Children Under Siege

The Taliban denied responsibility for this 2011 attack in Pakistan. Credit: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS

OP-ED: Pakistani Taliban’s Indoctrinated Child Bombers*

In the late afternoon of Apr. 3, 2011, in the Pakistani city of Dera Ghazi Khan, an annual Sufi Muslim religious festival at the shrine of the 13th century saint Ahmed Sultan was hit by twin suicide bomb attacks which killed over 50 people and left more than 120 wounded.

Pakistan’s Measles Deaths Hinder Global Goals

Measles outbreaks, which have killed at least 100 children in Pakistan’s militancy-hit border areas since May, have prompted calls by experts for better cooperation in territories adjacent to Afghanistan with international immunisation campaigns.

Child Rape on the Rise in Sri Lanka

A spate of child rape cases in Sri Lanka has angered child rights activists and moved the government to consider tightening the relevant laws and making the offence punishable with the death sentence.

War Widows Turn to Sex Work in Sri Lanka

On May 18, some 800 women in Sri Lanka’s northern region will hold Hindu religious ceremonies for the welfare of thier husbands who disappeared or surrendered to the military as it moved in to mop up nearly three decades of armed Tamil separatism.

Palestinian Children Labour for Little in Israel

"It’s tiring," says 15-year-old Ibrahim*, deep lines running across his forehead. "But there is no alternative." Only a teenager, Ibrahim has been working full-time for three years already.

Women and Children Look to Community Justice

A new community justice programme being rolled out in Papua New Guinea’s vast village court system is bringing international human rights-based laws to rural communities and boosting the protection and empowerment of women and children.

COLOMBIA: Saving the River Basin, One Schoolchild at a Time

"Out of love for the river, we reforest, recycle, and make this place beautiful," says a sign welcoming visitors to the Floragaita school, where a balsa (Ochroma pyramidale) tree with enormous white flowers guards the entrance to the lush green grounds on a hill in the heart of Colombia’s Andes mountains.

Badi sex workers await rehabilitation. Credit: Naresh Newar/IPS

Caste Blocks Revamp of Nepal’s Sex Workers

Social activists say that attempts to rehabilitate sex workers in this former monarchy call for special efforts to uplift the Badi, a Hindu caste that has for centuries been associated with entertainment and prostitution.

New Projects Dispel Myths and Spread the Truth About Vaccines

In northern Pakistan, one in ten children dies before the age of five from diseases such as polio, measles or hepatitis, despite the availability of vaccines. And while health workers feared visiting this region, which includes the mountainous Swat district controlled by the Taliban until 2009, local people also fear the potentially life-saving vaccines.

Preterm births are rising in almost all countries and are now the single most important cause of neonatal deaths. Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten

Epidemic of Premature Births in Rich and Poor Nations Alike

Fifteen million babies, or more than one in 10 infants, are born prematurely each year. Over one million die soon after birth, or survive to face a lifetime of health complications, says a new report by the World Health Organisation and co- sponsors.

Morocco Still Divided Over Marriage of Minors

The widespread practice of marrying minors continues to be one of the most incendiary legal and political issues in Morocco today, causing open confrontations between hard-line Islamists and moderates throughout the country.

Bangladesh Scores on Girls’ Schooling

Bangladesh continues to score good grades in achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of gender parity in education by 2015, with the trend of more girls than boys attending primary school accelerating this year.

Sexual Abuse Keeps Girls Out of School

Sexual harassment of school-going girls is one factor that may prevent this Pacific island nation from achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of eliminating gender disparity in education by 2015.

India Serves Up Costly Cocktail of Vaccines

Ignoring widespread concern over the safety, efficacy and cost of pentavalent vaccines, India’s central health ministry has, this month, approved inclusion of the prophylactic cocktail in the universal immunisation programme in seven of its provinces.

A young man had the letters RUF tattooed into his chest with a razor blade by the local rebel commander of the Revolutionary United Front. Credit: Corinne Dufka/Human Rights Watch

Taylor’s War Crimes Conviction Sends Powerful Message

The United Nations is rejoicing over the conviction of a former head of state for committing crimes against humanity, specifically involving the recruitment of child soldiers.

U.N. Focuses on Largest Generation in History

The United Nations, which has remained focused on the world's political and military hotspots, has turned its attention to the bigger socioeconomic issues facing adolescents and youth, including poverty, sexual abuse, female genital mutilation and lack of reproductive health care.

Like other children at Pakistan

Taking Refuge in Hell Camp

"We have been spending sleepless nights without electricity and clean water. This place is not worth living in but we have no option and will remain here as long as the military operation continues in our area," said Gul Rahim, a former resident of Bara tehsil in Khyber Agency, currently languishing in the Jallozai refugee camp in the Nowshera district of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Courts Looking into Theft of Babies in Spain

An 80-year-old nun is the first person facing trial in Spain on charges of forming part of a secret network that allegedly stole hundreds of babies and sold them to couples without children.

Millennium Goals Mock Nepal’s Slave Girls

Five years after Nepal abolished Kamalari, a system of girl slavery, thousands of young women are still awaiting promised rehabilitation and support from the new democratic republic.

Southern Sudanese soldiers from the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army. Militia groups affiliated with the army still recruit child soldiers.  Credit: Peter Martell/IRIN

Returning Sudanese Child Soldiers Their Childhood

As the process of reintegrating South Sudan’s child soldiers into their old lives begins soon, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army renewal of its lapsed commitment to release all child soldiers from its ranks in March could mean that within two years children will no longer constitute part of the country’s militia groups.

One among an unusually high number of children in Basra fighting leukaemia. Credit: Karlos Zurutuza/IPS.

Those Laboratory Mice Were Children

At Fallujah hospital they cannot offer any statistics on children born with birth defects – there are just too many. Parents don’t want to talk. "Families bury their newborn babies after they die without telling anyone," says hospital spokesman Nadim al-Hadidi. "It’s all too shameful for them."

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