children and armed conflict

Malala Turned 18 Yesterday and Opened a School for Syrian Refugee Girls

The fund’s blog quotes Yousafzai:

“I am honored to mark my 18th birthday with the brave and inspiring girls of Syria. I am here on behalf of the 28 million children who are kept from the classroom because of armed conflict. Their courage and dedication to continue their schooling in difficult conditions inspires people around the world and it is our duty to stand by them,” Malala said. “On this day, I have a message for the leaders of this country, this region and the world — you are failing the Syrian people, especially Syria’s children. This is a heartbreaking tragedy — the world’s worst refugee crisis in decades.”

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“Never stop learning.”

Clara Barona de Ayerbe, Chief of Communication for Development, UNICEF Angola

After 25 years with UNICEF in Colombia, Bolivia and Angola, Clara has just retired. Before returning to her native Colombia, she spent the last eight years of her career at the UNICEF office in Luanda.

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Weapons for Toys

The world is now at its lowest point because what valid reason is there to put kids in war? Child soldiery is the act of recruiting children below the age of 18 into the military. Over the past twelve years, there have been armed conflicts involving child soldiers in at least thirty-six countries around the world. One of the countries who used child soldiers is Germany. Due to a lot of casualties they recruited children from the ages 16-17 but eventually by the end of the war, they recruited children aged 12. It was once a norm in the society to draft child soldiers but now that the tides have changed, intellectual people have taken their stands on this issue, there is no longer a need for children to be put in that kind of position where they think that the only choice they have is between life or death, there is no longer a need for children to be put in the place of an adult when they should be happy living with their family where their needs are sufficient. Now that this issue has gained popularity, religious groups have given their stand on this issue summarized with this saying, “Every child has a basic right to live a healthy, happy, life along with every other human being,” as is outlined by the first Catholic social teaching. So no, there isn’t any reason to put a child in war. There will never be a valid reason for putting a child in a place of suffering and death, whether it be for patriotism or for any other purpose.

Solidarity, harmony, a united group of people with a common interest, or a mutual support group, however you call it, it will still be the same. The world is still supposed to be a place of solidarity. Every one of us is a part of a family. We are all one big family, imagine having your son or daughter taken away and being sent to the military. What kind of injustice was brought to your family is what you’ll think and that’s true. This is why we shouldn’t let any child get conscribed. The Philippines has become one of the countries committed to ending the use of child soldiers. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front together with UNICEF have pledged to safeguard and protect the lives of the children by implementing an action plan dedicated to denying these children access to the military fronts and armed conflicts. They have thought of a better way of using these children, they put them in school, which is the actual purpose of a child, instead of letting them fight in combats. God made us all and he expected us to stick to the term “one”. We are all created as one and to stay as one means no one is left to choose a life wherein there is doubt if he is still alive especially giving that responsibility to a child.

The family is the foundation of a society and is essential for a healthy psychological growth of a human being. The issue of child soldiery is due to the fact that children are being taken away from their families, which destroy the sacredness of the family environment. The emotional state of the child is damaged due to the trauma of being snatched from their family. There are certain conflict groups like the Sudan’s People Liberation Army, the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, the Afghan Taliban leadership Quetta Shura, and the New People’s Army in the Philippines, whose goal is to completely eliminate the child’s past life in order to establish a new life wherein their mind is completely committed to war. One child who was interviewed by Peter W. Singer, an Australian moral philosopher, said “that sight of blood and crying of people in pain, triggered something inside me that I didn’t understand, but it made me past the point of compassion for other. I lost my sense of self.” This is how much these children of God have been forced to suffer.

The issue on poverty causes so much more problems than the government can deal with and one of these is that most of the child soldiers come from the poorest and most vulnerable families. Conflict groups take these children from poor families because they think that it is a sign of weakness which makes it easier for them to kidnap and utilize the children for combat purposes. One of the victims of child recruitment is Tarik, not his real name, he, together with his five brothers were recruited into the military at an early age on their own terms but placed into the position due to the fact that they live in Aleppo, Syria where there is no steady access to water and electricity and is one of the most war-ravaged cities in Syria. He had this to say, “I used to be a very loving person, but the war changed my feelings,” he said. “I thought that only with fighting could I get back what I lost.”

We are called by God to help take care of the environment and the recruitment of child soldiers isn’t helping. Just the topic of war isn’t helping the environment. As children, we are taught to take care of the beauty of the ecosystem which God designed specifically for us. The child soldiers aren’t given the kind of education we’ve received about taking care of the environment. It’s sad to think that just the act of taking care of their surroundings wasn’t taught to them because they didn’t receive the proper basic education that everyone should receive once in their life. Other than that, the families of the child soldiers are most likely relying on agriculture to sustain themselves, the conflict groups choose to target these kinds of families to cause chaos and fear. This is an act of wasting what God has given us, it is a discourteous act wherein they expect to achieve an easy route onto the manipulation of the kids.

The human rights of these children are taken away by the act of snatching them from their families because of the lack of decent work in a place of poverty and lack of solitude. They are forced into a place of war wherein they destroy all of God’s creations. Our world will be able to rise eventually but that won’t be because of war. Don’t children have better purposes and that is to be the future of our world? There are more a lot more ways to solve an issue and yet this world still chooses to use war as a solution, and not only that but by using children as soldiers, why don’t we stop recruiting these children into the army and start looking for better options? 

