Mar 132017
 
There are now nearly 6 million Syrian children suffering from the perils of war, including hundreds who were killed, maimed or recruited to fight in 2016, the worst year on record for Syrian children, a UN watchdog has said. “The depth of suffering is unprecedented. Millions of children in Syria come under attack on a daily basis, their lives turned upside down,”said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, speaking from Homs, Syria. “Each and every child is scarred for life with horrific consequences on their health, well-being and future.”        At least 652 children died last year, and 255 of them were killed in or near their schools, the UNICEF report said. That signals a 20 percent increase on the number killed during 2015.  “A father in Aleppo lives with the trauma of letting his daughters go to school,” Cappelaere said, retelling one of the many heart-breaking stories from the conflict. “They left their makeshift home one morning with their schoolbags on their backs. Only their lifeless bodies returned after a shell slammed into their classroom.” UNICEF also believes more than 850 children were recruited to take part in hostilities – double the number in 2015 – and were used as executioners, suicide bombers or prison guards. While horrifying, the number pales in comparison to the 5.8 million Syrian children who are dependent on humanitarian assistance – a twelvefold increase from 2012, the organization said. “Beyond the bombs, bullets and explosions, children are dying in silence often from diseases that can otherwise be easily prevented. Access to medical care, lifesaving supplies and other basic services remains difficult,” the report added. Almost half of those in need were displaced, many of them up to seven times, and over 2.3 million children are now living as refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. Child refugees living in relative safety in neighboring countries are still deprived of some basic needs, unable to go to school and forced to beg or do low-paying jobs to make the ends meet, the UNICEF report said. Unsurprisingly, many children took life-threatening journeys on the so called ‘death boats’ crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe. <br /> Inside Syria, 2.8 million children are living in hard-to-reach areas, including 280,000 living literally on the battlefield, almost completely cut off from humanitarian aid. As the country’s welfare system shrinks, families “are (more…)
Dec 162016
 
Rohingya refugees from Myanmar tell of trauma Some hid in rice fields, others ate only leaves while making the long journey by foot across the border into Bangladesh. New arrivals are grateful for whatever support they can find [Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters] Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh – Outside this town by the Bay of Bengal, we kept bumping into fresh arrivals when we visited the camps for Rohingya refugees fleeing a security crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar. Many of them said they were from the village of Kearipara in Myanmar. From the sounds of it, that village has been utterly devastated. All of them shared similar stories: watching family members get murdered, hiding without eating for days, and having their homes burned down. Several told us about having to sell their valuables – rings, piercings, earrings, whatever they had on them – to facilitate a safe passage into Bangladesh. The route, which was always difficult and deadly, has become even more problematic. After thousands of Rohingya were found stranded and starving off the coast of southern Thailand in the middle of last year, widespread international coverage forced the hands of governments of the region to crack down on a network of human traffickers who were exploiting the desperate refugees for cash. But those very traffickers were also paradoxically the Muslim Rohingya's only hope to make it out of predominantly Buddhist Myanmar and get on the circuitous trek that would take them through Bangladesh and Thailand into the relatively safe haven of Malaysia. Now, just getting across the border to Bangladesh is a tough proposition for the Rohingya. The refugees we met described hiding in rice fields for days. Some didn't eat. Others ate only leaves they found in the forests on the hills surrounding the border.   They advanced a few minutes at a time, taking care to stop and check every few hundred metres to make sure the Myanmar army or border guards weren't lying in wait – making a long journey by foot even longer. Arriving in Bangladesh didn't mean the ordeal was over. If they were caught by the authorities, some would be allowed through by the border guards, others would be turned back. Every few hundred metres there were checkpoints manned by armed patrols. Next to each of them would be one or two Rohingya families who'd been caught. Would the soldiers show clemency? Or would they be returned to the (more…)
Dec 012016
 
