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People’s Protection Units Enlist Under 18s from Vulnerable Families

(Beirut) – The People’s Protection Units (YPG), the largest member of the Syrian Democratic Forces military alliance in northeast Syria, has been recruiting children, including girls, and using some in hostilities despite pledges to…
Ain Issa displaced persons camp, one of three camps in northeast Syria where Human Rights Watch found the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) have been recruiting children for military participation, June 2017.
News

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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(Beirut) – Lawless armed conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) morphed into disastrous trends for the region in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its 2018 World Report. “Failed leadership, failed…
Smoke billows behind a building in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on December 3, 2017, during clashes between Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. © 2017 Getty Images
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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
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Many Countries Call for Law to Keep Human Control

(Geneva) – Countries meeting in Geneva on November 13-24, 2017, missed a chance to move ahead to prevent the development of weapons systems that would select and engage targets without meaningful human control, Human Rights…
As the debate about “killer robots” continues, the threat they pose looms large.
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Protection Gaps Increase Children’s Vulnerability

(Beirut) – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has recruited Afghan immigrant children living in Iran to fight in Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. Afghan children as young as 14 have fought in the Fatemiyoun division,…
Tombstones of Afghan child soldiers buried in Iran.
News

Recruitment Under the Guise of ‘Education’

Non-state armed groups in Syria have used children as young as 15 to fight in battles, sometimes recruiting them under the guise of offering education, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The groups have used children as young as 14 in…
News

Arbitrary Arrests, Unfair Trials; Use of Child Soldiers

(New York) – Kurdish authorities running three enclaves in northern Syria have committed arbitrary arrests, due process violations, and failed to address unsolved killings and disappearances, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. …
News

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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Boys Report Serving as Fighters, Guards, and Lookouts

(New York) – Armed opposition groups fighting in Syria are using children for combat and other military purposes, Human Rights Watch said today. Children as young as 14 have served in at least three opposition brigades, transporting weapons and supplies…
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Secretary General’s Report Should Prompt Security Council Sanctions

(New York) – The United Nations Security Council should impose an arms embargo and other targeted sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans, on the Syrian leadership in response to widespread killings and other grave violations against children.…
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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…
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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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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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Protection of Civilians Necessary for Lasting Peace

(New York) - The United Nations Security Council should address protection of civilians, justice, and human rights during its upcoming visit to Africa from June 1-10, 2008, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the council. Human Rights Watch…
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(New York) - Governments and armed groups using child soldiers are under new scrutiny by the U.N. Security Council and must take immediate action to end child recruitment, Human Rights Watch said today. Following a full-day debate on children and armed…