Blog Archive

Senegal's Allowed Abuse

In Senegal, abusive teachers in Quranic schools have been trafficking and forcing students to beg in the streets. About a decade ago the country passed a law that outlawed these actions but yet, even now, barely any abusive teachers are being prosecuted for doing these horrible things. A 2014 government census of daaras, or Quranic schools, found over 30,000 boys subjected to forced begging in the Dakar region alone.

Sudan Recruiting Children

South Sudanese government forces are actively recruiting boys as young as 13, often by force. When the children are taken by force they are sometimes threatened or even simply kidnapped. It is extremely unjust. Both parties to South Sudan’s conflict have recruited and used child soldiers, which is a war crime when children are under 15. Commanders from both the government and other involved forces should issue orders stopping the recruitment of all children under 18. It is completely wrong and illegal to be recruiting these children.

Malawi Makes Law to Help Child Marriage End

A new Malawi law that sets 18 as the minimum age for marriage is an important step toward preventing child marriage. The Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act (Marriage Act) of 2015 became law following the president’s approval. Malawi’s child marriage rates are among the highest in the world, with one out of two girls married before they turn 18. But because the the new law cannot override Malawi’s constitution, it is important that Malawi’s parliament change the constitution to raise the minimum age to 18 for both boys and girls.

Juan Made It, Now We Have To Help Others

A young man from Argentina named Juan was interviewed by Human Rights Watch. Juan has intellectual disabilities and was told he was “uneducable” by teachers at the schools he attended as a child. He told Human Rights Watch in the interview, about how having disabilities has put many obstacles in his way but he has not allowed that to stop him. He is now a university student years after his school teachers had tried to discourage him. Now mind you this was on his own.

Children Should Not Be Executed

Last year’s record on the death penalty was recently released. Executions went down worldwide from 2013 to 2014, in a sign that support continued to build around the world against capital punishment, while the few countries that continue to give the death penalty handed down more such sentences. But last year we saw a rise in the use of the death penalty for crimes committed by children, and one country, Iran, is responsible for that increase. International law outlaws the death penalty for crimes committed under the age of 18.

Yemen Refugee Camp Hit

In Yemen, a refugee camp was hit by an airstrike that was fired by a group led by Saudi Arabia. The airstrikes killed at least 29 civilians and wounded 41, including 14 children and 11 women. They hit a medical facility at the camp, a local market, and a bridge. The deaths of so many civilians in a camp with no apparent military target raises concerns about laws of war violations. A full investigation is needed to determine whether the airstrikes on the camp violated the requirement under the laws of war for attacks to be directed at a legitimate military target.

Youth Have Hope In Florida

On April 8, 2015, a Florida Senate subcommittee voted to approve a bill that would allow judges rather than prosecutors to determine when a child should be charged as an adult. Senate Bill 1082,which I am speaking of above, could greatly reduce the number of youth under 18 sent into the adult criminal justice system. It deserves a vote before Florida’s full Senate and House. Prosecuting a young person as an adult has consequences for society as well as for the person involved and many people do not see that.

Australia's Cruel Immigration Policies

In Australia, immigrants seeking asylum are forced into being in detention centers no matter the age. The horrifying nature of Australia's immigration detention practices is shown by reports that as many as eight asylum seekers in Darwin's Wickham Point Immigration Detention Center harmed themselves in a one-week period at the end of March, including one woman who is said to have attempted suicide after deciding she would "rather die than go to Nauru". Mandatory immigration detention is particularly abusive when it comes to children as they are not cared for and easily abused.

Mishandling Teen Pregnancies

Sierra Leone tries to ban “visibly pregnant” girls from taking their exams in primary and secondary schools. The “ban” comes just two weeks after President Jacob Zuma of South Africa recommended that teen mothers be separated from their children until they have completed their education as I mentioned in a prior post. Girls already face obstacles to staying in school. It is estimated that worldwide 32 million girls between the ages of 12 and 15 never make it to school or drop out. Teenage pregnancy is a serious problem in Sierra Leone.

The Evironment Needs Our Help

Earlier in March, we at Kids Meeting Kids received a letter from a elementary school student in Wisconsin. The student who wrote the letter was very worried about the environment. Her name was Catie. She had a wonderful idea in how to help the environment when she pointed out in the letter that we should stop cutting down trees. We agree with her but now the environment seems to be having other problems as well. Recently in Antartica the temperature has been warmer than it has been even in New York City. It was recorded by one of Argentina's bases that the temperature was 63 degrees.