Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children


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The Secretary-General must be able to independently discharge his mandate regarding grave violations committed against children in armed conflict. Member States must respect that independence and not seek to influence him in the discharge of his responsibilities, as required by the Charter. Failure to do so would be a serious disservice to the Organization and other Member States.

Adequately funded reintegration programmes for children separated from armed forces and groups were needed, he said, adding that he would welcome discussion among the Special Representative, UNICEF, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities and others to come up with recommendations or guidance on reintegrating former child soldiers with disabilities acquired in conflict.

They were victims of grave violations and were used by terrorist groups as slaves. The situation could be improved if the international community took the necessary steps to guarantee the protection of children, scaled up prevention efforts and ensured accountability. Stressing the need to demilitarize schools and hospitals and prevent shootings, he called upon parties to conflict, Council Members and the United Nations to unify efforts through a holistic strategy, and ensure the participation of regional and subregional organizations.

It was difficult to reintegrate child soldiers into societies once they were released. Children needed special support tailored to their unique needs. In that regard, the international community must share good practices and allocate financial resources. Particularly reprehensible was the increasing number of bombings of schools, hospitals and other civilian areas, he said, noting that indiscriminate air attacks were the main cause of death of children in Syria.

Pointing out that the Council and the United Nations had an inescapable legal and moral duty to work to end such violations, he appealed to Member States that had not yet done so to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols, as well as other relevant international conventions. It was crucial that States of origin, transit and destination ensure the protection of children suffering from trafficking, and that countries commit to the rehabilitation and reintegration of children recruited by armed groups.

He urged the Council to incorporate child protection mandates into peacekeeping and political missions, and advocated training for troops, police and civilian personnel. Child protection should also be integrated into peace processes. That included large-scale abductions, recruitment of child soldiers and forced displacement. Recalling the United Nations zero-tolerance policy, he emphasized that global partnership was necessary to ensure that children enjoyed lives free of violence. The international community had witnessed the proliferation and growth of extremist groups who systematically violated the rights of children.

The trend of violent extremists infringing upon the rights of children must be a concern for the world, he said, emphasizing that the complete disregard of civilians, including children, by Da'esh and Al-Qaida was worrying.

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Violent extremists had adopted wide-spread abduction as a feature of their operations to inflict terror, he added. The Syrian authorities had been using siege as a weapon and there was a threat of massacre and ethnic cleansing in Aleppo. Children, women and the elderly were calling for the United Nations help in that and other besieged cities, and if left unaddressed, the situation would be a stain on the conscience of the international community.

The Houthi opposition in Yemen continued to dig in its heels, committing crimes against civilians and making schools and hospitals their barracks. The coalition forces were not holding any children in Yemen, he stressed, noting that they had all been handed over to Yemeni authorities to be returned to their families. Noting that operations in Yemen were subject to periodic review to avoid any adverse effects on the civilian population and that a group had been set up to investigate all relevant allegations, he said the results of that investigation would be submitted to the United Nations as soon as possible.

For its part, the Organization must discharge its mandate neutrally and transparently and never settle for unreliable sources of information when drawing up its reports. Further, thousands of children had been released from armed groups and returned to their families. In that regard, she congratulated Sudan for signing an action plan with the United Nations. United Nations field missions must continue to receive appropriate resources for their child protection work. Further, discussions on how to advance the children and armed conflict agenda were too centred on New York Headquarters.

As implementation happened elsewhere, Germany was committed to raising awareness on the ground. He urged strengthening the operative language on child protection in country-specific resolutions. It continued to be engaged on such issues through its training centres and had renewed its commitment to humanitarian law. It was carrying out initiatives for the recovery and social integration of former child soldiers in the Middle East and Africa, and putting in place a new and ad hoc legal framework to better assist minors coming to Italy from conflict areas.

Despite progress made, children continued to suffer from the growing threats emerging from new conflicts and violent extremism. A comprehensive approach was needed to protect children and to address the root causes of hardship. Constructive engagement by Member States was needed to support the integrity and credibility of the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism. States must investigate and prosecute perpetrators, and when unable or unwilling to do so, the Court could play a key role. Counter-terrorism measures could help protect children in armed conflict, but they must not impede humanitarian action.


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He stressed the importance of engaging with all parties to armed conflict on the protection of children. Forced displacement had made children vulnerable to abduction and sexual violence. He supported the call on all parties identified in the report to work with the Special Representative to protect children in conflict. Along with accountability for sexual exploitation and abuse, including by peacekeepers, it was crucial to carry out mandatory predeployment training in child protection. For years, Israel had told the Council about the situation there, but its warnings had fallen on deaf ears.