Wishing Madam Professor Griselda Marchbanks a joyous 151st birthday today! Madam Marchbanks, a Wizengamot Elder since 1992 (with a 2-year hiatus after resigning in protest of Ministry corruption) is known for championing education reform in the years after the war, notably saying, “Our generations are beyond redemption–we will never be free from our embedded biases formed over centuries of armed conflict. But our children of all parentage, and the goblins’ children, and the centaurs’ foals–they are the ones who have a chance of transcending prejudice, and that chances lies in education and the annihilation of ignorance.”

Marchbanks is also known for controversially being a die-hard fan of Muggle punk rock–”The need to rebel didn’t skip my generation, its just that when I was eighteen all we had was Tchaikovsky.”

(Portrait by Hannah Radley Bennett)

When a villain’s survival is perpetually being met with skepticism.

*Browsing the Darth Maul tag, scrolls past another post asserting that it’s “ridiculous” how difficult certain SW villains are to kill and comparing Maul’s longevity to The Joker’s*

Light-siders habitually overlook the fact that their faves tend to survive everything canon throws at them. In general, more or less intact, at that.

The post RotJ EU had Leia and Han having several children, getting into all sorts of armed conflicts, and aging discreetly and slowly. It had Luke following a similar trajectory, but with more love interests and a starring role in most of the decisive battles. The first author who dared to say “the fact that none of the main characters can be killed off is sapping the suspense from these stories“ and obtained specific permission from George Lucas to give Chewbacca a hero’s death, at the end of his book, got hate mail and death threats from angry fans.

My point is, most of the heroes in SW are functionally immortal. And their (rare) plot significant casualties get in-canon tears and funerals and memorials.

I think all fans are aware that it can hurt like hell to lose fictional people. And, no matter who’s feeling it, I take the intensity of that grief seriously. But that’s also part of why I object to the fact that some light-siders act like canon has wronged them because Darth Maul was “only” maimed and presumed dead.

Restricting this to the PT and OT movies, and the most high-profile antagonists, villain fans lost:

-General Grievous

-Jango Fett

-Count Dooku

-Moff Tarkin

-Darth Sidious

-Darth Vader (and the entire order of the Sith, with these last two.)

Supplementary materials have taken Darth Maul and Boba Fett off the list of casualties, even though they both appeared to be left in a situation that was not survive-able.

If Maul lives, he is the exception to a pattern of extermination that leaves every single SW villain dead. Unmourned. And generally too mutilated to even have something left to bury.

When I marvel at the fact that he’s almost fifty, now, it’s because ultimately, his existence depends on someone out here, a canon creator, who’d rather keep him than replace him with a new face. And that, for a villain, is vanishingly rare.

But if you set them side by side, heroes make use of a truly inexhaustible supply of hand-waveium, courtesy of the author who is keeping them alive.

It’s not even unlikely that this determined, force-strong alien lived. In-universe, what defies belief is that none of the other major characters who fought against the heroes did.

In Honor Of Her 18th Birthday, Malala Yousafzai Opens A School For Syrian Refugee Girls

“I am honored to mark my 18th birthday with the brave and inspiring girls of Syria,” Yousafzai said in a speech. “I am here on behalf of the 28 million children who are kept from the classroom because of armed conflict. Their courage and dedication to continue their schooling in difficult conditions inspires people around the world and it is our duty to stand by them.”

(via In Honor Of Her 18th Birthday, Malala Yousafzai Opens A School For Syrian Refugee Girls - BuzzFeed News)

CAN YOU SEE ME? Emmanual (age 11)

Emmanual [NAME CHANGED], at a UNICEF-supported shelter and reintegration centre for children recently released from armed groups, in Goma, DR Congo. To escape abuse at home, Emmanual joined the militia, where he served as a commander’s bodyguard. He received weapons training, participated in fighting and witnessed the torture and killing of a prisoner. Years later, conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to leave children at risk of forced recruitment.

©UNICEF/Roger LeMoyne

Learn more about UNICEF and the DR Congo HERE

More info about “children and armed conflict” HERE

“Seeing the impact of our work on the most vulnerable…that’s my main source of satisfaction and my greatest driver.”

Cristian Mazzei,  Executive Officer of the Director in Governance, UN and Multilateral Affairs, UNICEF HQ, New York  

What does the average working day look like for an Executive Officer?

Busy! Keeping abreast of all developments in the Division and in UNICEF at large; monitoring issues that require the Director’s actions; coordinating the work of the budget focal-point; providing guidance on procedures, human and financial resources: organizing office management meetings: following-up on decisions. In a nutshell, long hours in front of the computer and around the corridors with colleagues.

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"We need to stop war, to stop the violations against children"

Today, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution to strengthen the protection of children affected by armed conflict. Alhaji Babah Sawaneh, pictured with our Executive Director Anthony Lake, was the first former child soldier to address the Security Council in 2001, when he was only 14. He recalled how he was abducted as a child and forced to fight in Sierra Leone’s violent conflict, and how once he fled, he received support to reintegrate into society.

Now he’s back to tell his story again – with an update. Two years ago, he finished a degree in peace and conflict resolution and now he works on peacebuilding in his country. “We need to speak out, to change the equation. We need to stop war, to stop the violations against children,” he said.

Find out more about the #CHILDRENnotSoldiers campaign we’re jointly running with The Office of the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict: