Blog Archive

Children Need Help in Central America

The humanitarian crisis of undocumented Central American children may have faded from the headlines, but the problem has not gone away—not least because Congress failed to pass a bill addressing the issue before it left for the August recess. Both President Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have floated proposals to process the kids in their home countries and admit a set number to the United States as refugees or with some other humanitarian status. Senator McCain also proposes to quickly deport child asylum seekers who arrive irregularly.

Children Being Exposed to Dangerous Chemicals

Children are currently being put in danger being used in farms which use pesticides that are hazardous for them. On a scorching summer day in eastern North Carolina when “Jimena,” a 14-year-old farmworker, walked into a tobacco field where she had been sent to work. No one told her that the field had been sprayed with pesticides just hours earlier. “I got really dizzy,” she said, “and I started throwing up.” She said she was sick for two weeks. US government action to protect child farmworkers is long overdue.

United States Under Review

This week a delegation of US officials has been in Geneva defending the US record on combating racial discrimination before a United Nations expert committee.The two-day review, meant to assess how well the US is meeting its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, occurred under somber circumstances.

South Sudan Is Using Child Soldiers

South Sudan’s army has used child soldiers during recent fighting against opposition forces in violation of international law. South Sudan’s former rebel forces, now the national army, had made tangible progress in ending its longtime practice of using child soldiers. But since the current armed conflict began in December 2013, both the government and opposition have recruited and deployed children in their forces. A 14-year-old described fleeing the battle in Bentiu close to the front lines. “I ran and whenever I heard shelling I lay down,” he said.

In the United Arab Emirates Domestic Violence is an Issue

Authorities are failing to respond adequately to reports of domestic violence. Three cases in which UK nationals married to Western expatriates said that police discouraged them from reporting domestic violence and failed to properly investigate their complaints. Two subsequently lost cases over which parent the child should live with in hearings in which the failure to properly investigate their allegations appears to have violated their right to a fair hearing.

Gaza Schools Getting Attacked

On July 30 a school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) came under attack. At least 15 people died and scores more were wounded, including women and children who were sheltering there. It was the second UN school hit in a week. But these were not the first schools in Gaza to come under attack, nor the first in which children were among the casualties. Attacks on schools not only threaten the lives of children and adults taking shelter there, but have a devastating impact on children that lasts way beyond the conflict.

Children on The Border

On the Mexico-US border many people attempt to cross into the United States seeking a better life running away from poverty or drug wars. Families and children have become a high-profit, low-risk business for Mexican narcotics cartel bosses who have taken control of human smuggling across the Rio Grande. Many children who passthrough come alone without parents or anyone to watch over them or help them. The article even talks about how children as young as 8 have been stopped by border patrol officials.

The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict is Getting Worse

Israeli air attacks in Gaza investigated by Human Rights Watch have been targeting apparent civilian structures and killing civilians in violation of the laws of war. Israeli attacks in Gaza since July 7, 2014, which Israeli officials said delivered more than 500 tons of explosives in missiles, aerial bombs, and artillery fire, killed at least 178 people and wounded 1,361 as of July 14, including 635 women and children. Palestinian armed groups also should end indiscriminate rocket attacks launched toward Israeli population centers.

UN Publishes Children's Rights Report

The UN secretary-general’s annual report on children in armed conflict was released on July 1, 2014. The report lists parties to armed conflict that are documented to have committed serious violations of international humanitarian law against children. These include recruiting and using children in their operations, killing and maiming children, sexual violence against children, or attacks on schools or hospitals. Human Rights Watch cited inconsistencies in the UN monitoring and reporting, however, which may reduce the report’s effectiveness.

Syrian Group ISIS Holding Children Hostage.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) should immediately release the estimated 133 Kurdish boys it has held hostage in northern Syria for a month. ISIS abducted 153 children, ages 13 and 14, from the mostly Kurdish town of Ain al-`Arab (Kobani in Kurdish) on May 29, 2014, as they returned from taking year-end exams in the city of Aleppo. Five boys escaped and ISIS released 15 others on June 28, apparently in return for the release of three ISIS members held.