photo: Our Children’s Trust/Facebook)

“The effect of this decision is that for the first time in the United States, a court of law has ordered a state agency to consider the most current and best available climate science when deciding to regulate carbon dioxide emissions,” said Andrea Rodgers of the Western Environmental Law Center, attorney for the youth petitioners, who are in elementary, middle, and high school.

“I’m not going to sit by and watch my government do nothing. We don’t have time to waste. I’m pushing my government to take real action on climate, and I won’t stop until change is made.”
—Zoe Foster, 13

The kids acted with the help of a NASA climate scientist as well as Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit orchestrating a global, youth-driven legal campaign to establish the right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate.

“This is a decision of immense national significance,” said Julia Olson, executive director of Our Children’s Trust, which has similar cases going around the country. “Judge Hill acknowledges the urgent and dire acceleration of global warming, refuses to accept any more bureaucratic delay, and mandates that the State consider and act in just two weeks time on the youth’s scientific evidence that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 [parts per million].”

Continue reading The Kids Are Alright As Washington Judge Delivers Youth Climate Win

New World Information Order, Internet and the Global South – Part I

IPS/ International Press Service
By Branislav Gosovic

VILLAGE TUDOROVICI, Montenegro – More than four decades ago, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) launched the concept of a New International Information Order (NIIO).

Children surf the net in a remote island community in the Philippines where fishing is the main source of income. Credit: eKindling/Lubang Tourism.
Children surf the net in a remote island community in the Philippines where fishing is the main source of income. Credit: eKindling/Lubang Tourism.

Its initiative led to the establishment of an independent commission within the fold of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which produced a report, published in 1980, on a New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO).

Incomprehensible to the general public and not suitable for consideration in multilateral policy forums, the Internet governance deliberations have largely been under control of the world superpower and its cyber mega-corporations from Silicon Valley.

The report, titled “One World, Many Voices,” is usually referred to as the MacBride Report after its chairman.

The very idea of venturing to criticise and challenge the existing global media, namely the information and communication hegemony of the West, touched a raw political nerve, apparently a much more sensitive one than that irked by the developing countries’ New International Economic Order (NIEO) proposals. More…

Study: More Homeless Children Now Than Any Point in US History

Common Dreams

Jon Queally, staff writer

A new report on child homelessness in America finds that 2.5 million children experience homelessness annually.
A new report on child homelessness in America finds that 2.5 million children experience homelessness annually.

New report, America’s Youngest Outcasts, looks at child homelessness nationally, ranks the states, and examines causes of child homelessness and the solutions. (Image: National Center for Family Homelessness)

The annual levels of homelessness among children have never been higher in the United States, according to a new comprehensive report released on Monday. Continue reading Study: More Homeless Children Now Than Any Point in US History

25 Years After Rights Convention, Children Still Need More Protection

Fresh in my mind right now are deadly bomb attacks on schools in northern Nigeria and Syria, Central American children braving perilous journeys to flee violence, children being recruited to fight in South Sudan and gang rapes in India.

Analysis by Susan Bissell

Uwottyja children in the Amazon community of Samaria in Venezuela. Credit: Humberto Márquez/IPS
Uwottyja children in the Amazon community of Samaria in Venezuela. Credit: Humberto Márquez/IPS

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 14 2014 (IPS) – Next week marks 25 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a historic commitment to children and the most widely accepted human rights treaty in history.

The CRC outlines universal rights for all children, including the right to health care, education, protection and the time and space to play. And it changed the way children are viewed, from objects that need care and charity, to human beings, with a distinct set of rights and with their own voices that deserve to be heard. Continue reading 25 Years After Rights Convention, Children Still Need More Protection