In Gaza, Hamas used young boys to dig terror tunnels, used children — and their parents and siblings — as human shields and embedded its terror infrastructure in schools, hospitals and civilian neighbourhoods. It also taught children to see every Israeli child as a potential target. Palestinian children were being fed a steady diet of hatred for Israel in schools and mosques. Over the years, the Holy See and numerous Catholic institutions had collaborated with United Nations peacekeeping missions and agencies to help alleviate the suffering of children in armed conflict and to share best practices.

Resolving the plight of children caught up in armed conflict, in particular child soldiers, required sensitivity. The obligation to end barbaric acts against children in the midst of armed conflict was incumbent on everyone, but particularly on the Council as it called on States to implement stronger measures and ensured that peacekeeping missions adhered to all laws and measures in that regard. He condemned mass abductions and killings of children in counter-terrorism operations, stressing that no child should be held without charge. The best interests of children must be respected.

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes must have the needed resources and he welcomed initiatives that strengthened international condemnation of violations against children. Guatemala was committed to zero tolerance for abuse, he said, pressing the Council to ensure that perpetrators stood trial and were included on the Sanctions List.

He supported strengthened dialogue with the International Criminal Court, and urged States that had not done so to sign and ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols. Recalling that States were responsible for prosecuting those responsible for violence against children, he said that, in areas where non-State actors had committed crimes, the United Nations must be aware of ground sensitivities and work with the Governments concerned to provide assistance to children and their families.

The International Criminal Court could have an important role to play in that context. Its convictions and sentencings had marked a turning point for children victims of rape, with its acknowledgement of rape as a war weapon. The monitoring and reporting mechanism was essential to the child protection mandate.

Its credibility must be supported, especially by engaging with States and using accurate and verifiable information. He advocated universal ratification for the Optional Protocol on children and armed conflict. Speaking next in his national capacity, he associated with the European Union and the Group of Friends on Children and Armed Conflict, expressing concern at the increasing number of attacks against schools and hospitals.

He encouraged countries that had not yet done so to support the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. For its part, Slovenia supported non-governmental organizations working to protect children in Lebanon, State of Palestine and Ukraine.

Child protection concerns must be included in all peace negotiations. Given that armed non-State actors carried out most violations, further reflection on new forms of engagement was needed. Protecting the integrity and credibility of the Monitoring and Review Mechanism, as well as the Office of the Special Representative, were imperative. Training in child protection for civilian and military personnel was key in order to avoid sexual exploitation and abuse against children. Children had been used to perpetrate acts of terrorism, war crimes or crimes against humanity.

In many conflict situations, schools were under attack or used for military purposes, she said, stressing that States were obliged to ensure the protection of schools. Children involved in armed conflicts were victims, no matter their role. Long-term rehabilitation and reintegration programmes must be put in place, while psychological, medical and legal assistance must be provided to children and their families.

Hundreds of children had lost their lives. Schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure had been targeted. Militia leaders still visited schools to recruit children for combat. Children represented the largest number of Houthi recruits. He called on everyone to work together so that all entities which recruited children were held accountable for their actions. NARDI Liechtenstein said the annual report illustrated that the suffering of children — including forced abductions and sexual abuse — during armed conflict continued, with very few truly positive developments.

Information in the document had been vetted for accuracy and it had formed a credible and evidence-based listing of perpetrators. In many cases, the decision by children to join extremist groups was made out of a sense of exclusion and hopelessness. He emphasized the need for policies to successfully reintegrate former child soldiers and to address their long-term psychological and social needs. Refugee and displaced children also needed support, he said, and there must be a special focus on the protection of girls.

The response to sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations missions should be strengthened. The international community must ensure that States abided by international human rights and humanitarian law. Israel had destroyed schools, recreation centres and imposed constraints such as checkpoints and a separation wall in Palestine. The Council must address those violations and ensure that those children had hope that their rights would be defended.

For its part, Kuwait planned to host an international conference to address the suffering of Palestinian children. In Yemen, he commended the removal of the Arab coalition from the list of countries that had committed violations, noting that Kuwait was a member of that coalition. It had complied with international law.

