UN Peacekeeping and Sexual Violence

Author: Regina Paulose

As early as 2013,[1] the French government received reports from the UN that French troops had sexually assaulted young children in the Central African Republic (CAR). Apparently frustrated with UN inaction, Anders Kompass, a Senior UN Official, leaked an internal report regarding these crimes to French officials. Despite the prior knowledge, France only recently took decisive action recently.[2]  Officials in the CAR have also opened an inquiry into the matter. UN Human Rights Chief Zeid has noted the abuse is likely the “tip of the iceberg.”[3]   Continue reading

X v Y: Italy and Kafalah

Author: Giovanni Giudetti

The Islamic institution of kafalah, which finds its origins in northern Africa, has given rise to different opinions and ways of dealing with family reunification in European countries[1]. In order to better understand this issue with a deeper analysis of the measures adopted by EU member States[2], we examine this through the lens of the Italian Corte di Cassazione[3], which denies the right to family reunification for children in care through kafalah. In the case X v. Y an Italian citizen of Moroccan origin applied for and obtained custody through kafalah of his two nephews from the Moroccan authority, in order to provide his brother’s children, who were left fatherless, with accommodation, maintenance, education and protection in his country of residence, Italy. Continue reading

The Modern Slave Trade? Not Quite

The trafficking of human being across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe has been on the news last month. The death of almost 900 people as they sought refuge and a better life in Europe so much pricked our collective conscience that at last there seems to be some movement to prevent these events from re-occuring. Former leaders of European countries for example described it as “a stain on the conscience of our continent”[1].  Continue reading

Time for Change: Gender Equality in Africa

Author: Michael Addaney[1]

Gender stereotypes are described as preconceived ideas whereby males and females are arbitrarily assigned characteristics and roles limited by their sex.[2] The UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (African Charter) recognise that women suffer continued and systematic discrimination due to their sexuality with the most pervasive one being violence against women.[3] Continue reading

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