HEADLINES

Part One: Humanitarian Crises – Increased Exponentially In 2015

Part One: By Alistair Reign, December 22, 2015. Alistair Reign News Blog.

The growing humanitarian crisis of dozens of countries is more of a global concern than it has ever been – yet not enough people are acting on their concern. For many reasons, people living in countries far removed from a crisis – no matter how horrific the media reports – they are more likely to support, or pay attention to a crisis affecting their own community or nation.

Part Two: Humanitarian Crises – Crimes Against “At Risk” Children.
Part Three: Humanitarian Crises – UN Fails To Protect “At-Risk” Nations.
Fleeing the threat of genocide in Burma, over 100,000 ethnic minority Rohingya have taken a perilous journey to leave the country by sea.

Fleeing the threat of genocide in Burma, over 100,000 ethnic minority Rohingya have taken a perilous journey to leave the country by sea.

Humanity In Crisis

As a result, distancing ourselves by more than geography, many countries are now distancing themselves by religious segregation. Westerners’ fear of the unknown, or unfamiliar cultures in the Middle East and Africa, has only emboldened the regimes and extremists to commit increasingly horrific acts of violence and rape – rampant in dozens of countries – destroying and killing millions of people in their path.

So far, neither the United Nations, nor other world leaders are willing to hold those responsible accountable for their multitudes of crimes against humanity and children.

I began my research with the goal to bring awareness to escalation of humanitarian crises in 2015; and what started out as an article, turned into a 40 page report. This report will be publish in three parts. Part one discusses crisis situations in Central America, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the pandemic of stolen children forced to serve in war zones.

THE GANG WAR VIOLENCE IN CENTRAL AMERICA

In the past three years, 48,947 people were murdered in the Northern Triangle, the most violent region of the world, which is home to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. In those three years, these countries achieved convictions in (only) 2,295 cases, representing an impunity rate of 95 percent for homicides.

In the past three years, 48,947 people were murdered in the Northern Triangle, the most violent region of the world, which is home to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. In those three years, these countries achieved convictions in 2,295 cases, representing an impunity rate of 95 percent for homicides. This is the reality for thousands of victims in the region: states that neither guarantee justice nor programs that provide special attention to the victims of this excessive violence. ( Insight Crime). AlistairReignBlog.com

In El Salvador and Honduras – which have the world’s highest murder rates – entire city neighbourhoods are controlled by powerful street gangs, known as maras. They use extortion, sexual violence against girls and women, threats, killings and forced recruitment of children to exercise control. (Photo/credit: Insight Crime).

In just 2013, there were 15,328 homicides in the Northern Triangle. When the perspective is widened to include the years 2011 through 2013, the figures paint a picture of a Central American cemetery: 48,947 tombs in those three years. Due to the multiplicity of homicides, the Northern Triangle has stopped naming its victims, and now just counts and accumulates them[01]

Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and Barrio 18 street gangs are major protagonists of the violence perpetrated by street gangs, and drug trafficking groups in Central America; undermining the state, which leads to high homicide rates, forced recruitment and forced displacement – an impact comparable to that of an armed conflict. [02]

Vicente Raimundo, head office for South America DG ECHO - European Commission. AlistairReignBlog.com

Vicente Raimundo, head office for South America DG ECHO – European Commission. (Photo: ElGuardian).

“”We have a situation that affects the lives of thousands of people because of widespread violence related to organized crime. What you have here is forced displacement,” said Vicente Raimundo, head of the European Union humanitarian aid department (ECHO) regional office for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

“”Our concern is for those who are fleeing their homes because they are under threat, their relatives have been killed or they fear they are next on the list. They need to be protected. This is a big issue and we need to do more,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.”” [03]

Nearly 10 percent of the Northern Triangle countries’ thirty million residents have left, mostly for the United States. In 2013, as many as 2.7 million people born in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were living in the United States, up from an estimated 1.5 million people in 2000. An estimated eighty thousand unaccompanied minors arrived to the United States from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras between October 2013 and July 2015, drawing attention to the region’s broader emigration trend.

Central America homicide rate statistics for the year 2014. (Map: Council on Foreign Relations).

THE EXODUS

“Nearly 10 percent of the Northern Triangle countries’ 30 million residents have left, mostly for the United States.

In 2013, as many as 2.7 million people born in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were (now) living in the United States, up from an estimated 1.5 million people in 2000.

“An estimated 80,000 unaccompanied minors arrived to the United States from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras between October 2013 and July 2015, drawing attention to the region’s broader emigration trend.

“Migrants from all three Northern Triangle countries cite violence, forced gang recruitment, extortion, as well as poverty and lack of opportunity, as their reasons for leaving.” [04]

The media spotlight has all but moved on from the recently white-hot humanitarian crisis on the Southern U.S. border involving upwards of 60,000 child refugees from Central America. Sadly, the region has faded from the headlines, but the conditions on the ground that force families from their homes persist.

