KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported.
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Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of KARA volunteer Eshanee Singh
Tanzania high court rules against child marriage but cultural beliefs still a concern.
The legal age of marriage for girls in Tanzania has been raised to 18 yet cultural values will enable child marriages among young girls. Often girls carry the perception of being an economic burden and with high levels of poverty girls are married off at a young age. Subsequently they are denied an education and face an increased risk of death or serious childbirth injuries if they have babies before their bodies are ready.
Yemen – Futures on the Line: Yemen’s children missing an education [EN/AR]
Yemen child face a great burden in the Yemen civil war. Airstrikes and ground attacks have injured or even killed hundreds of children and school personnels. Schools have been damaged, destroyed, occupied, or closed due to insecurities. Some children face disruptions in their education while the military uses school buildings for internally displaced persons. The civil war exacerbates gender disparities in each gender’s access to education, what little there is.
Guatemala – In Guatemala, 60 percent of sex trafficking victims are children.
Statistics are lacking on how many exactly of human trafficking victims are children, suggesting that the number of children who are human trafficking victims are a lot more than reported.
The government and people of Guatemala hold an indifferent attitude towards the billion dollar industry; recommendations are made to improve the situation of human trafficking but the government does not act on them. Moreover, in the whole country there are only two prosecutors working sex trafficking cases and given that human and sex trafficking is a billion dollar industry, one would think that there would a greater effort in prosecuting cases. In Guatemala, and the rest of Central America, poverty is a big driving factor of human and sex trafficking.
U.N. rights boss deplores detention of migrants in Europe.
Several migrant children arriving from Syria in Greece and Italy are detained in prison cells and centres surrounded with barbed wire while their asylum applications are reviewed The strain that the influx of migrants puts on the housing and social services of countries creates a rhetoric of anti-immigration and anti-migrant which results in a bias in the asylum application screening process and the confinement of children.
India/New York – Teen Acid Attack Survivor Absolutely Owns At New York Fashion Week.
The Indian Supreme Court has counted over 1000 women and girls who have been victims of acid attacks. In this instance a girl was attacked by people she knows and an estranged husband. These attacks not only leave the victims disfigured there are often severe health consequences that some ultimately succumb to.
In Egypt, social pressure means FGM is still the norm.
Since 2008, female genital mutilation has been prohibited yet, due to inherited social customs, the practice is ever prevalent. Many girls are forced to undergo FGM because of religious requirements or cultural traditions. Often young girls are held down by female relatives and a doctor or midwife cuts the young girls with a blade, leaving the girls psychologically traumatized. In poor communities, where midwives and non-accredited professionals are common, the procedure is done without anesthetic.
South Africa – Settlement gives stateless children in SA hope.
A stateless born child in South Africa, born to Cuban parents, has been granted citizenship, setting precedent and paving the way for others in a similar position. From now on children born in South Africa will be declared a South African citizen and within 18 months other stateless children in South Africa have the opportunity to apply for citizenship. The Home Affairs department had withdrawn its call for the appeal of the ruling, the argument of the department’s appeal was that too many children would apply for citizenship. Despite the right to citizenship in Section 2(2), children born in South Africa were refused citizenship for at least 8 years, leaving them with no access to social and economic services and no rights or protection of the law.
Myanmar – Rights group calls on Myanmar to investigate Rohingya women’s death.
The stateless Rohingya muslim minority in Myanmar are, for example, prevented from accessing healthy care or receiving an education because the Buddhist majority country perceives the Rohingya people to be illegal immigrants from the neighbouring country Bangladesh. For years the Myanmar military has been accused of rape and other human rights abuses against the ethnic minority group. International groups call on the government to investigate into claims of abuse and deaths of the Rohingya people.
India – Why Acid Attacks on Women Are Still Happening, And What Must Be Done To Stop Them.
