HEADLINES

Kurdistan: Kurdish Forces Violating Child Soldier Ban

Published on July 15, 2015. Human Rights Watch

Kurds continue to use children as soldiers A convoy of Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters enter the Syrian village of Tel Khanzir on May 28, 2015, after they took control of the area from Islamic State fighters. © 2015 Reuters

Despite Promises, Children Still Fight

UPDATE: The YPG sent Human Rights Watch this response on July 22, 2015, pledging to “follow up” cases referenced in this report.

The Kurdish armed group that controls territory in northern Syria, despite some progress, is still not meeting its commitment to demobilize child soldiers and to stop using boys and girls under 18 in combat, Human Rights Watch said today.

On June 5, 2014, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG) signed a “Deed of Commitment” with the nongovernmental organization Geneva Call pledging to demobilize all fighters under 18 within one month. One month later, it demobilized 149 children. Despite this promise and the initial progress, Human Rights Watch documented cases over the past year of children under 18 joining and fighting with the YPG and the YPJ, its female branch. Some children under 18 with those forces, based on public sources, apparently died in combat in June 2015.

“The YPG promised to stop sending children to war and it should carry out its promise,” said Fred Abrahams, special adviser at Human Rights Watch. “Of course the Kurdish forces are fighting groups like ISIS that flout the laws of war, but that’s no excuse to tolerate abuses by its own forces.”

The YPG and YPJ are not the only offenders among the many armed groups in Syria using child soldiers, but they can do more to stop the practice, Human Rights Watch said.

Based on information provided by local and international organizations, Human Rights Watch compiled a list of 59 children, 10 of them under 15, who were allegedly recruited by or volunteered for YPG or YPJ forces since July 2014. Human Rights Watch confirmed seven of these cases by speaking directly with the children’s relatives. In some cases, the groups enlisted children without their parents’ consent.

My daughter went to school and was taken from there by a group of YPJ,” a father of a 14-year-old girl near Qamishli said. “We knew nothing about her until a YPJ commander called and informed us that she had joined YPJ.”

Human Rights Watch sent a letter to the YPG on June 10, 2015, asking for a response to the allegations. In its reply on June 24, the group acknowledged that it faced “significant challenges” to stop its use of child soldiers due to the ongoing armed conflict. It acknowledged that there had been “some individual cases” over the past year.

Human Rights Watch urged the YPG and YPJ to stop recruiting 16- and 17-year-olds, even if they are not serving a military function. The Optional Protocol to the Children’s Rights Convention on Children and Armed Conflict says that non-state armed groups should not recruit children under 18 for any purpose.

Under customary international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), it is a war crime for members of armed forces or non-state armed groups to conscript or enlist children under 15, or to use them to participate actively in hostilities. Ten of the 59 children who allegedly joined the YPG or YPJ over the past year were 15 or younger.

The June 5 report of the United Nations secretary-general to the Security Council on children in armed conflict said that the recruitment and use of children in combat in Syria had become “commonplace.” The United Nations verified cases of 271 boys and 7 girls who had been recruited and used by groups affiliated with, among others, the Free Syrian Army (142), YPG and YPJ (24), ISIS (69), and al-Nusra Front (25), and the actual numbers are believed to be higher. Some armed groups fighting with the Syrian government, such as Hezbollah and the Popular Committee, also reportedly recruited children in small numbers, the report said.

Armed groups in Syria are placing children in direct harm by giving them weapons and sending them to fight,” Abrahams said. “The YPG has a chance to stop this practice and show that it’s serious about keeping its commitments on human rights.”

Human Rights Watch: Kurdish Forces Violating Child Soldier Ban

Click Picture for a Popular Article

  • UNICEF estimates nearly 400 children have been killed and over 600 injured in the past four months in the country, the poorest in the Middle East. 13 Yemeni teaching staff and four children were killed by a Saudi air strike on August 20. Two days before, coalition bombing in the Amran province took the lives of 17 civilians, injuring 20 more. UNICEF condemned what it called the “senseless bloodshed.” A Red Cross spokeswoman said the violence in Ta’iz, in southern Yemen, in just one day on August 21 left 80 people dead.
  • The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is amongst 17 organizations and two individuals that sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry today (January 5, 2016) urging him to press Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to halt the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr and several other demonstrators from the country’s marginalized Eastern Province. On October 24 2015, the Saudi Supreme Court ratified the death sentence issued to Sheikh Nimr in October 2014. Since September, the Saudi criminal justice system has also ratified the death sentences of Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon, and Abdullah al-Zaher, three men arrested as minors in 2012 for their protest activity.
  • Yemen woman in bright scarf and hat, "War humiliated my daughter." Aunt Khemissa argument.
  • Documentary: Part One - A Year In Space With Scott Kelly
  • Mona Relief Delivering Lifesaving Food, clothing, blankets and medicine to villages dying under the siege of Saudi War on Yemen. (Photo: Mona Relief) alistairreignblog.com
  • Two homeless brothers try to survive on the streets of India.
  • Geopolitics: Today's Yemen In One Map. Yemeni Civil War: The Territorial Control as of March 1st, 2016. In March, the Yemen’s embattled president Hadi fled Yemen by sea and arrives in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, as Saudi Arabia and its allies launch military operations in Yemen to defend Hadi’s government.
  • Operation Mesoamerica human trafficking operation conducted in Panama City, Panama.
  • Fatik Abdullah al-Rodaini, a Yemeni Journalist and humanitarian worker
  • Ray Rivera, left, a DJ at Pulse Orlando nightclub, is consoled by a friend, outside of the Orlando Police Department after a shooting involving multiple fatalities at the nightclub, Sunday, June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT
  • People light candles at the scene of a massive car bomb attack in Karada, a busy shopping district where people were shopping for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr holiday, in the center of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, July 3, 2016. More than 100 people died Sunday in a car bombing that the Islamic extremist militia group said it carried out, an official of the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.
  • Women to be placed on Canadian bank notes. Merna Forster helps prove that the adage is true, one voice can raise the voices of many. Forster is from British Columbia's provincial capital, Victoria, and her petition has brought about recognition to an overlooked wrong that required "righting" - and that she did with an impressive 73,402 signatures.
  • American socialist organisation, the BPP, which at its height reached around 5,000 members, before disintegrating due to a campaign of state terror and internal problems.. Free Huey Newton, Black Panther Rally San Francisco, May 1, 1969.

Click Picture for a Popular Cartoon

  • Take Our Poll: Come on in and tell us who haunted your nightmares! Which vampire had the most ferocious fangs?
  • Trump Trudeau State Dinner.
  • Donald Trump for President
  • Donald Trump and I Lama Crazy. alistairreignblog.com
  • The Donalds invade Washington Caption This photo winner 1The Donalds invade Washington Caption This photo winner 1
  • Tune in to the Putin and Obama Old-Timey Show ~*~ Vaudeville Style!! Brought to you by Alistair Reign News Blog: AlistairReignBlog.com
  • Way-back Machine: Who Vogue'd It Best? Take our poll at Alistair Reign News Blog: AlistairReignBlog.com
  • Caption this winner sept 1
  • Putin Pumpkin Head
  • Donald Trump for President of the (Mexican free and NOW Muslim free) United Sates of America. (AlistairReignBlog.com),

Start a Conversation or Write a Caption This joke.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.