Central American immigrants await transportation to a U.S. Border Patrol processing center after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into the Texas on July 24, 2014 near Mission, Texas. Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants, many of them families or unaccompanied minors, have crossed illegally into the United States this year and presented themselves to federal agents, causing a humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border. The Rio Grande Sector of the border has the heaviest traffic of illegal crossings of the entire U.S.-Mexico border. Mission, TX . 24/07/2014. (Photo/credit: John Moore/Getty Images).

Executive Director of Foundation Christosal, Noah Bullock writes in the Huffington Post: “The media spotlight has all but moved on from the recently white-hot humanitarian crisis on the Southern U.S. border involving upwards of 60,000 child refugees from Central America. Sadly, the region has faded from the headlines, but the conditions on the ground that force families from their homes persist.

Refugee-girl-cries-as-her-Central-American-shanty-town-is-destroyed-0714-by-Spencer-Platt

Refugee girl cries as her Central American shanty town is destroyed. Vile names are called against them, and they are described as “invaders,” “sick” and “dirty.” In truth, they are refugees from want and war, almost all the result of U.S. interventions in Central America in support of murderous military governments and the mindless drug war. That said, this antipathy shown toward children is deeply disturbing. (Credit: Spencer Platt: When Children are “the Enemy“).

“Our Human Rights Office in San Salvador every day continues to receive new cases of Salvadorans who desperately seek protection from persecution by organized criminal groups who use instruments of terror – murder, rape, extortion, and kidnapping – against them.

“The continuation of the current strategy intended to address the refugee crisis, however, is both an economic and moral failure. It (U.S. policy) does not recognize the right of victims of persecution by organized crime to international protection as refugees. In failing to protect, it forces the persecuted to expose their lives to further risk as subjects of human trafficking.

“The newest ingredient to this approach is a halfhearted “prevention strategy in the form of an informational campaign warning families about the “myths ” and “dangers” of illegal immigration. The imminence of massive deportation of children has the countries of origin scrambling to set up and fund programs to repatriate children into countries where 60 to 70 percent have determined their lives are in peril.[05]

  • The United Nations refugee agency said in October 2015 it had recorded a nearly ➽ five-fold increase in asylum seekers arriving in the United States from the Northern Triangle since 2008. [06]

🔝

THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC RELIGIOUS WAR 

To date. there are approximately 400,000 internally displaced people, and 64,000 refugees, including uncounted thousands of burned villages in Central African Republic (CAR), as a result of civil war chaos started in early 2013 – after mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized control in the majority-Christian nation, where repeated abuse and killings led to reprisals by the Christian anti-balaka militias.

Crowds in Bangui, Central African Republic, on Sunday, after the assassination of a magistrate the day before. Pacome Pabandji-AFP-Getty Images

Crowds in Bangui, Central African Republic, on Sunday, after the assassination of a magistrate the day before. Pacome Pabandji. 11/20/2013. (Photo: AFP-Getty).

David Cantero, head of the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) (Photo: ambito.com) alistairreignblog.com

David Cantero, Head of MSF in S. America. (Photo: ambito.com).

Banditry, the rise of self-defense militias and clashes between Christian and Muslim communities are now part of daily life for this mineral-rich country in the heart of Africa. The expanding insecurity makes the delivery of humanitarian assistance difficult, and the United Nations has even warned of the risk of genocide.

…the country has no central administration, clashes between youths and Seleka fighters occur daily in Bangui, relations between Christians and Muslims have turned violent and the transitional authorities are completely powerless.

“”The recent visit of the Pope put CAR on the map for an instant but few people know the name of its capital or where it is. The international community isn’t interested in CAR,” said David Cantero, head of the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for Spanish-speaking countries in South America.”” [07]

central African Republic. (Photo: Wikipedia).

Central African Republic. (Map: Wikipedia).

Security in the region has also been affected by increased drug trafficking activity in recent years, with Mexican cartels moving in and fighting to control territory in order to traffic and store cocaine. In addition to posing a direct threat to the population, both local and foreign drug groups have corrupted regional governments.  [08]

An estimated 2.7 million people – over half the population – need food, drinking water, health services and medicine, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says.

In addition 1/2 a million people have fled the country, around half of them fleeing to neighbouring Cameroon.

Many of the internally displaced people are trapped in enclaves, beyond the reach of state authorities and French and U.N. peacekeepers, some in fiefdoms controlled by warlords.