Women and girls are suffering ruthless acid attacks for seemingly petty reasons. The consequences of these attacks leaves the women and girls with high medical bills, but with the remaining scars it is difficult, even impossible, for the women and girls to find jobs. The government does offer compensation but, the amount given barely covers the average costs. The Supreme Court had rule for greater restrictions on the sales of acid in an attempt to decrease acid attacks yet the government has done little to nothing to implement the rules.
Egypt: Outrage as MP Opposes Tougher FGM Laws Because of ‘Impotent Men”.
The practice of female genital mutilation has been illegal since 2008 in Egypt and recently Parliament had passed longer jail terms for those convicted of carrying out FGM, however; a MP is arguing in favour of the practice stating that FGM will reduce the female sexual appetite so as to match that of men.
Yemen – Yemeni Official Says Rebels Forced Children to Carry Arms.
The internationally recognized government in Yemen had made accusations against the country’s rebels of using children as soldiers in the Yemen civil war. The minister claims that the rebels, known as Houthis, have killed thousands of civilians of which includes hundreds of children. Although a MP says made claims against the rebels, international rights groups have argued that the government has caused the most casualties in the conflict through airstrikes.
Indonesia Police Break Up Online Prostitution Ring Involving Boys: Report.
A male prostitution ring was said to be broken up by the Indonesian government. The online prostitution ring nearly 150 young men and boys were identified, with some being as young as 13 years old. In Indonesian sex between an adult and a minor is illegal but the government argues that the country faces a child sex abuse emergency.
Indian Acid Attack Victims Share Their Stories.
An Indian woman faces the possibility of loosing her eye sight after two men sprayed her face with acid on her way to work.
Egypt – Women Must Undergo Female Genital Mutilation to Curb Male ‘Sexual Weakness’, Egyptian MP Says.
An Egyptian minister states that the practice of female genital mutilation would stop if Egypt had stronger men. Normally done on prepubescent girls, FGM had no medical justification for the removal of some or all of a females external genitalia. Instead the practice can lead to sever long term health problems with sex, child birth and mental health.
Liberia tops UNICEF ranking of 10 worst countries for access to primary school.
The top three countries in the world with the highest proportion of children not afford primary education can are located in Africa. The forced recruitment of child soldiers in midst of fears of a civil war contributes to children never being able to attend school. For those who were not recruited, school would greatly help a child’s mental health psychologically after witnessing the atrocities of of war.
Education is essential for giving refugee children hope for the future.
Millions of children around the world are discriminated against because of who they are and where they live. Refugee children, for example, are denied an education and the education that is there is substandard. Government taxation needs to increase and international donors need to be held to their commitment of aid to provide the needed financial investment to quality education.
Egypt – For her family, her FGM was a cause of joy. For Mariam, it was day of horror.
A women recalls her FGM procedure when she was nine years old. To safeguard a female’s chastity, mutilation was thought to be the best option. At first the procedure is not questioned by the young girl because it is thought of being apart of the culture but, the physical and psychological trauma changes everything.
Egypt: Deadly risks, but female genital mutilation persists.
Faith and tradition are the two big driving forces of the now illegal practice of female genital mutilation. Gypsies and non-accredited individuals had carried out the female circumcisions in the past, these days more than half of the procedures are done by doctors in Egypt. While there is no training for FGM procedures in medical and despite there being no medical reasons for FGM, many people perceive it to be safe. There are many cases where the death of young girls go undocumented and unreported.
Anatomy of female genital mutilation.
Going against tradition by not deciding to get your daughter cut in a country where FGM is practiced, and not held as illegal, leads to death threats against you and your family. Across Africa and parts of the Middle East, female genital mutilation threatens millions of girls. The practice has become medicalized and has drawn other types of practitioners because of the money performing the procedure provides.
‘This is what it’s like to pee after female genital mutilation’.
Some girls who undergo the FGM procedure do not survive it and some girls do but with severe life altering consequences for years after the fact. Such consequences may affect day to day physical and mental health.
Iran – Acid Attacks: An Eye for an Eye.
