Like Toy Soldiers: Stopping the scourge of child recruitment

Author: Stefano Saldi

With over 250,000 children involved in armed conflicts around the world, the scourge of recruiting child soldiers today continues to be a harsh reality in several countries, also among national security forces. Children in many countries[1] are used as combatants, messengers, porters, cooks, suicide-bombers and are even forced to have sexual relations. Sometimes, a village may be forced to provide a certain number of children as soldiers in exchange for protection against other gangs or militias; some children are volunteered by their parents due to extreme poverty and hunger at home, lured by false promises of an escape from extreme poverty. Continue reading

Books or bombs? The future of children in conflict situations in Africa

Author: Michael Addaney[1]

  • Introduction

It is believed that the underlying causes of armed conflicts in Africa are high levels of poverty, economic deprivation, socio-political exclusion, and bad political leadership (insensitive leadership, institutional weaknesses, and official corruption).[2] Upon a deep reflection of the situation, the only sustainable solution to all these causal factors lies in quality education. Meanwhile, available statistics and media reports indicate that children who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of this quality education to serve as bridges to address the prevailing and protracted armed conflicts across the African continent have abandoned their books for bombs.[3] These children have become key players and playing pivotal roles as child soldiers and suicide bombers across the deadly armed conflicts and insurgencies on the African continent. Continue reading

A Comprehensive Approach to Addressing Child Abuse in India

Authors: Sreeparna Ghosh and Jyothsna Latha Belliappa

A 2007 study conducted by the Indian government revealed that every second child has been a victim of sexual abuse in the country.[1] Given that 41% of India’s population is under 18,[2] it is essential that the Indian state and civil society take a serious and a comprehensive view of their physical and psychological safety. About two years ago landmark legislation was enacted in this regard: The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. Continue reading

The Death Penalty in India – Necessary?

Author: Kirt Agarwal[1]

India retains capital punishment for a number of serious offences. In December 2007 India was among the minority of countries who voted at the United Nations General Assembly against a moratorium on executions. India retains the death penalty as punishment for a number of crimes including murder, kidnapping, terrorism, desertion, inducement to suicide of a minor or a mentally-diminished person and has more recently in 2013 come to include the offence of rape in certain circumstances. It is mandatory for second convictions for drug trafficking offences. Continue reading

Counterfeit Drugs in the International Landscape

Author: Regina Paulose

In 2012, customs authorities in Angola inspected speakers which were being shipped from China to local markets in Angola and uncovered 1.4 million packets of counterfeit anti-malarial drugs.[1] In 2013, the US Federal Drug Administration shut down an illegal counterfeit drug ring of 1,677 illegal pharmacy websites. The investigation revealed links to large organized drug networks possibly from Russia, the Middle East, and India.[2] During that same year, China arrested close to 1,300 people in the same kind of operation shutting down 140 fake pharmacy websites and confiscating material worth $362.4 million dollars.[3] Successful cases of counterfeit medicine busts seem to be few and far between around the world. Continue reading

People’s Tribunals – A New Norm?

Author: Regina Paulose

People’s Tribunals are a result of strong peaceful grassroots movements within society. People who create these movements share a common interest in discussing a legitimate human rights problem which has not been adequately addressed by a state or its entities. In some cases the problem cannot be handled in a formal judicial system because of politics or a technical legal rule prevents the issue from being raised. Continue reading

Gangs and Organized Crime in Mexico: An Interview with Professor Scott Decker

Scott Decker is a foundation professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University at the Downtown Campus. He is also affiliated faculty with the Center on the Future of War. He earned the Ph.D. in Criminology from Florida State University. His research interests include gangs, criminal justice policy, violence and the organizational structure of crime groups such as drug smugglers, human traffickers and terror groups. His most recent book, Confronting Gangs: Crime and Community, was published in 2013 by Oxford University Press. He is co-author of Drug Smugglers on Drug Smuggling (Temple University Press, 2008) a study of the highest level drug smugglers in US prisons. Continue reading