  • The number of people forced to flee their homes within the country to escape fighting has shown a ➽ 20 percent increase, from 378,400 in September to 447,500 in November, according to a report by UNHCR. [09]

🔝

SOUTH SUDAN’S INTERNALLY DISPLACED AND REFUGEES

By mid-2014, South Sudan was hosting over 250,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia and Sudan. They include over 220,000 Sudanese refugees from the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions who depend mainly on humanitarian aid for their survival[10]

Women are screened for malnutrition at a joint UNICEF-WFP Rapid Response Mission (RRM), which delivers critical supplies and services to those displaced by conflict, in Nyanapol, northern Jonglei, March 3, 2015. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

Women are screened for malnutrition at a joint UNICEF-WFP Rapid Response Mission (RRM), which delivers critical supplies and services to those displaced by conflict, in Nyanapol, northern Jonglei. 3/3/2015. (REUTERS/Siegfried Modola).

South Sudan was plunged into a civil war in December 2013 when a political crisis triggered fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels allied with his former deputy Riek Machar. The conflict has reopened ethnic fault lines that pit Kiir’s Dinka people against Machar’s ethnic Nuer people[11]

UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards, speaking on May 8 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, has voiced alarm over the growing number of people fleeing Myanmar and Bangladesh by sea.

UNHCR spokesperson, Adrian Edwards, Palais des Nations, Geneva. He voiced alarm at increase of people fleeing Myanmar /Bangladesh by sea. 5/8/2015. (Photo: UN).

Adrian Edwards, UNHCR spokesperson told press at a briefing in Geneva: “”This is a volatile and insecure situation which prevents humanitarian access. Ongoing hostilities and a reported increase in human rights violations and abuses have contributed to additional displacement.”

“UNHCR said most recent figures showed that more than 730,000 people have fled in to neighbouring countries, and some 1.5 million people are internally displaced.

Newly arrived refugees from South Sudan at Ethiopia's Pagak entry point in Gambella in April 2015.

Newly arrived refugees from South Sudan at Ethiopia’s Pagak entry point in Gambella. 04/2015. (Photo: UN).

“”Political efforts so far have failed to bring an end to the conflict, and the outlook for the affected populations remains grim,” Edwards told the press briefing in Geneva.

“Edwards said that recent weeks had seen an escalation in violence in Unity and Upper Nile states, with heavy fighting forcing tens of thousands of people to flee to the bush and swamp lands and other “areas that are difficult to reach. [12]

“In Ethiopia, on average, every day, some 180 South Sudanese refugees arrive through four border crossings into the Gambella region.

UNHCR South Sudan stats

UNHCR – South Sudan Statistics. (Snapshot: unhcr.org).

“Ethiopia now hosts over 275,000 South Sudanese, in addition to some 425,000 refugees of other nationalities.

“Sudan has seen the highest arrival rate this year, with more than 38,000 South Sudanese entering the country in June alone. This influx took the total number of South Sudanese there to nearly 188,000.

Refugees are arriving daily in White Nile, Khartoum, South and West Kordofan states, joining a population of about 350,000 South Sudanese who remained in Sudan after secession.

“In Uganda, more than 155,000 refugees have arrived since December 2013, joining the 22,000 South Sudanese who had decided to remain in Uganda following independence.” [13]

  • A recent UNHCR periodic report estimates that some 25,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis boarded smugglers’ boats between January and March this year, almost ➽  double the number over the same period in 2014[14]

🔝

CHILDREN FORCED TO BE SOLDIERS AND SEX SLAVES

Thousands of children are serving as soldiers in armed conflicts around the world. These boys and girls, some as young as eight-years-old, serve in government forces and armed opposition groups. They may fight on the front lines, participate in suicide missions, and act as spies, messengers, or lookouts. Girls may be forced into sexual slavery. Many are abducted or recruited by force, while others join out of desperation, believing that armed groups offer their best chance for survival. [15]

Rebel child soldiers gather in Gumuruk, as they prepare to handover their weapons at a demobilisation ceremony in Jonglei State, eastern South Sudan, January 27, 2015. REUTERS/KATY MIGIRO

Rebel child soldiers gather in Gumuruk, as they prepare to handover their weapons at a demobilisation ceremony in Jonglei State, eastern South Sudan. 27/01/2015. (Photo/credit: Reuters /Katy Migiro).

After a failed coup against President Salva Kiir in 2013, Kiir allegedly ordered the slaughter of more than 10,000 Nuers, immediately galvanizing an ethnic war between the Nuer and the Dinka. And since then, about 12,000 children have been recruited by armed groups. (Photo/credit: ABENA AGYEMAN-FISHER/Face2Face Africa). alistairreignblog.com

After a failed coup against President Salva Kiir in 2013 about 12,000 children have been recruited by armed groups. 28/01/2015. (Photo/credit: A.A. Fisher /Face2Face Africa).