A girl who suffered an acid attack, by a man whose marriage proposal she rejected, receives an eye for an eye justice. Qisas, a kind of justice in Iran’s legal system, is a punishment that pre-dates Islam and consists of either having the victim forgive the assailant and be compensated financially or the victim can chose to move forward with a punishment that fits the crime. Many countries are calling the practice barbaric and doubt whether the practice is effective in achieving deterrence and more than the satisfaction of revenge.
Colombia – Fighting For the Rights of Colombia’s Acid Attack Victims.
Acid attacks perpetrators do not discriminate on age nor country. Acid attacks are becoming more common in South America.
Disney Princesses Depicted As Acid Attack Survivors Reflect global Fight Against Atrocity.
In a fight against acid attacks and in an attempt to raise awareness of domestic violence prevention, disabilities and human rights abuses against women and girls, an artist depict many of the well known Disney Princesses as victims of acid attack victims. While a disproportional amount of women and girls are affected in South and Central Asia, acid attacks are becoming common across the world. As acid attacks become more common people have become more complicit towards them.
Iran – Rising Aid Attacks Raise Fears about “Morality Patrols’ in Iran.
Acid attacks are becoming a common tool for terrorizing women and girls in an attempt to enforce morality. A Parliamentary bill has allowed private citizens to carry out these attacks. The bill has been criticized for enabling vigilantism and protecting hardline groups who are close to and support the government in office. Police and other civil servants have played a biased role in the protection of the safety if women and girls. They have aided the government in cracking down on political dissent and women and girls who they believe are testing the limits of Islam and proper Islamic behaviour.
Kyrgyzstan – Little is being Done to End Kyrgyzstan’s Bride Kidnapping Crisis.
One third of Kyrgyzstan’s marriages are non-consensual. Men often grab young women off the street and take them to their homes where the women on the groom’s side of the family psychologically bully the young woman into the marriage. Despite the practice being a crime in Kyrgyzstan, there have been little convictions and no official statics on bride kidnapping. The seriousness of the issue is often dismissed because bride kidnapping is sometimes used by young couples to elope and get married without having to get parental approval or avoid dowry payment.
Yemen – Nine Yemeni civilians, court of them children, killed in air strike: residents.
Yet another airstrike has hit a city in Yemen killing nine civilians including four children. This airstrike and the several airstrikes thus far have forced international aid to withdraw staff and aid from the area. The airstrikes on hospitals, schools, apartment buildings and several other parts of the city has killed thousands of people while simultaneously displacing millions of others.
U.S. – Sex Trafficking Victims Forced to Work in Illicit Texas Bars, Claims Study.
Commercial sex trafficking becomes popular in cantinas. More than half of the girls, forced to flirt and drink with patrons, are underaged and are often too scared to testify in cases against the human traffickers and cantinas in fear of threats that their families will face backlash.
Cancer Vaccines Get a Price Cut in Poor Nations.
The New York Times.
Pap test and related vaccines are too expensive for women and girls to afford in poorer countries and the price cut that vaccine manufacturing companies are announcing could lead to significant advancements in women’s health. The new lower prices will be given to a few countries for demonstration projects and the hope is that within the next 4-5 years, 30 million girls in 40 countries would get the vaccine at the new price or less.
Canada is 17th in children’s health. We can do much better.
The Globe and Mail.
The ranking of a G8 country’s children is expected to be higher than what has been reported to be. Stress levels among children is reported to negatively affect the early brain development of children. Focusing on providing programs to reduce family stress and aid childhood development will prove to be the cheaper option than relying on the more expensive health, social, education and justice programs in the future.
Sri Lanka – Protecting Children from Violence.
Since the time of colonization Ceylon (Sri Lanka) had seen a better quality development in South East Asia. To this day, Sri Lanka has made considerable comparable progress in the well bing of children but, such care has been uneven due to high military spending during the civil war. Education, especially in plantation and rural areas, has suffered as a result.
Watch John Oliver Slam Fashion Industry’s Cild Labour Practices.