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WHO guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age. To grow up healthy, children need to sit less and play more New WHO guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age 24 April News release. Recommendations at a glance: Infants less than 1 year should: Be physically active several times a day in a variety of ways , particularly through interactive floor-based play; more is better. For those not yet mobile, this includes at least 30 minutes in prone position tummy time spread throughout the day while awake.

Not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time e. Screen time is not recommended.

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When sedentary, engaging in reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged. Have 14—17h 0—3 months of age or 12—16h 4—11 months of age of good quality sleep, including naps. Children years of age should: Spend at least minutes in a variety of types of physical activities at any intensity, i ncluding moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity, spread throughout the day; more is better. For 1-year-olds, sedentary screen time such as watching TV or videos, playing computer games is not recommended.

Rather than receiving assistance, many of these children are pushed through the system with one hour of English language skills a day, forced to spend most of the day in a classroom where they cannot understand the teacher. According to sociologist Min Zhao, English mastery is the single most important prerequisite for academic success and socioeconomic assimilation of immigrant children in the U.

The law upholds this belief that English language instruction is essential to success in the U.

Nearly a decade before Plyer v. Doe was decided in , the Supreme Court made an equally pivotal decision in a case pertaining to public education.

This case was Lau v. Nichols, where the Court determined that school systems must provide English language instruction, and the failure to do so prohibits children from effectively participating in public education, which violates the Civil Rights Act of Despite this, the majority of immigrant children are not receiving the level of English instruction they need to succeed. Pre-teens and teens are common targets for gangs, which constantly search for new members to grow their alliance. As a result, many children drop out of school to avoid harassment and recruitment from gang members on their way to and from school, and during school hours.

Parents and teachers are powerless against the gang members, and reporting to the police has no effect as the gangs are more powerful. Once in the U. Many of these programs only teach English, thereby providing the child no additional education or supports in their native language, and some offer classes but no English language learning classes, thereby rendering any instruction offered useless. While the alternate programs can result in a GED, many do not ensure the child graduates with a certificate.

These teenagers have a right to attend public education until age 21 most states provide a free public education up to age 21 , but sadly, because they are unaware of their rights, they are forced into alternative education programs and often do not successfully complete high school. Many children arriving in the United States from Central America have witnessed or experienced extreme violence and trauma.

El Salvador has the highest murder rate in the world, at almost per ,, more than 17 times the global average. Some teachers insist that once the children learn English they will catch up to their nonimmigrant peers, rather than providing them with the services they are legally required to provide. But without appropriate English language classes, as well as recognition and analysis of the effect of interrupted education, and an assessment of the trauma and its effects on children, these kids rarely get up to speed with their classmates.

Notwithstanding the many challenges, some immigrant children prevail and seek higher education.


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  • These children face further roadblocks. The seminal case on educational rights of immigrant children, Plyer v. Doe, did not address financial aid for higher education. There is no federal financial aid for undocumented students, and many states do not offer state financial aid to undocumented immigrants.

    Many undocumented immigrant children come from impoverished families, largely because their families are unable to work legally in the U. Their dreams for higher education are often unrealized due to financial constraints. The reality of this situation seems to fly in the face of public policy considerations: societal progress is made by children receiving higher education, whether that child is a U. School districts and individual schools need to eliminate barriers to enrolling immigrant children.

    All children have a right to a free, appropriate education, and they should be unfettered in seeking an education.

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    Arbitrary requirements for enrollment such as custody papers, lease agreements, and social security numbers need to be eradicated immediately. Alternative methods for showing residence should be clearly outlined for all front-line school staff. The McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Assistance Act of outlines procedures for enrolling homeless youth in school, and similar procedures could be followed for immigrant children who face similar challenges.

    Advocacy must be done to ensure school districts provide comprehensive English learning programs that are effective. Their programs need to be regularly evaluated to ensure they are providing immigrant children with meaningful instruction. The quality of instruction and programmatic features in a whole-school approach to instructing English learners is what matters most for promoting academic achievement. There needs to be language and literacy instruction, integration of language, literacy, and content instruction in secondary schools, cooperative learning; professional development, parent and family support teams, tutoring; and monitoring implementation and outcomes.

    Further, because more and more English learners are enrolling in public schools, schools must improve the teaching skills of all K—12 educators through comprehensive professional development. The law requires that English proficiency standards address the different English proficiency levels of English learners, so that state programs can be held accountable for providing English language programs that are appropriate and designed to improve English language proficiency amongst non-English speakers.

    Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children
    Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children
    Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children
    Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children
    Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children
    Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children

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