In South Sudan at least 16,000 children have “joined” armed groups since the civil war erupted two years ago. Forced cannibalism, mutilation of bodies, conscription of child soldiers, and other human rights abuses have marked the war in South Sudan, and may amount to violations of international law, an African Union report said. [16]

“”It’s the brutal recruitment that is the most heart wrenching,” Skye Wheeler, the report’s author, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Forces come through their village and grab them and force them into fighting. It’s an absolute negation of their basic rights as children, but also as people, not to be treated just as cannon fodder.“” [17]

Children from Kazakhstan training in the Islamic State's military camps.

Children from Kazakhstan training in the Islamic State’s military camps. (Photo: Reuters).

Over the last three months the Islamic State has recruited some 400 child soldiers, according to a Syrian monitor group. It calls them the ‘Cubs of the Caliphate’ thematically in keeping with the styling of its adult army as the ‘Lions of ISIS.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS RAPHAEL SATTER/APSyrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdurrahman

Rami Abdurrahman, Human Rights Director for the Syrian Observatory. (Photo: AP)

“Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reported the child recruitment, said “They use children because it is easy to brainwash them. They can build these children into what they want, they stop them from going to school and send them to IS schools instead.”

“He speculated that child recruitment may stem from difficulties in recruiting adults to join the (ISIS) organization.” [18]

The international media outlet Vice News, went inside Islamic State occupied Syria and filmed a documentary from the heart of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State”. Vice co-founder Shane Smith, a Canadian investigative journalist, with a team of equally brave video reporters and journalists interviewed the IS group members; including many of the children who had been taken away from their homes and mothers, and indoctrinated (brain washed) into the extremest Islamic State ideology. The Clarion Project published an article summarizing some of the children’s shocking replies. Below is part 2 of the Vice interview with ‘Cubs of the Caliphate’.

Colombia has been wracked by drug-fueled civil war for 50 years, and all the illegal armed groups – rebels and right-wing paramilitaries, along with criminal gangs – have forcibly recruited teenagers or taken on under-age volunteers.

FARC rebels pose with an unidentified girl holding a weapon in southern Colombia in this undated photo confiscated by the Colombian police and released to the media on November 12, 2009. REUTERS/National Police/Handout

FARC rebels pose with an unidentified girl holding a weapon in southern Colombia. Photo released to media 12/11/2009. (Reuters /National Police-Handout).

Many militant groups use children as messengers, informants, cooks and porters. Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC, also train children to use weapons, grenades and mortars, and to plant home-made landmines. Girls are used as sex slaves and undergo forced abortions, according to the government and rights groups.

Between 2002 and 2014, half of the 17,345 FARC fighters who escaped the group were under 18 when they joined, according to the defence ministry. [19]

Humanitarian investigations in the Congo reveal there are still some 7,000 child soldiers, with more being recruited daily. Most are in the Mai Mai militias in Kivu, where local peace builder Henri Ladyi is based.

The Mai Mai are known to kidnap their child soldiers – children are valued by the militias for their ability to perform black magic rituals which aid the fighters. But they are also used in frontline combat, and the girls are often raped or used as sexual slaves. [20]

Human rights group Amnesty International has documented the use or alleged use of child soldiers in 19 countries, including Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ivory Coast, Mali, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Yemen. PHOTO: REUTERS

Amnesty International has documented the use of child soldiers in 19 countries: Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Mali, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Yemen. (Photo: Reuters).

Children are often the main victims of the indiscriminate artillery and small arms fire that has long characterized the fighting in Mogadishu. They are also the most affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis, which is underpinned by a UN-declared famine through the south-central region of Somalia, as well as the ongoing conflict between al Shabaab and the TFG.

… al-Shabaab’s targeting of children for recruitment as soldiers, forced marriage, and rape, with a focus on abuses in 2010 and 2011. … the group has targeted students, teachers, and school buildings for attack. Al-Shabaab fighters have also used schools as firing positions, and the students inside ashuman shields,placing children at risk of injury or death from indiscriminate or disproportionate return fire from armed forces.” [21]

Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of Children and Armed Conflict addresses during the 21th Session of the Human Rights Council, Room XX, Palais des Nations. Tuesday 11 September 2012. Photo by Violaine Martin

Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of Children and Armed Conflict. (Photo: Violaine Martin).

In a joint press release with UNICEF, dated February 12, 2015, Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict said:

Out of 59 parties to conflict identified by the Secretary-General for grave violations against children, 57 are named because they are recruiting and using child soldiers.”

Tens of thousands of boys and girls are associated with armed forces and armed groups in conflicts in over 20 countries around the world. Many have been victims of, witness to, and forced participants in acts of unspeakable brutality.”

  • Children are ➽ increasingly vulnerable to recruitment and use by armed groups as conflicts around the world become more brutal, intense and widespread. [22]

🔝

Part Two: Humanitarian Crises – Crimes Against “At Risk” Children.
Part Three: Humanitarian Crises – UN Fails To Protect “At-Risk” Nations.

Send inquiries and request for permission to re-blog article to Alistair.Reign@Gmail.com, thank you.


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