WOMENAID INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN OF THE WORLD INITIATIVE At the beginning of the 21st Century the children of the world are facing an undeclared assault upon their childhood as they suffer as a result of poverty, sexual exploitation, abuse as well as becoming the innocent victims of wars and the HIV/AIDS epidemics.Ten years ago the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted and the UN Secretary General has stated “we have no higher priority, no prouder achievement, than our work for the rights of children!” A few facts indicate it may be a little early “for we the people” to be proud of our achievement: 12 million children die before reaching their fifth year 100 million homeless children living in the streets around the world. 250,000 children die every week from diseases and malnutrition. 2 million children are objects of sexual abuse – child pornography and demand for  child prostitutes has increased globally. 20 million children are refugees or internally displaced in their homeland. 10 million children are child slaves Millions of girls are ‘missing’ as a result of foeticide, infanticide and neglect.    Millions of children are being orphaned as their parents die of AIDS related illnesses.The figures are unimaginable – already 11 million children in sub-Saharan Africa alone have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic and reliable sources estimate that by 2010 there will be more than 30 million children orphaned by AIDS decimating parents. Millions more are being orphaned by poverty and war. The most defenceless victims of the savagery of war are children who are terrorized, often sexually abused, mutilated, forced to participate in killing or enrolled as child soldiers.Ethnic wars target children as they represent the future and in the last 10 years alone 1.5 million children have died in wars. Long after war is over children continue to be traumatized by their brutal experience and to be at risk as the hundreds of thousands of landmines left as a deadly legacy of war continue to maim or kill 800 children each month. Millions of children live their entire childhood in refugee camps. In many countries orphans are considered as outcasts.Throughout the world millions of children are kept in grossly sub-standard orphanages and other institutions, suffering from inadequate food, clothing, medical care, lack of stimulation and neglect.Medical care for orphans is limited and basic medical supplies are scarce. Every week 250,000 children die – victims of avoidable (more…)
Nov 282016
 
Slumscapes: How the world’s five biggest slums are shaping their futures | Reuters Slumscapes: How the world’s five biggest slums are shaping their futures Students attend the morning parade at a school in Kenya’s Kibera slums in capital Nairobi, September 21, 2015. Kenya’s president on Sunday urged teachers who have been on strike for about three weeks to return to work, saying their demand for a pay rise of up to 60 percent could not be met. REUTERS/Noor Khamis  By Paola Totaro     LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – As the United Nations prepares a 20-year plan to cope with the challenges of booming urbanization, residents of the world’s five biggest slums are battling to carve out a place in the cities of the future. Home to more than 900 million people worldwide – or nearly one in every seven people – the U.N. says slums are emerging spontaneously as a “dominant and distinct type of settlement” in the 21st century. Today one quarter of the world’s city dwellers live in slums – and they are there to stay. The U.N.’s 193 member states are set to adopt the first detailed road map to guide the growth of cities, towns and informal settlements, ensure they are sustainable, do not destroy the environment and protect the rights of the vulnerable. Held once every 20 years, the U.N.’s Habitat III conference comes at a time when, for the first time in history, more people live in cities than rural areas. In 2014, 54 percent of the global population lived in cities but by 2050, this is expected to rise to 66 percent. “We live in the urban century … when planned, built, and governed well, cities can be massive agents of positive change,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a recent statement. “They can be catalysts for inclusion and powerhouses of equitable economic growth. They can help us protect the environment and limit climate change. That is why we need a new vision for urbanization.” The U.N.’s policy document, titled the New Urban Agenda, says there has been “significant” improvement in the quality of life for millions of city residents over the past two decades, but the pressures of population growth and rural-to-city migration are increasing dramatically. Billy Cobbett, director of the Cities Alliance partnership for poverty reduction and promoting sustainable cities, said urban growth in many parts of the world, particularly (more…)
May 052015
 
Published on May 3, 2015 American students face a ridiculous amount of testing. John Oliver explains how standardized tests impact school funding, the achievement gap, how often kids are expected to throw up. Connect with Last Week Tonight online… Subscribe to the Last Week Tonight YouTube channel for more almost news as it almost happens: www.youtube.com/user/LastWeekTonight Share this:FacebookLinkedInTwitterGoogleTumblrPinterestReddit (more…)