Popular fashion retailers H&M, Zara, and Forever 21 have been tied to child labour in its manufacturing and supply chain. The American television host John Oliver calls out the owners of Gap, Walmart, Joe Fresh, H&M and the Children’s Place, arguing that their own ignorance of child labour is not a proper excuse.
Burkina Faso – In Burkina Faso, Getting Children Out of the Gold Mines.
Children in Burkina Faso are used for mining gold. The money the children make is often used to support their family, i.e. buying food. Education, reading, and writing are the farthest thing from the mind of the children and their parents, particularly when poverty is so entrenched that it has become a way of life. UNICEF has partnered with a NGO to provide children with career training and education to become something that would have lasting long term benefits not only for themselves but for generations to come.
10 Major Clothing Brands Caught in Shocking Sweatshop Scandals.
Many of the brand name and outlet stores we all know and love rely on sweatshops in their supply and manufacturing of clothing and accessories. Countries like Bangladesh, India, China, Haiti, Vietnam and many more, provide theses companies with cheap labour and lenient wage and labour standards. Stores on the list include Disney, Victoria’s Secret and Walmart.
Child Labour in the Fashion Supply Chain – Where, Why and What Can Be Done.
The Guardian – Sponsored by UNICEF.
Roughly 170 million children caught up in the circle child labour despite it being an illegal practice in most countries. The reported number of child labours suggests that child labour has declined but the current level of child labour remains steady. This is a troubling fact given that the children are deprived of their right to education often because poverty forces parents to have to choose between sending their children to school or sending them to work. When making money to barely survive holds a greater importance, education will always come second, if not last. Companies in the fashion industry exploit the poverty, less than minimum wage salaries, and little to no labour standards in countries to produce their products so that they can sell their garments at a competitive price.
India – 11-Month-Old Baby Raped For Two Hours in Delhi.
After being raped by a construction worker, a 11-month-old baby was found and taken to the hospital in serious condition. The construction worker confessed after being found through the cell phone he left at the scene of the crime. Sadly, this is not the first or only case of child rape in India. Child rape has become common with 927 cases registered in 2015.
Syria – Cease Fire Brings Rare Claim in Syria: ‘Children Are Even Playing in the Street,”.
In hopes of ending the Syrian civil war, the United States and Russia brokered a cease fire. Families, children and businesses were on the streets of Aleppo after morning airstrikes stopped. After recent events however, hopes of a ceasefire has faded. The brokered ceasefire is part of a broader fight against Islamist militants. International forces have played a major role in the Syrian civil war since the beginning of it all. Countries have supported rebel groups fighting the government and Islamist militants, leading to coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State, while warplanes and troops have been sent by other countries to aid Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In spite of the politics surrounding the civil war, humanitarian aid faces a hard time reaching those in need. Arguably, civilians face the biggest burden of the civil war.
Canada’s Residential School Story to Be Taught in This Fall.
The history of Aboriginal children in residential schools has been largely untold in the curriculum of schools across Canada. While provinces are moving at different speeds for incorporating Aboriginal history into school curriculum, most schools and provinces are moving in the same direction. Something that may be hindering the progression of teaching this material is the stories, myths, misinformation, and the a lack of understanding between Aboriginal People and non-aboriginals surrounding the events of residential schools and Aboriginal history. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has, however, gathered stories and records and can be used a a starting point for teaching materials and tools.
Burkina Faso – Children in Burkina Faso Take on Dirty, Dangerous Work of Digging up Gold.
PBS News Hours.
The gold mines in Burkina Faso are drawing children away from school and their education. Children are also being trafficked across borders to work in these, often artisanal, gold mines. Employing children under the age of 16 is illegal in Burkina Faso is illegal but, the level of poverty and the economic pull of gold mining makes enforcing labour standards difficult.
Syria-Jordan: 30, 000 Syrian Children ’Starving’ on Jordan Border.
Authorities in Jordan suspend food, water, and medical treatment to refugees living along the Syrian-Jordan boarding, leaving more than 30, 000 children to face starvation. After facing an attack by the Islamic State, Jordan authorities declared areas of refugee camps to be closed military zone, effectively blocking humanitarian aid from entering. Jordan, along with many other countries, has developed and fed into a fiction of asylum seekers being a major threat to the safety, security, and well being of the hosting country.
Jordan-Syria – Epidemic warning over ‘ghost’ refugees stuck at Jordan-Syria Border.
Jordan’s creditability in the Summit on Refugees is undermined because of the condition that Syrian refugees are forced to live in in the refugee camps. Stricter boarder control has left thousands of asylum seekers collecting in a ‘no man’s land’ with little to no access to food, water, or health care. Children face a further burden with no access to education. Refugees stuck in this in between cannot move forward into Jordan and cannot go back to Syria. Humanitarian groups and aid workers face logistical problems in delivering limited help. Access has since been cut off, citing security concerns.
Boys of Pleasure: Sexual Abuse of Children Betray ISIS Hypocrisy.
International Business Times.
ISIS has and continues to recruit young girls and boys, exploiting and abusing them in suicide bombings, using them in the front lines, executing many of them and even kidnapping and selling the young children into sexual slavery. Often children of ethnic minorities face the abuse and violence ISIS perpetrates. Despite ISIS’s agenda of moral and religious righteousness and virtue, young boys are kidnapped and used for sexual pleasure and entertainment.
Kidnapped by ISIS at 15: ‘I Never Thought I’d See the Day When I Was Free.’
In a mass kidnapping executed by ISIS, the young girls of a Yazidi community was kidnapped, rapped, and sold into sex slavery while the older women were killed. One of the young girls kidnapped by the ISIS group tells her experience of being raped and beaten for weeks and finally being able to escape.
Somalia – ‘Serious Concern’ in Somalia as 5 Million Go Hungry, U.N. Says.
Droughts and the ongoing conflict between al Shabaab and Somalia’s government both are among several factors leading to the increase in number of malnourished children. Children make up the majority deaths in the 2011 famine, something which threatens to hold true again. Internally displaced peoples and Somalian refugees forced to return from refugee camps in Kenya dives up the need for funding to support the increase strain.
India Launches First Internet Hotline to Tackle Surge in Child Porn.
VOA (Voice of America) News.
In an attempt to curb an increase in online child pornography, a hotline has been initiated so that the public, police, internet companies and victims can report child sexual abuse imagery. Official statistics on children being exploited in pornography is not accurate due to many victims not making a report out of fear and shame.
Why Are 63 Million Girls Missing Out On Education? – Podcast.
The promise of free education for all children has been missed by a long shot given than 63 million girls are out of school. Some cite physical barriers as hinder girls’ access to education, while other say that solving the problem of education for girls can be simple as providing more toilets and sanitary products. Another proposed solution is to build more school hostels to improve access to education. It noted that it is important to work with the governments of poor countries to help them develop high quality education systems that stretches nationally rather than being concentrated in certain areas.
UN Refugee Agency Puts Focus On Educating Kids Fleeing War.
Education is argued to be a key factor to enable refugee children to succeed in the future but, the one major key to their success is what refugee children are being deprived of. Refugee children are being denied access to an education for years, up to 20 years. More long term multi-level efforts need to be taken to surpass just basic survival aid. Although emergency funding to countries facing an influx of refugees, usually poorer countries, does help to some extent, aid and funding needs to be provided with a more multi-year plan in mind.
Nepal – American Man Arrested in Nepal On Charges of Child Sex Abuse.
An American tourist and a local Nepalese man were arrested and questioned about the sexual abuse of children. Five boys were rescued in an parallel raid.
Syrian Conflict: Why Are Children So Badly Affected In Aleppo?
A British representative to the UN declared that the attacks on Aleppo to be described as war crimes. Of the civilians who are caught in the cross fire, children make up about half of the victims and are dying because hospitals face shortages of equipment and medicines. While millions Syrian children make up the refugees who have fled to various countries, millions of children remain in Syria.
Turkey Wedding Suicide Bomber ‘Was Cild Aged 12-14’.
The Islamic State (IS) group was named as the group responsible for a suicide bombing which killed 51 people and wounded 69. The attack may have been a revenge attack in response to the jihadists’ recent loss of territory in Syria. After the attack, the Turkish government said that country would take a more active role in efforts to end the war in Syria.
Middle East – IS Increases Us of Child Soldiers, Says US Reports.
US military reports suggest that the number of boys killed as a result of IS propaganda has increased since last year, however; the number of children killed and injured as a result of IS propaganda and requirement is likely to more than what is reported. Surprisingly, children are used in the same manner and along side adults, something which is unusual since other conflicts have used children as a last resort or in special operations. What also worries officials is the number of children being recruited and indoctrinated by IS.
Pakistani Christian Jailed For Blasphemy Over Facebook Like.
After liking an ‘inappropriate’ picture on Facebook, a 16 year old boy was arrested and detained on blasphemy charges pending trail. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws presents the death sentence as a possible remedy for being accused of insulting Islam. The blasphemy laws are sometimes used target and persecute minorities
Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo) – Child Labour Taints Production of Batteries For Electric Carmakers, Amnesty Says.
The cobalt used in lithium ion batteries found in common electronics, i.e. electric vehicles, phones and laptops, uses child labour in Congolese mines. Among the list of accused carmakers is GM, Renault-Nissan and Tesla. Electronic carmakers may be unknowingly using lithium ion batteries with child labour origins, however; many argue it is the carmakers’ responsibility to trace the origins of their supply chain to ensure children were not used to mine cobalt and to be transparent with its customers.
Nigeria – UNICEF Says 75, 00 Children Could Die In Nigeria Hunger Crisis.
More than 2 million people have been displaced and some 15,000 people have been killed as a result of Boko Haram’s insurgency and hold over northeast Nigeria. The group’s hold over the area has created famine like conditions which threatens to kill 75,000 children over the next year if they do not receive aid. Aid and aid workers have a difficult time reaching areas where children are malnourished and where food and health supplies are close to running out.
Syria – A Weekend Of Nonstop Bombing Left Dozens Of Children Injured And Dead.
Several sources differ on the estimation of the actual number of civilians killed or injured by recent airstrikes in Syria, however; what is agreed upon is that children make up more than half of the people treated in hospitals. These children sometimes have to undergo operations without anesthetics because hospital/medical supplies and fuel are running low in practically all hospitals. Even humanitarian and aid groups are running out of supplies to provide to the people in need.
Yemen Air Strike Kills 9 Family Members: Witnesses.
A Saudi-led coalition air strike in Yemen killed nine members of the same family, including women and children. The family’s house was next to a Iran-backed, Huthi rebel converted military base and arms depot. This airstrike is almost characteristic of the Arab coalition who has been criticized over the number of civilian casualties in its campaign against the rebels.
U.S. Says To Bolster Efforts To End Female Genital Mutilation.
The U.S. Department of State plans to host summit with various government departments and women’s rights groups to come up with an action plan to rid the country of female genital mutilation (FGM). While FGM is thought of as a third world phenomena, FGM actually takes place closer to home than one would think. The illegal practice has been done for years and its reality is unknown because of a lack of reliable data.
Libya – Air Strike Kills Civilians In Central Libya: Doctor, Eyewitness.
War planes leading an air strike intended to target a rival brigade instead attacked and killed at least nine civilians including women and children. Eyewitnesses and doctors in the area describe the scene of warplanes flying above and of the the injured and dead lying in the chaotic situation of the hospital. Officials of the air force denies these claims.
Burkina Faso – 12-Hour Workdays For Child Miner In Burkina Faso.
A video on children who work in the hold mines of Burkina Faso. A nine year old boy works in a gold mine in order to fulfill his dream of getting money so that he can get out of the mines.
Burkina Faso – In Burkina Faso’s Gold Mines, Children Toil Along With Adults.