Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hard Rain Journal 4-21-07: Human Rights Update -- In War and Poverty, Children Forsaken on a Planetary Scale

Image: Participants listen during the Ibero American Meeting on the Rights of Indigenous Children and Adolescents in Madrid, 8 July 2005. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty

MENENDEZ: Do you consider the ongoing situation in Darfur a genocide, yes or no? […]
NATSIOS: There is very little violence in Darfur right now.
MENENDEZ: I asked you to answer my question.
NATSIOS: I just answered your question.
MENENDEZ: Is the circumstances in Darfur today a continuing genocide? Yes or no?
NATSIOS: There is very little fighting between rebels and the government and very few civilian casualties going on in Darfur right now.
Think Progress, 4-12-07

Hard Rain Journal 4-21-07: Human Rights Update -- In War and Poverty, Children Forsaken on a Planetary Scale

By Richard Power

The Bush-Cheney regime is delusional, at both the political and geopolitical levels, so it should not surprise us that its so-called "Special Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan" Andrew Natsios denied the truth when Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) confronted him with it during a recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

The children in Darfur suffer unspeakably, because of the failure of the great nations to lead an intervention:

Children in Darfur are enduring "unspeakable acts of violence and abuse" from killing and rape to abduction, torture and recruitment as fighters in the escalating four-year conflict in Sudan's vast western region, a report said.
The Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict report released Wednesday accused the Sudanese government of "apparent deliberate efforts ... to suppress information and prevent agencies from collecting and disseminating details on attacks against children and their protection needs, particularly in Darfur" and eastern Sudan.
The report said humanitarian agencies have documented cases of armed groups shooting, mutilating and torturing children, abducting and gang-raping girls, and recruiting and using youngsters as combatants. ...
In addition to killings and maimings by armed groups, it said, "Sudanese girls have been trafficked within and out of Sudan to serve as commercial sexual workers while others have been trafficked to work as domestic servants."
EDITH M. LEDERER, Report: Darfur Kids Endure Horrors, Time, 4-19-07

But Darfur is not the only incinerator of childhood. In Iraq, a whole generation is being brutalized, as a direct result of the Bush-Cheney regime's foolish and catastrophic military adventure:

In a rare study published last week, the Association of Iraqi Psychologists (API) said the violence had affected millions of children, raising serious concerns for future generations. It urged the international community to help establish child psychology units and mental health programmes. "Children in Iraq are seriously suffering psychologically with all the insecurity, especially with the fear of kidnapping and explosions," the API's Marwan Abdullah told IRIN, the UN-funded news agency. "In some cases, they're found to be suffering extreme stress," he said.
Sherif Karachatani, a psychology professor at the University of Sulaymaniya, said: "Every day another innocent child is orphaned or sees terrible things children should never see. Who is taking care of the potentially enormous damage being done to a generation of children?"
Michael Howard, Children of War: The Generation Traumatised by Violence in Iraq, Guardian, 2-6-07

Of course, armed conflict is not the only activating element for the psychological and physical horrors visited upon children throughout the world. There is much evil perpetrated in the midst of the general dysfunction and denial of human society, and this general dysfunction and denial provides cover for great evils committed in silence and anonymity -- across the street, down the hall and up the stairs, and as always, children living in poverty are the most vulnerable.

Casa Alianza, which works with homeless children in several Central American countries, estimates that between 35,000 and 50,000 children are forced into prostitution in the region, and says that one of the driving forces behind the abuses is, in fact, tourism.
As for Mexico, the End Child Prostitution, Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) network said it has become the major sex tourism destination in the Americas. The number of children subjected to this form of exploitation is estimated here at between 16,000 and 20,000. ... A survey of 8,767 people from Central American countries, sponsored by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and carried out in mid-2005, indicated that knowledge of actual places where children were sexually exploited was fairly widespread.
About 30 percent of interviewees from El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua knew of such places. So did about 20 percent of respondents in Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala.
Diego Cevallos, Child Sex Abuse - Everybody Knows, Nobody Says, Inter Press Service, 3-9-07

Thai police charged one Briton of raping an underage girl and another of attempted rape of a girl under 15, investigators said on Monday.

 They said an American and a Finn were also charged with sex offences with underage girls in the eastern beach resort town of Pattaya, notorious for its sex tourism industry. 

All four were charged with sexual molestation of children aged under 15, police said in a statement. They face up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

Londoner Stephen James Ellison, 54, was charged with raping a girl under the age of 15. He faces up to 20 years' jail if found guilty.

 Maurice John Praill, 76, also from London, was charged with attempting to rape a girl aged under 15 in Pattaya, a small fishing village until used for "rest and recreation" by American servicemen during the Vietnam War.

American Glenn Richard Allen, 60, from Seattle and Ilkka Ylikolola, 63, from Finland, were charged with molestation.

 The two Londoners had pornographic photos and VCDs they recorded with girls they had sex with, Colonel Jaruwat Waisaya told Reuters. Britons and American arrested in Thai paedophile raid, Reuters, 3-19-07

Here, in the first decade of the 21st Century, there is no greater priority than to rescue childhood itself. It is both a painful acknowledgement and a compelling challenge.

Amnesty International has articulated a ten-step plan for the governments of the world: Ten Steps for Implementing Children's Rights, Amnesty International

If you want to help save Darfur, here are some sites that offer suggestions on how to participate:

Mia Farrow

Save Darfur!

Genocide Intervention Network

Some Related Posts

GS(3) Thunderbolt 4-3-07: Darfur Crisis Update -- Enough Articulates The Answer

GS(3) Thunderbolt 3-29-07: Update on Darfur Crisis -- Mia Farrow Calls for Olympics Boycott, Demands Spielberg Not "Sanitize" Beijing's Image

Hard Rain Journal 12-4-06: Human Rights Update -- Unless You Protect Women, Children and Indigenous Peoples, You Cannot Achieve Real Security

Words of Power #17: Harry Potter and the Night Commuters

Words of Power #3: Gangstas = Child Soldiers Without A Country

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

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