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After recruitment by Al-Shabab, children face difficult conditions in detention

How is it that children get involved with Al-Shabab in the first place?   Al-Shabab uses many means to recruit children, including enticements, deceit and force. Poor rural communities, with little protection, are particularly vulnerable to…
Photo of Somali children blindfolded.
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Emphasize Rehabilitation, Develop Child-Specific Procedures

(Washington) – Somali authorities are unlawfully detaining and at times prosecuting in military courts children with alleged ties to the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. …
A prison warden at a prison in Garowe, Puntland state, in northeastern Somalia, December 2016.
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Residents Threatened to Hand Over Boys, Girls

(Nairobi) – The Islamist armed group Al-Shabab has threatened and abducted civilians in Somalia’s Bay region to force communities to hand over their children for indoctrination and military training in recent months. …
Children learning to read the Quran at the Gaabow Islamic school in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, August 2013. Parents and teachers told Human Rights Watch that Al-Shabab militants threatened and on occasion abducted teachers and children from schools in
Report
Summary I have no hope of getting justice in this crooked system. —Umar Daraz, Karachi, January 2016 How do you expect us to recover stolen items from hardened criminals? Do you think they will agree if we say, ‘Be nice to us and return…
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This week, President Barack Obama announced that four countries that use child soldiers — the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan – will continue to receive United States military assistance. The…
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Pakistan’s Supreme Court this week recognized the enormity of the country’s problem of enforced disappearances with a simple directive: identify the bodies. On February 10, the Supreme Court asked federal and provincial governments to ensure that “…
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Need for Consistent, Impartial Reporting

All parties implicated in a new United Nations’ report about abuses of children during armed conflict should call an immediate halt to these crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. The UN secretary-general’s annual report on children in armed conflict was…
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Global Campaign to Finalize, Implement Protection Guidelines

Geneva - The Norwegian government’s leadership to promote international standards to protect schools and universities from military use during armed conflict could spare students and teachers the horrors of war, the Global Coalition to Protect Education…
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When the new Somali president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, took office in September, the United States encouraged him to “usher in a new era of governance that is responsive, representative, and accountable.” This week, President Hassan Sheikh is in Washington…
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Like many of the Somali youth I interviewed in Kenya, “Xarid M.” had braved the streets of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, for as long as he could to go to school. But that all changed the day the Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab brought the war to his…
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Al-Shabaab Rebels Impose Forced Marriages, use Students as ‘Human Shields’

(London) – Somalia’s warring parties have all failed to protect Somali children from the fighting or serving in their forces, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab has increasingly targeted children…
Report
No Place for Children Child Recruitment, Forced Marriage, and Attacks on Schools in Somalia Map of Somalia Summary Key Recommendations To the Transitional…
Report
“We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years” Enforced Disappearances by Pakistan Security Forces in Balochistan Map of Balochistan Summary Key Recommendations Methodology      Background: Conflict and Abuses in…
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United Nations Should Establish International Commission of Inquiry

(New York) - The scale and severity of the crimes during the intense fighting in Somalia in recent months demonstrates the need for an international commission of inquiry, Human Rights Watch said today. A recent Human Rights Watch investigation found that…
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New US Report Names Six Governments That Could Lose Military Aid

(New York) - The United States should put pressure on governments identified by the State Department as using child soldiers to end the practice or lose US military assistance, Human Rights Watch said today. The State Department's 2010 annual report on…
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(Hagadera Refugee Camp, Kenya) - For months, 18-year-old Ahmed Abdullahi had dodged the mortar shells that whizz daily through Mogadishu, the war-ravaged capital of Somalia. The one that finally drove him from Somalia tore though his family's house and…
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Deception Used to Enlist Refugees to Fight in Somalia

(Nairobi) - The Kenyan government should immediately stop the recruitment of Somalis in refugee camps to fight for an armed force in Somalia, Human Rights Watch said today. Kenyan authorities have directly supported the drive, which has recruited…
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Strengthening the Security Council’s Response to Sexual Violence and Attacks on Education in Armed Conflict

For a full decade, the UN Security Council has addressed the severe abuses that children experience in armed conflict. Its response has included a series of six resolutions (1261, 1314, 1379, 1460, 1539, and 1612), the creation of a specialized working…
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The US-backed Ethiopian military has secreted away scores of "suspects" – including pregnant women and children – and fueled anti-American rancor in Africa

Ifo Refugee Camp, Kenya - Ishmael, a 37-year-old shepherd from the Ogaden region in Ethiopia, looked at me with tears in his eyes. Ethiopian forces – who had already killed his mother, father, brothers and sisters – murdered his wife days after they were…